STEP UP YOUR GAME: BACK

If you read my last article here on Labrada.com then you know what “step up your game” means. For those of you who didn’t catch it, I am referencing those beginners who may not be beginners anymore. If you’ve been training for a few months and want to work to take your physique to the next level, then this guide is going to take you through each of the major muscle groups and show you an exercise you may not be familiar with so you can take out one of your “starter” movements and apply the new movement to your own program and see new results. For this feature, we are going to cover your back.

What Beginners Do: Seated Row

This is a safe movement that many beginners try so they can focus on working the target muscles and not have to worry about doing anything that may be tricky. Although it is a good exercise, you should have this one down pat by now and want to try something new so for now, walk away from the machines and meet me at the dumbbell rack.

Try This: Two Arm Dumbbell Row

This exercise is more advanced because you are using free weights and since they are dumbbells each side has to work independently whereas a machine helps both sides work as a cohesive unit. This also will be a different movement than a machine that requires you to pull straight back.

How to Do It

Take a pair of dumbbells and hold them to your sides. Bend over so your upper body is parallel to the floor. Hold the weights so your arms are hanging in front of you. Pull your arms (and the weights) up to your sides while contracting your back muscles. At the top of the exercise, your arms should be pulled in as far as possible and the weights should be to your sides. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can in this position. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position and let your arms stretch as far as possible without pulling yourself down to the floor. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Points to Remember

Don’t swing or allow momentum to take over at any point during the exercise. You control the weight. Don’t let the weight control you. If you can’t lower the weight under control or if you need to use momentum to pull the weight up, lower the weight. If you have any lower back problems, use a weight belt. If you feel that you can’t hold the weight, use less weight instead of opting for straps. Don’t use straps to help hold the weight until you know you have the movement mastered.

About the Author
roger rockridgeRoger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.

Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.

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