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  • What's up, guys?

  • Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.

  • Today we continue a popular series.

  • The Best Dumbbell Exercises.

  • This time, for the back.

  • But instead of giving you a mind-numbingly boring, poorly copied video with exercise

  • selections that are based on misinterpreted and misinformed EMG data, we're going to do

  • what we always do on this channel and bring you the unique training perspective of why

  • we're selecting these exercises.

  • Based on the goal that you're trying to achieve, as we've done this entire series.

  • To do that, I'm going to select the best back exercises you can do with dumbbells for strength,

  • power, hypertrophyor eccentric overload – a metabolic effect, a total body exercise,

  • a corrective exercise, and then our 'miscellaneous' category.

  • With that being said, we've got a lot of ground to cover.

  • Let's jump right into our first exercise selection for strength.

  • When it comes to strength, the goal is always going to be to progressively overload.

  • To allow your body to adapt to get stronger to the movement that you're doing.

  • While we have some rowing options we could incorporate with some dumbbells, I think the

  • best way to load weight into your system as a whole is to add some weight to one of the

  • more difficult exercises, in general.

  • That is the pullup.

  • The pullup is one of the better back-building exercises you can do on its own.

  • Add some additional weight here, as you see with the dumbbell, and now we've really got

  • something to work with.

  • The fact is, we can add the dumbbell in a number of different ways.

  • One, as I mentioned in the past, you can take a leash and wrap it around the dumbbell you're

  • using, just like this – I say 'a leash' because if you want to train at home there's

  • no limitations here.

  • If you're at a gym, whip out a dip belt if you want.

  • But wrap it around the dumbbell, hang it on your hips, jump up on the bar, and go.

  • Of course, if you want something more traditional here, just place the dumbbell on the floor,

  • step up onto it, reach down with your toes, grab it in between your feet, and you're ready

  • to go as well.

  • As you can see, the back takes a tremendous amount of load here.

  • Again, the assisted weight is what's important here.

  • The additional dumbbell weight added to the weight of your own body creates a great opportunity

  • for overload and progressive overload, simply by adding more weight to the dumbbell each

  • time you do the exercise.

  • Next we move onto the power selection.

  • We know if we're going to train for power there has to be some element of speed and

  • explosivity to the exercise we're performing.

  • For me, there's none better than this: the dumbbell dead row.

  • The dead row is performed from the floor as a great pulling exercise, just like the deadlift,

  • but it stops at about the level of the knee, in terms of the hip contribution.

  • From that point on, you want to drive the dumbbells up in a rowing motion, using your

  • arms, and driving your elbows back behind your body into extension to get those lats

  • working.

  • The element of explosivity comes from the fact that the ground-based force is generated

  • through your feet, into the ground, and they're going to drive this movement to become as

  • explosive as it is.

  • You can load up the weight here as much as you can handle, and this is a zero-momentum

  • exercise that's going to require a lot of coordinated explosiveness.

  • Again, through your feet, up into your arms, and ultimately through the back, and the lats

  • to help you develop some explosive power.

  • Next up, we move onto hypertrophy.

  • When we're trying to create muscle growth, we look to do the opposite of what we're doing

  • when we have a straight or power focus.

  • Instead of trying to incorporate a lot of muscles into the activity you're doing, you

  • try to focus and isolate the work to the muscle you're trying to create overload on, looking

  • for inefficiency.

  • Here, if we're trying to create more lat growth, we need to make the lats do all the work.

  • We can do that best with the classic dumbbell pullover, as you see here.

  • Now, a couple things about the setup.

  • You want to position your body perpendicular to the bench instead of lying alongside it.

  • Why?

  • Because it allows us to manipulate our hips.

  • You might be thinking "Why is it important to manipulate your hips?"

  • Because we want to create more stretch.

  • We want to give ourselves another opportunity for eccentric overload and stretch on the

  • muscle we're trying to develop.

  • A known stimulus for muscle hypertrophy.

  • We can do that by dropping the hips down.

  • You see, I simply allowed them to drop, realizing that the attachments of the lats are going

  • to get further from each other when the hips get further apart than the arms.

  • We can do that by simply letting the hips drop.

  • Now, as we drop the dumbbell back in position, you should immediately feel a lot of tension

  • places on the lats.

  • You come up and complete this as you normally would.

  • Here's another tweak that I think is extremely beneficial.

  • You do some forced eccentrics.

  • Some assisted eccentrics at the end.

  • When you're done, just because you're concentrically fatigued, it doesn't mean you can't do some

  • more eccentric work.

  • We know that we're stronger there.

  • And we can by simply cheating the motion back up to the start position.

  • What I do is drag the dumbbell over one of my shoulders, I extend it over my chest here,

  • utilizing my triceps more than anything else, and then I go back into a nice, long-armed,

  • eccentric pullover.

  • I come back again, shorten the arms, take away all the concentric workor as much

  • as I can – I go back up in position again, and eccentrically lower.

  • Do a few forced reps this way and I promise you; you're going to get even more out of

  • an already effective exercise for creating hypertrophy.

  • Next up is our metabolic exercise.

  • When we're training metabolically, looking for that burn, we need to have an exercise

  • that allows us to do it.

  • But we don't want to compromise the low back in the process because we know that any

  • standing row variation, while being able to be repped out through that burn, it's going

  • to cause fatigue in the low back first.

  • Which is going to compromise the safety of the exercise.

  • But we can do that if we put ourselves in this position here.

  • This is chest supported touch row.

  • We have a couple things to discuss here.

  • Number one: the position on the bench.

  • The bench is going to protect that low back.

  • It's going to allow us to fatigue the lats without having to worry about the fatigue

  • of the low back posturally, that we would get in standing.

  • Now, we talked about the touch row.

  • We have these dumbbells placed out in front of us, and the ones we're holding are being

  • targeted to touch those.

  • Why?

  • It gives us an additional stretch on the lats for additional benefits as we go out with

  • each repetition, out in front of the body.

  • Again, realizing the anatomy of the lats is going to require the arm travel up and ahead

  • of us to get more of a stretch.

  • But additionally, those other dumbbells are literally sitting out there waiting for you

  • to keep that burn going.

  • To metabolically increase the effectiveness of the exercise by simply drop-setting right

  • down to them and doing another set as soon as you're done with the first set of dumbbells.

  • This is where the metabolic effect comes in, guys.

  • Remember, when you're trying to train metabolically, you push to that level of burn, and then through

  • it.

  • For this exercise, because of that setup, we protect the low back in the process and

  • made it a much better selection.

  • Next, we move onto the total body exercise option here.

  • Obviously, to hit this criterion you've got to work your whole body.

  • But we have to be able to hit the lats as well.

  • That's what this exercise does.

  • This is the man-maker.

  • With a single pair of dumbbells, we're going to be able to go from a pushup, into a renegade

  • row on each side, jump right in, clean them up, stand and press, and come back down.

  • If you look at the component motions here, we're getting a push, into a pull, back into

  • a total body push.

  • So, I like the effectiveness of the exercise and the sequencing that it provides.

  • But if you look at the exercise in a little more detail, you'll see a couple of things.

  • Number one: we're not compromising the back in the process of doing a total body exercise.

  • Why?

  • Because the weight is going to be determined by what you can renegade row.

  • You don't have to forcefully choose a very light weight to be able to do the press.

  • The standing clean and press is the most explosive portion of this.

  • We're going to be able to use a pretty heavy dumbbell set to do that.

  • So, really what's determining what dumbbells we use is your ability to renegade row them.

  • So, we're not having to compromise the effectiveness of the exercise in targeting and hitting the

  • lats.

  • A great exercise option.

  • Again, if you put this into a circuit, you incorporate it into a total body program,

  • it's going to fit in nicely, and it's going to hit your lats in the process.

  • Moving on now, we hit our corrective exercise.

  • You know how important the correctives are.

  • They literally determine, I think, your longevity and how you stay injury free in your training.

  • When you forget to do these, that's when injuries crop up.

  • In the particular case of the back, we want to try and work on incorporating the W-Raise.

  • Where does it get its name from?

  • It's the position of your arms in relation to your body.

  • You're literally trying to form a "W".

  • When you get into the position that I'm doing this from, you'll see a couple of things happening.

  • You're hitting a lot of back muscles, but most importantly, you're hitting some of those

  • back muscles that people don't even regard as 'back muscles'.

  • Namely, the rotator cuff.

  • We know if we can get the muscles on the backside of the shoulder to externally rotate that

  • shoulder, we're going to incorporate the rotator cuff into what we're doing.

  • This is how the W-Raise will do that.

  • We know, in order to get the hands into this position, to create a "W", we need to get

  • the hands back behind the elbow, into this position here.

  • That is going to demand external rotation of the shoulder.