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  • What's up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.

  • Today we're going to do the definitive back training workout video for you. This is why:

  • because I'm breaking out four damned markers for you guys. As a matter of fact, it's a

  • whole new package of markers to make sure the - Jeff muscle markersthat you get

  • what we're talking about when it comes to back training.

  • Look, first and foremost, people don’t give the back the respect it deserves. Because

  • they can't see it they don’t want to train it. Those that are training a little bit more

  • seriously, of course you'll train your back, but as you'll see by the time this video's

  • done, there's a lot more going on in the back than the lats.

  • As a matter of fact, you can see, I've got a whole damned road map going on back here

  • and a lot of ink was used to make sure that we get you to understand that. So I'm going

  • to break it down muscle by muscle and tell you why you need to do certain things and

  • what the best exercises are to target those areas so you have a better understanding the

  • next time you attack your back workout.

  • Okay, let's start with the lats. That's probably the one that you're, at least, training. So

  • what we want to do is look at the anatomy of the lats to better understand what they

  • do. They feed into the "X" in our back. Not just me. I'm not the only one that has an

  • X implanted in my back. It's actually something we all should strive for.

  • What that is, that's the lat, as it feeds down and in, and you'll have the X that kind

  • of goes like this in your back. It's the thoracic-lumbar fascia that the lats will feed into. We'll

  • talk about that muscle in a second. It feeds into it there, and then they fan up, and around.

  • So how would you train these?

  • Well, you want to make sure that you're pulling your arms down and into your sides, and we're

  • going to do that with exercises like pull ups, or as I'm showing you here, a lat pull

  • down. Why is it that you might feel it more, or at least more of a stretch when you're

  • doing an underhand lat pulldown, as I'm showing you here?

  • Well, look at the anatomy again. If I have my arms in front of my body like this, instantly

  • you see that I'm getting more stretch, more of a lengthening here of the lat as it reaches

  • all the way around the back, and up around here at the top. Whereas, if I put my arm

  • to the side here, I've just taken away all that extra stretch.

  • So you might feel it more by doing an underhand version of this. Both of them are ultimately

  • going to end down at your side, at peak contraction of the lats, but you're going to at least

  • have an understanding now, why one may feel better than the other. The next muscle group

  • we're going to attackbecause it takes a huge portion, it covers a large area of

  • your backare your traps.

  • When you look at them they're big ass muscles. They're the ones over here taking up all this

  • space. They literally start at the base of your head, on the bump here on the back of

  • your head. They come all the way down your spine, they fan out here, they come back in,

  • and they actually have different purposes and different functions depending on the area

  • of that muscle we're talking about.

  • So you might have heard people talk about the upper traps, and you have people talking

  • about the lower traps. Well again, look at the direction of the fibers. The fibers of

  • the upper trap are coming down this way. So I always talk about one of the big flaws people

  • make when they train their traps, is to strictly just lift straight up and down. That's not

  • really training the lats the way that they actually have to be trained.

  • If you're taking into respect the orientation of the fibers going down this way, then you

  • actually want to be pulling up and at an angle. So I've actually developed the exercise here

  • that I showed you in a previous trap video, that actually does just that. Now, you don’t

  • have to use a band to do this. You could use a lower cable, weighted, heavy, and you can

  • pull at an angle up against that slope and then twist and turn because we're going to

  • get some of that retraction of the scapula as well.

  • So we're building into the major functions of the upper trap. The next thing we're going

  • to do is then look at the lower trap and these fibers are going to run up in this direction.

  • So what they do is, they actually stabilize down and back and hold your shoulder blades

  • in place, down and back. So we can actually attack them with an exercise like the inverted

  • Y. you take a light set of dumbbellsagain, if you're not used to training these muscles

  • you're going to have to get used to it because you need to train all of them in order to

  • get your back to show the way it's supposed to.

  • You want to get your arms up and over your head, keeping your shoulder blades down and

  • back. Especially as you raise the weight up, it gets more challenging. Your shoulder blades

  • want to fly away. Keep the packed down and back and you'll hit both the upper and now

  • the lower traps. Next we have another one of those muscles that you probably don't really

  • think about that much, but if you want to have a complete back and a total back development

  • you'd better start. It's the terres major. Look, it's really close in proximity here

  • to the lats.

  • Guess why. Because they all have the same function as the lats. But there's one key

  • differentiator that you can do to target this a little bit more effectively. It's going

  • to be the width of the grip on a lat pull down. So you saw me do the lat pull down before.

  • I'm going to show it to you again here. You can see my grip here, the width of it is sort

  • of neutral, about shoulder width apart.

  • If you want to start targeting and favoring a little bit more of the terres major then

  • you're going to widen that grip out, about as far as the bar will go. Perform the exercise

  • the same way, but you can see that you're getting more activation. You can actually

  • see that muscle contracting right here underneath that drawing I have. Obviously, it moves underneath

  • the pen, but you can see that area now, contracting a lot more.

  • That's the quickest and easiest way for you to start building this important area and

  • maybe feel that divot that you have in the back from ignoring it for so long. Next we're

  • going to talk about three muscles at once. People don’t even know that they're actually

  • separate muscles a lot of times. It's the rotator cuff. We're talking specifically about

  • the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, and the terres minor.

  • Again, muscles that you never even think about training when it comes to back when you're

  • all focus on lats, lats, lats. But again, they're really important because they actually

  • fill in this space up here in your upper back, above and below the spine of your scapula.

  • That's where we get the supraspinatus and the infraspinatus. Obviously, the rotator

  • cuff is a very vulnerable group of muscles that become injured often in people that don't

  • train right.

  • That's a lot of us, but we can tell that if we give it some attention, it actually can

  • respond well and also complete that upper back development. Here's how to do it: you've

  • got to externally rotate your arm. If you're not externally rotating your arm in some exercise

  • then guess what; you are not training these muscles. There's no other way to train them.

  • All they do, for the most part, is externally rotate.

  • So they take your arm and they move it outward in the socket. So what we can do is we can

  • take an exercise like a W raise. All these exercises are ones that we actually program

  • in ATHLEANX because I know how important they are and how you need to make sure that you're

  • focusing on these. The W raise is one of them. You bend over like you're going to do a rear

  • delt raise, but from here we're actually going to rotate the arms backward.

  • I'm actually trying to, as you see me here, move my thumbs back behind my body. I'm not

  • just doing this. I'm doing this and this, externally rotating here at the shoulder so

  • that I'm getting a little bit of that rhomboid activationwhich we're going to talk about

  • nextand also the external rotation. So I'm hitting all three of those muscles at

  • once. So I mentioned the rhomboids. Let's talk about the rhomboids.

  • Again, if I look at this side of my body here, you're not going to really see them because

  • they're buried deeper than the traps. So the traps are going to cover it all, but if you

  • look at this side of my body over here, you can see that the rhomboids are right up in

  • here. Now, the idea is they run up at a little bit of an angle. So when you're doing your

  • rhomboid exercises like a T, all we're trying to do is pull our shoulder blades closer together.

  • They attach on the shoulder blade to the spin. So when they shorten, all they're going to

  • do is bring the shoulder blade from around the body, back closer to the spine. But because

  • of the angle that they run, when we do our Ts, if you come up at a little bit of an angle,

  • you're actually going to hit them even better. Again, these are exercises that you have to

  • do. Rowing will actually work these muscles too, but the idea is, you have to at least

  • attack them a little bit more directlysometimes with lighter weightsto get more activation

  • and better overall development.

  • Finally, we'll end at the low back. Again, we're going to talk about some of the top

  • muscles and some of the ones that are underneath. The ones we all talk about is the Christmas

  • tree action, right? We're looking at all the fibers that run this direction here, and we

  • want to know how we do that. Well, really, the most important thing, especially for the

  • safety of your low back, are the muscles that run up and down.

  • They're basically acting like guide wires that are actually strengthening and stabilizing

  • your spine. Well, we can do that with something as simple as a hyperextension. If the fibers

  • are going straight up and down you can do what I'm showing you here. You're just going

  • to go from a flexed position to an extended position, or to a neutral position, and strengthen

  • the muscles that way. But there's something I think you could do even a little bit better.

  • I've talked about before how these thoracial lumbar fascia has the lats that feed into

  • it. so if they're touching and feeding right into it, as you can see down at the bottom

  • there, then obviously they're going to have some kind of effect if you could get the lats

  • to be activated as well. So we can do that. We can combine the two. If you could get into

  • this band, as I show you, now you're going to flex forward. So the band wants to pull

  • me in this direction.

  • Now, if I have to resist backward and pull against the band, I'm working those final

  • erectorsgreatbut at the same time I can pull my hands out inside the band and

  • also now engage the lats. It's going to give you the opportunity to start getting that

  • low backnot just strongerbut to stand out and look a lot better. All right,

  • you might be asking "Jeff, is there one exerciseyou're usually good at coming up with

  • exercisesone that I can do that's going to hit every muscle in my back?"

  • Well, unfortunately, not every single one because there's a lot of muscles going on

  • back there, as you see. But there is one move here that will combine a lot of these things

  • together. That is, you get yourself out of hyperextension again. You allow your body

  • to fold over in the starting position. So you're pretty much perpendicular to the ground.

  • If I'm holding a pair of heavy dumbbells down here at the ground and I lift them straight

  • up, I'm actually in the frontal plane as I would be with a lat pulldown, but I'm basically

  • doing an inverted lat pull down.

  • I'm working the lats, I'm working the terres major, I'm getting those muscles to fire up,

  • but I'm not even done yet because what I do is, I then return the weights back down, I

  • come up into a normal hyperextension, I'm now working all those muscles in the low back

  • that we talked about; all those deeper muscles. At this point, I now hold at the top, and

  • then I do a row. I pull the dumbbells up close to my sides and I try to recreate those shoulder

  • blades together. So now we're working on some of those mid-scapular muscles.

  • I'm not necessarily doing all that great of a job at getting the lower traps and not necessarily

  • doing all that great of a job of getting the upper traps. We are trying to retract and

  • hold, but we can do things maybe a bit better for that, but you get the idea. A lot of things

  • are working at once here. So if you only have a very short amount of time, this might be

  • the one quick option that you want to try to do. So there you have it, guys.

  • Breaking out the muscle markers to help you to understand, not just how important it is

  • to train your back, but really how many ways you have to train your back if you want to