Bodybuilders know that your back can define your physique – giving you that much sought after V-taper that can make you look big. But many of us have a difficult time developing our backs, or at least knowing whether or not our back is developing, because we can't really see it. Before you give up on your back all together it's important to know what you may be doing wrong. Here are some back training tips from Bodybuilder.com to help you get the results you want.
When you are doing reps it's important you remember to squeeze with every one. Hold the contracted position of each back lift for one second, or until you can feel your back working. If you are doing pulldowns, hold the bar at your chest and pull from your elbows to hold it down. If you are doing cable or barbell rows, pull the bar to your midsection and hold it there, pulling your shoulder blades together as hard as you can. If you feel a pump after a full set you know your back muscles are working.
You should never forget the importance of your mind when lifting. Because you can't see your back working you have to imagine it working. So before you start your workout try to visualize your exercises. Picture your back contracting in your mind and then do your best to replicate the feeling during the workout. Try closing your eyes when you're doing pull downs and cable rows. When you picture your back working, it will So, again, close your eyes and visualize your back flexing and contracting so you will have a much easier time feeling the actual muscles that you are trying to work.
If you can't feel your back working it's likely because your forearms and biceps muscles are giving out and getting tired much earlier than your back muscles are. Try buying some lifting straps, which will allow your back to take on the brunt of the work. Imagine pulling from your elbows and using your arms as levers and do your workout. This will result in you feeling the burn in your back, instead of your arms.
Don't let your ego get in the way of a good, successful workout. One of the most important tips for back training is to only use a weight that you can handle. If you are swinging your body in bad form than you are likely using too much weight and you won't get the results you want. If your back is rounded on your lifts or if you have to throw your entire body into each lift then you are using too much weight. You want to be able to lift a weight properly and actually feel your back on each rep for it to work.
Forearm and biceps strength can limit your back performance because you use them in every single back movement. Because your biceps and forearms are a lot weaker than your back it's important to strengthen them. Do some grip exercises so you can hold onto the bar longer, which will make your back work longer.