Showing posts with label back exercises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label back exercises. Show all posts
March 16, 2018

Trap Workouts

Trap Workouts - The Top 5 Trap Exercises

While many weight trainees, bodybuilder, fitness enthusiasts, and other gym goers focus a great deal of their attention on the lats, too many neglect to train and develop their traps to their fullest potential. When fully and properly developed, the trapezius muscles complete a
back exercises
physique, making it appear much thicker and more powerful. Here are the 5 best trap exercises for building the biggest upper back possible:

1. Deadlifts

Though it does not directly target the traps the way shrugs and rows do, the deadlift is the best overall trap builder there is. Take a look at any good powerlifter's or deadlifter's traps for evidence of this fact.

The immense loads that deadlifts allow you to use, coupled with the enormous stretch the movement places on the traps and upper back, cause it to seriously stimulate the traps. If you've ever done a set of deadlifts to absolute failure, you probably felt your traps practically screaming at you by the end.

Even if you don't "feel" your traps working in the deadlift, they almost certainly are. Though I feel them working my traps very well, several lifters I know report immense trapezius growth from the exercise, even though that particular muscle doesn't get sore.

The best way to build huge traps with the deadlift is to simply use the same heavy weights in the 4-6 rep range that you should already be using. Make sure to do some form of heavy deadlift every week, and watch your traps take off.

2. Barbell Shrugs

Though deadlifts are probably the best trap builder, barbell shrugs are certainly a close second. This movement is a favorite for extra traps work among bodybuilders and powerlifters alike, and it is one of the most tried and true overall muscle builders in existence.

Like the deadlift, barbell shrugs allow you to use very heavy loads. Though the range of motion is very small, this particular muscle group seems to respond extremely well to large loads and extreme stretches more than large ranges of motion.

The best way to perform shrugs for big traps is to use a strong set of straps and really load the barbell up. Don't get too carried away with weight, but also don't think you have to use super-strict form. A little jerking motion in the shrugs can be a great tool to get some very heavy weight moving and stretching your traps.
3. Barbell Rows

Though most people do barbell rows more for their lats and rhomboids, I have found these to also be one of my most productive trap exercises. The way I do them allows me to still use very heavy loads (though not as heavy as the deadlift or barbell shrug), and I have always felt them working my traps very hard.

The best way to perform barbell rows for trap development is to use a bend at the waist of about 45 degrees. Wear a belt and wrist straps if you have to, and row the weight to the bottom of your stomach. Use a little bit of jerking motion if you have to, but don't let the brunt of the stress shift away from your lats and traps.

4. Face Pulls

This is one of the most underrated movements, both for traps and upper back development, as well as for shoulder health. For the last couple of years, I have done at least a few sets of these at the end of nearly every workout, and my trap development has really taken off. I have also not had any real shoulder problems outside of the occasional little twinge.

This movement is essentially a row to the face or forehead. Connect a rope attachment to a high pully on a cable station, and row to your face. You can use either an overhand or underhand grip on the rope ends.

Unlike the last few movements, face pulls are best done for higher reps with moderate weight. You should really feel your traps and rear delts moving, and you should keep the movement slow and controlled.

5. Hang Cleans

Most bodybuilders and even powerlifters rarely do any form of cleans, but they can be one of the best trap builders in your weight lifting arsenal. The explosive nature and potential for heavy loads make this movement another of the best traps and upper back movements.

Fortunately, you do not need an Olypmic lifting coach to be able to get form on the hang clean. Just deadlift the weight up to the standing position to start. To perform the main movement, just jerk your upper body upwards, shrugging your shoulders as hard as possible while bringing your arms up to shoulder the bar.

January 31, 2017

The Best Lat Workout

Lat Workout
Though many bodybuilders and other weight lifters love to train their chest, biceps, and other "mirror" muscles, nothing makes a physique more impressive than a huge back. Wide, thick lats and traps give the body that powerful look that lets people know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are truly strong. Here is the best lat workout for building this monstrous back.

1. Barbell Rows

Most people like to start their lat workout with pull-ups or some other vertical pulling movement, but I prefer to do a heavy movement like the barbell row when I'm fresh. The barbell row, next to the deadlift, is the best builder of thickness and width in the middle and upper back.

After warm-ups, do two main work sets. One of these should be very heavy, about 6-8 reps, and with some slightly "sloppy" form. The second should be a little lighter, with the reps in the 12-15 range, and with a little bit stricter form. Use a belt and wrist straps if you need them.

2. Parallel Grip Pull-ups

While many people advise bodybuilders to focus on wide-grip pull-ups in their lat workout to build a wide back, I have found the close, parallel grip to work well for this purpose. It's counterintuitive that a close-grip movement would build width, but I have found this to be the case with my back workouts.

Your back should already be warmed up from the rows, so just do a couple of warm-up stes of 3-5 reps to stretch your lats a little more. When you're ready for your work sets, you can either add weight to yourself with a pull-up belt or use your own bodyweight.

Your degree of fatigue and strength on pull-ups will determine how much weight, if any, you can add to your body. If your lats are already very fatigued from the barbell rows, and you can't do very many pull-ups with even body weight, do the pull-down with a close-grip DD handle.

3. Chest-Supported Row

Chest supported rows offer many of the same muscle-building benefits to your lat workout as barbell rows do, but they keep your form strict and your lower back out of the movement. For this reason, it is one of the best all-around back exercises, though not quite as beneficial as free weight rows.

There are many varieties of chest-supported rows. There are some that are simply a long t-bar handle for holding plates and a chest pad, while some are more complex plate-loaded or cable-stack machines. My favorite is the Hammer Strength variety, but you can use whatever is available to you.

You can also do this exercise one arm at a time, depending on the machine you are using. Whether you do one-armed or two-armed rows, work up to 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. Make sure you keep your form tight and range of motion relatively long.

4. Machine Pull-down

At this point in the lat workout, your upper back will be pretty fatigued. However, truck through the next exercise to really give your lat width a boost. There are many different machines that take you through the pull-down movement, so again, pick the one you like best. Personally, I like to use the one that puts your hands at an angled under-hand position.

You have already done three exercises at this point, so your lats will be very fatigued. However, they can take a lot of punishment and keep going strong, so work up to 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps, just like you did with the chest-supported row. Pull through the pain, and reap the benefits of your hard workout.

5. Seated Close-Grip Cable Row

This last exercise in your lat workout is optional, but I think it can give your back, as well as your grip and forearms, a good boost in muscle mass. Use the rowing station at the cable stack, and attach a close-grip DD handle. The movement is pretty self-explanatory, just like the other rows you have done. Use your own judgment and feel for your lats to determine how much body English you should use in the movement.

Though you should use straps as much as you need for the previous four back exercises, you should try to avoid them here. Put some chalk on your hands, and grip the DD handle as hard as possible while rowing. Your grip will probably fatigue before your back does, so do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps to hit your forearms and lats as hard as possible.