Let’s start with a question; how many times have you actually felt your back working and on fire during a workout? If you’re like most people I bet not very many, if at all.
Not being able to actually see what you’re working doesn’t help, as well as the fact that we’re all using the same old back exercises. No one is experimenting with their back training to see what actually feels good. Experimenting with new exercises is something at Team Maverick we’re pretty good at! We know the science, and we love being creative! Also, we don’t like to get bored with our own workouts, or those we’re giving our clients, so this forces us to experiment! To your benefit this means you won’t ever get bored either! At Team Maverick we’ve got your back….pun intended!
These are some of the most effective back exercises you’ve never tried…
LAT STRETCHERS AND LAT STRETCHERS ON A LOW ROW
Why? Apart from pull-ups, and to actually be able to perform pull-ups, the lats are more of a ‘show’ muscle. They help create that v-taper that so many guys are after, and alongside big shoulders gives the upper body an ‘athletic’ look.
“Train your chest like a powerlifter, but your back like a bodybuilder”
The back muscles in general like lots of reps and volume. As well as feeling the squeeze as your scapulars retract and depress together, you should also focus on the stretch when the scapulars glide back forwards over the ribcage. The lats in particular love this loaded stretch and respond very well to lots and lots of mechanical tension. Both of these Lat Stretchers do just that! They target low traps and lats by loading them in a stretched position. There arent many exercises better than these for lat and lower trap development.
Maverick Coaching Tip: Keep the weight light-ish and go slow. Notice the slight rocking forwards and backwards during both of these movements, and really emphasise getting the head and shoulders through and forwards allowing the lats to fully stretch.
LANDMINE RENEGADE ROWS
Why? It’s not always about building muscle. Sometimes it’s about building the overall package, and getting a bang for your buck out of your exercises. The Landmine Renegade Row, just like your typical renegade row will help target the back, whilst smashing the core at the same time. But don’t chicken out with these and start on the pink dumbbells, go heavy! Go as heavy as your core can possibly handle whilst being able to resist any spine/pelvis rotation or hip dropping. This can of course be done with dumbbells, but the landmine gives a bit of a twist to the exercise, and makes things a little harder.
Maverick Coaching Tip: Use a dumbbell or elevated step on the opposite side of the landmine for your other hand. Start with a wide stance, and work hard to resist any core rotation or hip drop for the duration of the exercise. Go narrower with the legs or increase weight to make it harder. You thought planks were hard!? Try these!
“Sometimes it’s about building the overall package, and getting a bang for your buck out of your exercises” Make wise exercise choices!
Why? Just because it’s good to mix it up and have some fun with your workouts sometimes. Literally no other reason. They do look pretty impressive though, but easier than you think! Try performing a set of pull-ups immediately followed by as many of these as you can do, as a form of drop-set. Great as a back day finisher and lots of fun!!
Maverick Coaching Tip: Once you manage to get up there you can’t really go wrong. If your chest doesn’t touch the bar every time then it doesn’t count as a rep.
“The more fun you have during your workouts, the more it motivates you to train!”
V-BAR LOW LAT PULLDOWN
Why? This exercise is a prime example of how adapting a common exercise slightly can change where the exercise is targeting, and can change how the exercise ‘feels’ in a big way. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like for your lower lats to be firing then give this exercise a try. Use this lesson in the rest of your back workouts, and think how maybe changing a grip, an angle of pull, or where the elbows are pulling to, might change the emphasis of an exercise or even make it better for YOU.
Maverick Coaching Tip: Notice the hand placement on the grip in the video, its closer to one side. This is very important. Focus on pulling down with the elbows and aim towards your hip (as opposed to the chest).
“Experiment with hand grip placement”
A COUPLE MORE EXERCISES WE LOVE..
Why? The grip used in both of these exercises allows a neutral position with natural pull from the lats, teres major, and traps. The width of grip on both of these exercises also provide for a wide rowing angle that can provide a unique stimulus for the upper back. They’re both great as a tool to develop both back thickness and width.
Both exercises are also fantastic for minimizing stress on the lower back as well as on the shoulder joint, allowing you to stack the weights and really feel your back working.
Maverick Coaching Tip: Try swapping out your typical bent over row for the trap bar variation for 4-6 weeks. And a seated cable row for the EZ Wide Row. Your back, shoulders and posture will really feel the benefits!
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
There are loads of exercises we could show you, but the aim is to inspire you to think for yourself and try new things. Hopefully these exercises give you something to play around with for a while and possibly ignite your creative spark. Don’t be scared if something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t go to plan. What might feel right for someone else might not feel right for you and vice versa. Think outside of the box, be a bit of a maverick, and if ever you need a bit of help or advice just hit us up.
We’ve got your back!
Also known as “The Fitness Maverick”, Gareth specializes in smarter training techniques to get you strong and looking great naked year round!