Back Like a Barn Door Posted on 30 Mar 23:01 , 0 comments

[caption id="attachment_541" align="alignnone" width="281"]backcontractedjuly15 This is how i built my back, from size to detail it's one of the hardest body parts to develop[/caption]

By Todd Lee M.D.

Who am I? Click here for my Bio!


If there is any body part that can’t get too big on a man, it's the back.  If a woman wants an hourglass frame the top half is lats and delts.  I'm going to give you the basics on how to grow a back so wide it blocks out the sun!

Lift Heavy Or Go Home

Back training should focus on heavy compound free weights. Form should be loose, 10-12 reps most of the time with about 80% perfect form. Lots of body english in other words. So for instance, on under hand bent rows, I’ll do the bar, 95, 135, 185, 225, and 275 for 8 with perfect form and tempo.  Then I'll do 2 more work sets with 275 for 8 perfect and 2-4 ok looking reps.


With back more than any other part you have to get a full contraction. Don't use weight so heavy that you can’t get your elbows as far behind you as they will go. You want to hold it for a second or so.  So with 10-12 reps you want at least 8 reps with full contractions and holds, then 2-4 forced or cheat reps.


Most People get tennis elbow or something similar if they try my routines and don't use straps. Straps not Wraps. Here is a video on how to use them.


Advanced Techniques

Here are the descriptions of the tricks you will use with the routine  I provided below.  

Forced reps: Hard to have a spotter help you pull a free weight toward you, but with cables and levers they can.

Forced negatives: On those reps your partner helped you pull the handle, you try to hold the contracted position and they pull the handle AWAY from you gently, adding resistance. It should take 6 seconds for the negative phase with this method.

Partial Reps: After you can't get any more full contractions squeeze out 5 partial contractions

Rest Pause: After you can't get any more full reps wait 5 seconds and then squeeze out as many as you can.

Drop Sets: Strip weight off the bar for every increment of reps listed. So if you were doing a set of 6 with bent rows, you would take a plate off and do 6 more, then another plate and do 6 more.  

The Routine

[caption id="attachment_1998" align="alignleft" width="268"]Cervical-Lordosis-Diagram.jpg Your spine should always look like this, never lose the lordotic arch in your lower back.[/caption]

Do this at your own risk. This is a brutal routine, I'm not kidding.  It's how I built my back and I would be on the verge of a panic attack every day before I had to do it. It's as hard as a leg day. You have to be careful and ARCH YOUR BACK for every exercise. Concave not convex. Lordotic, not kyphotic.

It's your responsibility to be cleared by your doctor to lift and you need to know how to lift to benefit from any routine. Hire a GOOD trainer, one who looks like they lift. Fancy, expensive,  and other certifications aren’t worth the paper they're printed on because there is no PHYSICAL component to getting them. Most trainers can’t lift and can’t show you how either. But if someone is built or has bodybuilding trophies they probably can, certification or not.  I trained one person to win his class at the NPC Masters Nationals and I didn’t have a certification at the time.

Pull Ups: 4 sets of 12 
If you can get more reps than 12 with your body weight hold a dumbbell in your feet.  Try to bring your chest up to the bar, not your chin, and push the bar down like you’re doing the breast stroke to activate your lats.  Have your partner hold your feet to spot you for forced reps if need be. You're doing this to warm your whole back up and pre exhaust your lats.  

Under Hand Bent Row: 4 sets of 10-12
I'm doing overhand in the video and i got less reps than 12

This is almost impossible to explain but I'll try: bend over about 70 degrees from the waist and have a slight bend in your knees, pull the bar from your knees to your hips, not up to your navel.  Keep your back arched the whole time like you’re sticking your butt out. Pyramid up in the fashion described above. Use rest pause if you must and a drop set for your last set, stripping off a plate for every 6 you get.  You’re doing this to hit your lower lat tie in.

Seated Cable Row: 4 sets of 10
This angled bench is unique, the motion for a flat bench is identical.

Use a narrow neutral grip and squeeze the handle and push it down instead of pulling it in, while arching your back and sticking your chest up.  You will have to push through your heels to get it moving and bend your knees on the negative (eccentric) phase to take the pressure off your lower back. Using your knees as shock absorbers allows you to keep your back arched. It's a real small movement and the goal is to get the handles in your groin not your navel. This way it hits your lower lats.  Use 3 forced negatives THEN 5 partial reps every set for 18 total reps on the final set. I usually get about 8 warm up sets before I fail at 10 reps and my work sets begin.

Supported T-Bar Row Wide Grip: 4 sets of 10-12

[caption id="attachment_102" align="alignleft" width="331"]BestRearDoubleBI There is a lot more to a complete back than just lats! This will help get all that upper back detail and size![/caption]

Use the horizontal handles not the angled ones and pull the bar apart. This targets the upper back muscles like the rhomboids, lower and middle traps, rear delts, teres major etc.  Use forced negatives and partial reps for your first 3 work sets and a drop set your last set.  

At the Knee Rack Pulls: 3 sets of 20

[caption id="attachment_213" align="alignleft" width="266"]ToddChineesefan To get this type of detail Some type of deadlifting must be done[/caption]

This is where you can really hurt yourself so please keep your back arched. I'm serious!  Use a smith machine or a power cage so you can set the bar right above the patella when your hands are on the bar and your legs are physically touching the bar. Preform like a deadlift: like your back-flipping slamming your hips into the bar as hard as you can with all your weight on your heels like your trying to push the floor away from you, NOT lift the bar. Keep your shoulders back. If you get a headache STOP! If you keep lifting the headache will last for days and will be up to 2 times worse than a migraine.  Rest pause these to get all your reps and this is to finish off any muscle left un-annihilated.  

That's it, only 19 work sets but usually about 15 warm up sets that I don't count.  It’s like a high volume DY training. 



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Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside.  The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only.  All statements are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise.  Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.