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.
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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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Last week, I travelled to Juniata College, for the Juniata Strength and Conditioning Clinic.
Before Day 1, I hooked up with Jerry Shreck and Cody Miller, both from Bucknell Strength and Conditioning, and we hit a nice, quick, solid back workout.
It’s always fun to hit a workout in a different gym from time to time, because you get to try stuff you wouldn’t normally get to, especially when you usually train in a garage gym.
Here are some clips we got from this Big Back Workout. Believe me, my lats, posterior delts, and the rest of my back were PUMPED for hours from this one.
Warm-up 1 – Peg Board
It was a chore getting warmed up. We were rushed, hadn’t had any coffee, no breakfast, and got poor sleep, so the regular full-body joint mobility-style warm-up I am used to just wasn’t cutting it.
That’s when we spotted the Peg Board in the next room, and that’s when the blood finally started pumping.
What we did: +/- 3 sets each
Warm-up 2 – Freedom Climber
Right in the same room, on the same wall, even, Juniata had a “Freedom Climber.” I’ve never even heard of these before, let alone seen one, but we were both excited to try it out. With this one, the further you climb to one side, the quicker it turns. For me, the grip was no problem. The issue was the footwork – I couldn’t move my feet fast enough to stay on the holds. Really fun device – can’t imagine what it costs though.
What we did: +/- 3 sets each
Exercise 1 – Dumbbell Rows
Now, we were warm, so we headed back into the training center. We started off with Dumbbell Rows. I was interested in trying something heavy, upwards of 150, but the heaviest they had was 125, so I stuck with those and tried to keep the reps slow and controlled. This was great, my back was blown up.
What we did: 3-5 sets each of 8 to 10 reps, emphasizing control
Exercise 2 – Cable Pull-Downs
This might be one of the toughest Cable Pull-downs I ever tried. I rarely fail to get a rep on the full stack of a Cable Pull-down, but I literally could not do it on this piece. Jerry and I mixed up the tempo and range of motion of our repetitions on this one to try to mix things up and make our backs grow!
What we did: 5 sets each of 8 to 15 reps, manipulating ROM & tempo
Exercise 3 – Football Bar Curls
The Football Bar is something I don’t have in my gym, so I made sure to hit this before leaving. Naturally, we took it directly to the Squat Cage, the best place to hit Curls in the gym of them all.
What we did: 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps on each handle
Jerry and I packed this workout into about an hour or so, and I was very happy with it, especially considering the struggles we were having in getting rolling.
It was great training with Jerry, too. We always come up with some pretty intense stuff to push each other with. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to work in some Trap work and some Triceps. Hopefully next time!
All the best in your training.
Did you know that Jerry and I collaborated on a product a few years back? It’s called Deceleration Training and it will help you prevent ACL tears. Click the banner below to find out more:
Want to Build a Big Back, Traps, and Wide Shoulders? It’s time to get YOKED with Yoketober:
This is Part II to the Epic Upper Body Workout that I started at the tail end of September when my good friend Chris came up to train. This is the Pulling Work we did.
I wanted to show him some new stuff he add into his training to not only build muscle, but also to balance out his shoulder training, as well as be better prepared for physical altercations in his line of work as a Corrections Officer.
Part IV: Bigger Back and Stronger Grip with Pull-up Variations
This video shows several variations for Pull-ups that will not only build your back muscles, but will also balance your shoulder strength and build better grip strength. Having a strong set of hands is very important for Chris in his line of work as a Corrections Officer.
Part V: Build a Big back with Low Cable Row Variations
We split these sets up with both wide and narrow rows. I showed Chris a correction to keep the emphasis on the lats and other big back muscles and to reduce the level of upper trap involvement. The set-up we used made the range of motion much shorter than normal, but this was because of the seat we used, due to my left lumbar area being very touchy. You can see once Chris adjusted, it began feeling totally different.
Part VI: Upper Back Postural Strength with Bodyweight Training
The Inverted Row is a great exercise and it can be loaded with chains draped over the body to make it more difficult. On top of that, we also held the concentric for a 3-count pause. I also used some mental distraction tactics to mimic the sound of an alarm going off due to a prison riot. This may sound annoying, but it is something that would be real during an actual emergency in the jail.
Part VII: Odd Object Loaded Hyper Extensions
Since Chris occasionally runs into situations where an inmate will get physical, instead of loading the Hyperextensions with normal dumbbells or barbell plates, we bear-hugged sandbags and heavy bags. This feels much more like actually having to control an inmate than just gripping some weights.
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I still have several clips coming your way from this workout. Stay tuned in a couple days for the Arm Training that we did. My arms were blown up like water balloons after what we did. It was AWESOME.
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All the best in your training.
Tags: "big back", get better hand strength, improving your grip, muscle building, strength training, strong shoulders
Posted in how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, muscle-building-workouts, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
As my obsession with Angry Birds gets stronger and my ability to manage time gets weaker, I find myself with less and less time to train.
However, limited time to train has not hurt my training progress, as it has forced me to quit screwing around while I am in the gym and pack a ton of quality, hard, and serious work into my training sessions.
Tags: "big back", biceps, bis, curls big arms, shrugs, trapezius, traps
Posted in how to build muscle, how to improve fitness and conditioning, muscle building nutrition build muscle mass, muscle-building-workouts | 2 Comments »
Everyone wants to fill out a shirt.
Now there are a few different ways you can do it.
- Build a big chest
- Build big arms
- Build a big back
- Wear 4 shirts (All my collars are popped SON, that’s real)
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