Little story of back Training 101.
Are you struggling to grow your back?
I am not going to annoy you with Anatomy lessons, but I am going to give a few keys that you have probably not considered before.
The latissimus dorsi (the biggest muscles in your back) attaches to the lower part of your humerus (arm) and to the vertebrae and iliac crest down your back (simplified).
What does this mean?
1. Find the right angle. Pull toward your chest in a 45 degrees angle imagining to pull toward the end of your spine.
2. Retract your shoulder blades FULLY. Failure to do so will sacrifice back gains for shoulder pain.
3. Imagine to pull from your armpits. It is the easiest way to connect with its origin.
4. Perform with full range of motion extending your arms fully and pulling as far to your chest as possible.
You can apply this concept to pull-ups as well and truly make them count, as well as any other back movement. Too much strain on the shoulders is given every day by individuals who pull themselves up by rounding the shoulders at the top of the movement and leaves them wondering why their backs are not growing.
Our bodies were designed to move in a certain way. Therefore, going against these patterns repeatedly on a weekly basis (especially adding weights) can cause aches and pain. When ego-lifting it is important to understand our bodies will not get any benefit and in worse cases, long rehabs are needed.
Train safe, and with purpose
My suggestion is to not feel judged by anyone when performing an exercise, thinking the weight is very little. The gym should be a safe environment where we can let everything happening in our lives go, for an hour or 2.
I often train with weights that to some people ”don’t match my size”. And I often wonder why people are so quick to judge without knowing (for example) how many reps I am about to perform and what tempo (?).
The bottom line is: if fear of being seen with little weight is the issue, know that everyone started somewhere. And that what it seems is not always what it is.
Keep your shoulder blades back, protect your shoulders, enjoy a wide, strong, and thick back.
I hope you will enjoy training your back after reading this post and if you have, please let me know!