In talking with many other lifters who are looking for that thick upper back look, I’m convinced that many people are not seeing the results they want, due to a lack of poundage and overall volume.
In my experience with training to build a bigger set of traps and a thick upper back, heavier weights are the way to go.
Optimally, I’d be Deadlifting once a week, hitting other deadlift variations on another day during the week, and then performing some form of heavy Rack Pull or Shrug that requires lifting straps on another day during the week.
However, my lower back has given me some problems through the last quarter of this year, so I haven’t been able to perform those kinds of lifts with the frequency I’d normally go for.
Instead, I’ve had to switch gears and go very heavy on my “isolation work,” for the upper back, and recently I was able to get some of this work on film to share with you.
In the video below you’ll see the following exercises and suggested volumes if you try them out:
1A – Heavy Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1B – Lighter Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1C – Heavy Dumbbell Shrugs – 10 to 20 reps
On this particular occasion, I used 65lb dumbbells on the first sub-set of Posterior Flies, followed by 35lbs (I think), then immediately went to 120lb Dumbbells for the Shrugs.
Optimally, I follow the Posterior Flies up with heavier Dumbbell Shrugs, especially if I’m working in my own gym with plate-loadable dumbbells, but I had to make due with the light 120-lb dumbbells at the local commercial gym.
I’m convinced, you need to hit these body parts with heavy weight. Optimally, you go with big weights on barbells, but if your back is acting up, you can do some of the stuff I showed you today.
Any questions, please let me know.
All the best in your training.
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Build Big Traps, Thick Back and Stronger Shoulders
Tags: back, big back training, big shoulders bigger traps, big traps, bigger traps, shoulders, traps, upper back
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In 2014, I began doing month-long periods of specialization training to bring up specific parts of my body.
After doing August of Arms in August and Legtember during September, I was getting messages every day from people asking me to set them up with similar programming.
So, once October hit, I knew it was time to put something more formal together, and with that, Yoketober was born!
That was without a doubt one of the funnest months of training I’ve ever had, and I must say I thought I saw some pretty darn good gains too!
Since then, Yoketober has been a staple of my training, every Fall.
But this year, I wanted to shake things up.
I wanted to go through Yoketober, totally disassemble it, and put it back together to breath new life into it.
And now, I honestly feel that Yoketober is the best it’s ever been.
So, I’m having a special sale for the last few days here in September, so you can get the new and improved Yoketober for a special price.
And, if you have picked up Yoketober in the past, I’ve got an even better deal for you – all you need to do is contact me through email, Facebook, etc, and we can set it up.
You’re gonna love Yoketober, and the massive gains that come along with it.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
Click the Yoketober Banner Below to Start
Building Big Traps, Meaty Shoulders and a Thick Upper Back!
Tags: big shoulders, big traps, big yoke, bigger shoulders, bigger traps, build a big yoke, build a bigger yoke, build big yoke, build bigger yoke, shoulders, upper back, yoke, yoke building, yoke training, yoketober
Posted in back training, build bigger arms, Build Muscle, Build Shoulders, how to build muscle, how to build strength equipment, muscle building nutrition build muscle mass, muscle-building-workouts, Yoketober | No Comments »
August of Arms
The Funnest Month of Training is Just a Few Days Away, Brotherrrr!
August of Arms 2017 has been updated and is ready to go.
This year’s program is totally overhauled, in an attempt to bring you the best version of August of Arms ever.
What started in 2014 as just “going to the gym and doing whatever random stuff I could think of,” has gradually evolved into a more and more purposeful month of training, which is also full of fun.
This year’s program is based around a new set of Test Lifts. I modified them this year for a few reasons:
- feedback that I’ve gotten from past customers
- changes that I’ve made in my training recently
- to give a change of pace to those who have followed August of Arms the last couple of year
- and I feel they match better to the goal of building BIGGER and STRONGER arms
The training you this month is based around improving your performance in the Test Lifts, helping you build bigger, stronger arms, and get the most out of your training, with purposefully selected exercises.
August of Arms truly is the Ultimate Arm Training Specialization Program.
To give you an idea of some of the new stuff I’ve got planned for you, I thought I’d post some of my own Test Lifts.
The first Test Lift I’d like to share with you is the Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press. I plugged this one into the August of Arms program because for a time earlier this Spring, I did a mini-run at the 225lb Bench Press for Reps, like is done in the NFL combine. I liked it so much, that I built it into AOA 2017.
Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press
Here is my official Pre-Test video for the Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press.
Don’t worry if you can’t do your bodyweight on the Close Grip Bench. I go over some alternatives you can take in August of Arms.
I’ll be sharing more Testing Results as I complete the Pre-Test Lifts for August of Arms.
If you’re ready to build BIGGER, STRONGER Arms, then pick up your copy of August of Arms 2017 today.
All the best in your training.
Tags: aoa, aoa 2017, august of arms, august of arms 2017, build big arms, build big biceps, build bigger arms, build bigger biceps
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When to Cheat to Build More Muscle
The Summer months are here now, and that means it’s time for some Cheating.
Call me crazy, but I think people put too much emphasis on STRICT lifting technique.
I’m not saying that you should deviate from the technique so much that you put yourself at injury.
For instance, I think multi-joint movements like the Squat, Deadlift, and their complex variations should be done with excellent form at all times.
But when it comes to isolation movements, exercises where there’s much fewer joints moving and less risk for injury, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat a bit on your technique in order to bring about more gains.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to cheat sometimes on your form:
1 – When you go super strict, it limits how much weight you can use.
Eventually, you’ve got to move up in weight a bit, if you want to bring on more muscle growth. But if you’re always staying super strict, it makes it hard to bump the weights up.
For an example of when I like to modify the technique in order to lift more weight, here’s a combo set of Plate Front Raises and Dumbbell Side Laterals. I deviate from the strict form on the Front Raises, because I’m using a 100lb Plate, and I bend my arms a bit to improve my leverage. I still try to lower the plate under control to accentuate the negative.
As you can see, I bend my arms here a bit to be able to get the plate up – just a small adjustment away from textbook form in order to get a lot more weight, and put a lot more loading on the front delts. Believe me, my front delts were SERIOUSLY SORE after this workout – way more sore than the previous few weeks when I worked with much lighter weight.
(2) When you keep everything strict, it limits how many reps you can do.
Appreciable volume is a must in order to build muscle. In fact, I like to stay between 8 and 15 reps on my movements where the goal is building muscle and not sheer strength.
There’s a couple ways to dial back the level of strictness in your lifting, in order to get more volume. Here are my favorites:
Go Heavier and Cheat from the Start: This method pulls from the idea above, of using more weight. Grab something that’s a good 5 to 10lbs heavier than you normally do with pristine form, and use some body english right from the start in order to bump up the volume and feel the pump sink in.
Regular Weight and Cheat at the End: With this one, you’ll start out with your regular “textbook” form, and then if you burn out before you hit your goal number of reps, then stop being a form policeman, and get the rest of your reps.
This is really just a handful of ways you can ease back a little bit on the form, in order to kick-start your gains again by increasing the weights you’re using and the volume you’re hitting in your workouts. I’m sure you can think of a few more.
The way some people talk about lifting, it’s as if the Form Police are there shaking a nightstick at you, watching every rep you do, ready to pounce on you if you deviate even the slightest from perfect form.
That’s all in your head. Don’t feel the need to stay strict on every single set and rep you do.
Naturally, there’s a time and place for everything. You don’t want to get in the habit of ALWAYS using cheat form.
Use cheating as a way to break through plateaus, test yourself with higher weights, and challenge your endurance in higher-rep situations.
I think you’re gonna see that it can help you out a great deal and can bring on some last-minute size increases, now that the Summer is here.
All the best in your training.
Want More Ways to Build Bigger Shoulders?
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Tags: big shoulders, bigger shoulders, deltoids, delts, muscle building, shoulders
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Back Contraction and Scapular Control for a Bigger Bench
One of the things I’ve been working on really hard the last few weeks is intensifying the contraction of my lats and the scapular musculature when performing Rows and Presses, in order to improve my back development and increase pressing power.
By doing so, my Barbell Bench Press has never felt better, and it’s almost completely pain free right now, for my shoulder.
I recently shot a video to help understand what I’ve been working on, and the feeling I’m going for when performing a lot of my Row movements.
There’s a million ways to do this, and one way is with Recline Rows, which we just happened to be doing recently.
Shoulder Blades Into Your Pickets
This video also talks about the idea of Shoulder Blades Into Your Pockets. This is exactly what I’m trying to do whenever I do a Seated Row, a Pull-down, and many other pulling/rowing movements.
I think if you try to implement this kind of contraction when you Row, you’ll gradually develop a better mental connection between your lats and scapular muscles, and this will lead a much more stable and stronger Bench Press.
If you have any questions on this, please leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel.
All the best in your training.
Want a Bigger, Thicker Back? Check out YOKETOBER
Tags: "big back", bench press, big bench press, big lats, bigger bench press, build a big back, build a big bench
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