Back: Training, Workouts Anatomy & Tips for Men

Back: Training, Workouts Anatomy & Tips for Men

Back: Training, Workouts Anatomy & Tips for Men

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               Now I will talk about the human back. I will walk you through some back anatomy and some training tips that will help you develop your back. Also, I will provide you

A Trapezius | B Teres Major | C Teres Minor | D Latissimus Dorsi | E Sternocleomastoid | F Rhomboid Major

with some back workouts. I will make sure to post

some more in the near future.

Back Anatomy

              In human anatomy the back is the large posterior area of the human body. It rises from the buttock to the back of the neck and shoulders. Its height is defined by the spine (also known as backbone) and its width is supported by the ribcage and shoulders. The main feature of the human back is the vertebral column, the length from the top of the thoracic vertebrae to the bottom of the lumbar vertebrae, which houses the spinal cord in the spinal canal. It has some curvature that gives shape to the back.

                   Trapezius muscle

              The trapezius muscle (popularly called traps) in human anatomy is one of the two large superficial muscles (the other one is latissimus dorsi) that extend longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the shoulder blade. It inserts in the lower 6 thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. Also inserts in the middle side of the arm pit area (humerus). Like most other muscles, there are two symmetrical muscles that meet at the vertebral column. Its function is to move the scapulae when the spinal origins are stable; it controls the movement of the spine when the scapulae are stable. In more simple terms its main function is to stabilize and move the scapula.

               The trapezius muscle we can divide in three parts, superior fibers of the trapezius or upper lats; middle fibers of the trapezius or middle lats and inferior fibers of the lats or lower lats.

The trapezius muscle we can divide in three parts, superior fibers of the trapezius or upper traps; middle fibers of the trapezius or middle traps and inferior fibers of the lats or lower traps. Make sure you include exercises for all three parts in your training routine.

  • Superior fibers of the trapezius muscle or upper lats originate from the skull (posterior inferior) and posterior neck ligaments and insert into the clavicle. This portion of the lats, you can train most effectively with elevating the shoulders. The exercise that you should include into your workouts, that targets the upper traps, is the shrug. You can do standing shrugs, seated shrugs or behind the back shrugs. All of them with a barbell, dumbbell or cable.
  • Middle fibers of the trapezius or middle lats originate from the cervical vertebrae (C7) and thoracic vertebrae (T1-3) and inserts in the scapula. The best training for them is the one where you pull your shoulder blades together. The exercise that directly targets the middle lats is also the shrug, the only different thing is the angle of elbows and body position. I should also mention that there exercises also target the rhomboids as much as the middle traps. You can do bent over shrug, incline shrug, t-bar shrug, bent over row. You can do these exercises either with a barbell or dumbbells.
  • Inferior fibers of the trapezius or lower lats originate from the throracic vertebrae (T4-12) and insert in the medial third of the spine. You can do most of the exercises unilaterally which can improve activation and technique. You can do prone floor Y raise, prone flat bench Y raise or prone incline Y raise. Do them with bodyweight or with dumbbells.

                   Latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi muscle or commonly known as lats, is the largest, flat muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm and is partially covered by the trapezius.

              The latissimus dorsi muscle or commonly known as lats, is the largest, flat muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm and is partially covered by the trapezius. Although you do not use it too much in daily

activities, it is crucial in some exercises like pull ups, chin ups, lat pull downs and swimming. It originates from the posterior crest, sacrum (posterior), vertebral column and the ribs. It inserts at the humerus (proximal anterior/medial side).The latissimus dorsi in human anatomy, is responsible for extension, adduction, transverse extension also known as horizontal abduction, flexion from an extended position, and (medial) internal rotation of the shoulder joint.

               Because they occupy such a large portion of your back, your lats are critically important if you want to build width and size. You can train the power, size and strength of this muscle with variety of different exercises. Some of these include: pull downs, pull ups as vertical pulling movements, and T-bar row, bent over row or other types of rows as horizontal pulling movements. Also, deadlifts and pull overs are great exercises for this muscle. Most of all, pull ups are arguably the best lats exercise there is and if you can, try to include it into your workouts. Through full range of motion it allows you to fully stretch and then fully contract your muscle. Try to include them in your back training workouts, with or without additional weights.

                    Rhomboid muscle

The rhomboid muscles are deep muscles located underneath the traps. Even though they are not superficial you need to include them in your training too, because they are crucial for front-to-back thickness

              The rhomboid muscles are deep muscles located underneath the traps. Even though they are not superficial you need to include them in your training too, because they are crucial for front-to-back thickness. Developing this muscle will balance your workouts and help you stand taller (improve your posture).

              There is a rhomboid major and rhomboid minor muscle. The rhomboid minor muscle originates from the ligamentum nuchae and cervical vertebrae (C7), while the rhomboid major originates from the thoracic vertebrae (T2-T5). They both insert in the medial border of the scapula. In human anatomy, they work together and are responsible for retraction and downward rotation of the scapula.

              You can train these muscles with the same exercises you use to train the middle lats. Also, you can include horizontal rows in your training for some variety. There are a lot of variations, but regardless of what variation you choose, slow down and squeeze at the top of the movement for best results.

The teres major muscle is a thick and flattened muscle. It is located superior to the latissimus dorsi and inferior to the rear deltoid, teres minor and infraspinatus.

                     Teres major muscle

              The teres major muscle is a

muscle of the upper limb. It is a thick and flattened muscle. This muscle is located superior to the latissimus dorsi and inferior to the rear deltoid, teres minor and infraspinatus. It originates from the posterior surface of the inferior angle of the scapula and inserts into the medial lip of the intertubercular groove of the humerus.

              The teres major is a medial rotator and adductor of the humerus and assist the latissimus dorsi in drawing the previously raised humerus downward and backward. It also help in stabilizing the humeral head of the glenoid cavity.

              You can train there muscle with exercises like pullover, lat pulldowns, reverse grip lat pulldowns, close grip lat pulldown, behind the neck lat pulldown, pull ups and chin ups. This muscle is imposible to isolate. It will grow incidentally with doing any row, pull up or pull down variations.

Training tips:

                There are few tips I would like to point out. Use enough pressure to hold the bar. Do not squeeze too much because you will engage the forearms and biceps too much. In addition to that you can use thumbless

Closed grip vs Thumbless grip

grip. Just make sure that if the weights slip accidentally out of your hand they do not injure you. You can use wider grip for wider back, and closer grip for thicker back. I recommend that you should alternate. Some of the exercises you can do with wide grip some with narrow. Next time use wide grip for exercises you did with narrow and vice versa. Although I am not aware of any studies proving this, a lot of bodybuilders vouch for it. Drive your elbows back and try to pinch your shoulder blades together. Do not fixate your elbows and lift with the biceps.

               When doing shrugs, it is important to keep your shoulder blades together the entire time. Neglecting this will not only prevent you from best trap development, but it will have a negative impact on your posture over time. Here is a video that explains them perfectly. Also, when you shrug keep the muscle contracted for about one second. If you can shrug only one inch, that means that the weight is too heavy.

               Furthermore, remember that in order for you to train your muscles properly you need to stretch, then fully contract the muscle. When doing rows for your lats, you know you stretched your muscle enough when you let the weights hang in front of you. Then you pull them back to your stomach. Kai Greene does them correctly (video).When you pull the weights to your chest you engage the upper back also. If you cannot let them hang and feel like your hand is going to be ripped, chances are you use too much weight.

               Leave your ego at the door. If you put too much weight you cannot get the form right. As a result, you will never stimulate your muscles the way you should. Do a full range of motion to get the best results. Also, stretch. Because of the complexity of the back, there are a lot of fibers stacked upon one another. You can even stretch between sets!

Workouts

                    Workout 1

1.Reverse grip pull down (3 sets of 12 reps)

               Make sure that the hands are placed closer than the shoulder width. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the fully contracted position and keep the elbows close to your body.

2.One arm dumbbell row (3 sets of 12 reps)

               Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. Also, make sure that the force is performed with the back muscles and not the arms. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the dumbbell.

3.Reverse grip bent over row (3 sets of 12 reps)

               Make sure that you keep the head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. 

4.T-bar row (3sets of 12 reps)

               This exercise, similar to bent rows, places more emphasis on the back and requires less effort to set your body in correct movement pattern. Pull the bar straight up with your elbows in (to maximize back stimulation).

5.Barbell deadlift (3 sets of 12 reps)

               This exercise works virtually every muscle. It builds terrific hip, lower back and trapezius muscle mass. It also involves the buttocks and quadriceps.

6.Hyperextensions (3 sets of 12 reps)

               You can hold the hyperextension for a few seconds to help isolate the work. Control the movement. Do not use momentum to lift yourself up.

                     Workout 2

1.Bent over barbell row (3 sets of 6-8 reps)

               Make sure that you keep the head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. 

2.Seated cable rows (3 sets of 8-12 reps)

               This is an excellent exercise for building the back. It isolates the lats, teres major, posterior delts, biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis and at the end of the movement when you press your scapulae together, the trapezius and rhomboid muscles.

3.V bar pull down (3 sets of 12 reps)

               This is an excellent exercise for developing the lats and teres major When you ponch your scapulae together, you work the rhomboids, trapezius and posterior delts too.

4.Barbell shrugs (3 sets of 6-8 reps)

               This exercise isolates the trapezius muscle. It puts second emphasis on the deltoids. Make sure you hold the squeeze for a moment.

5.Hyperextensions (3 sets of 12 reps)

               You can hold the hyperextension for a few seconds to help isolate the work. Control the movement. Do not use momentum to lift yourself up.

                    Workout 3 

1.Wide grip lat pulldown (3 sets of 8-12 reps)

               Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar

2.Underhand cable pulldowns (3 sets of 8 reps)

               Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the fully contracted position and keep the elbows close to your body. The upper torso should remain stationary as your bring the bar to you and only the arms should move. 

3.Bent over two dumbbell row with palms in (3 sets of 12 reps)

              While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your side as you breathe out, squeezing your shoulder blades together. On the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second.

4.Barbell shrugs behind the back (3 sets of 12 reps)

               This exercise isolates the trapezius muscle. It puts second emphasis on the deltoids. Make sure you hold the squeeze for a moment.

5.Stiff legged barbell deadlift (3 sets of 8 reps)

               When you flex at the hips straighten your body, it specifically works the muscles of the hips, buttocks and thights. The stiff- legged deadlift exercise stretches the back of your thights.

Conclusion

The back is a large and complex muscle group and should be treated in that way. You need to attack it with proper knowledge of the anatomy and on- point nutrition. Make sure you keep close attention on your body position when doing these back workouts. Because of the size of the muscle group you can lift heavier weights thus is you have bad forms it is more easily to get injured. Also, remember to put your ego at the door and lower the weight so you can execute the correct form and get the best results possible!

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