Weight and Resistance Training - Working the back




View Full Version : Working the back


CherryPie99
04-02-2013, 06:01 PM
Can I get some advice here? I've been lifting weights for about 2 years now. I use free weights and also my Bowflex. (No hating on the Bowflex please, I LOVE it).

Anyway, my arms and legs are pretty muscular, as are my shoulders. But my back has NOTHING. What am I missing?


http://i47.tinypic.com/2uqor9y.jpg


Ilene
04-03-2013, 08:24 AM
Pull ups are the first thing that come to mind... it would widen you lats and make your back more V shaped...

GirevikNA
04-03-2013, 11:24 AM
Pull up, lat machine, deadlift, dumbbell or barbell rows are the best exercises for having a large and thick back. Reps should be very controlled, you have to feel the muscles work.


Silverfire
04-03-2013, 11:41 AM
Jebus your arms/shoulders look awesome. Wow. No real advice from here though... :)

CherryPie99
04-03-2013, 01:34 PM
I think I'll have to get some pull up assist bands. I can do a few chin ups without assistance, but can't do pull ups at all.

I already do lat pulldowns, deadlifts and dumbbell rows.

I'm not sure I want to drop much more body fat, though, so maybe I'll never have a defined back...

krampus
04-03-2013, 02:15 PM
I wouldn't say that's "nothing" - at all. You're your own harshest critic and your shoulders are FABULOUS - I'm very envious. My back (https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/65348_968703139065_1410795266_n.jpg) is my best feature but as you can see the lower half is still doughy - I'm too lazy to do a cut so here I am.

That's awesome you can do chinups without assistance too. I'm working toward that, I can do exactly zero from dead hang :(

CherryPie99
04-03-2013, 03:26 PM
I wouldn't say that's "nothing" - at all. You're your own harshest critic and your shoulders are FABULOUS - I'm very envious. My back (https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/65348_968703139065_1410795266_n.jpg) is my best feature but as you can see the lower half is still doughy - I'm too lazy to do a cut so here I am.

That's awesome you can do chinups without assistance too. I'm working toward that, I can do exactly zero from dead hang :(

Doughy? I think NOT!!! You look FAB!

I never thought I would get there with the chin ups - I remember when I did the first one I was SO excited LOL!

JenMusic
04-03-2013, 03:47 PM
I wouldn't say that's "nothing" - at all. You're your own harshest critic and your shoulders are FABULOUS - I'm very envious. My back (https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/65348_968703139065_1410795266_n.jpg) is my best feature but as you can see the lower half is still doughy - I'm too lazy to do a cut so here I am.

That's awesome you can do chinups without assistance too. I'm working toward that, I can do exactly zero from dead hang :(

Krampus - I'm dying laughing at work!!! I opened your picture - which to me isn't doughy at all - only to see that Samwise Gamgee is staring at you! :)

Jen - I agree that your shoulders look tremendous. No other advice to give, unfortunately!

krampus
04-03-2013, 07:42 PM
HA! Yes my hobbits are always watching...I am using the Gravitron currently and can bang out 6 reps using 30 lbs of assistance, and like...maybe 3 with less. Thanks for the encouraging words - I am very very soft around the middle still, unsure what's fat and what's skin but I suspect a lot of it is still fat. I'm just...not genetically predisposed toward being solid the way some people are!

I just walked over to my pullup bar and tried to do a chinup from the floor. Nope!

AlmostMe
04-04-2013, 02:36 AM
Krampus your back looks awesome....but from behind... well, I don't think that's your best feature... Your butt looks great. (If you dont' mind me saying so).

I'm gonna follow this thread because I need more back strength, but not doing it for looks (yet)...doing it for the scrum. Grrrrrrrrr.....

krampus
04-04-2013, 01:16 PM
HA thanks! I'm flattered. Really with any muscle building aesthetics are just a nice bonus - I'm pretty sure there is nothing anywhere that proves having a weak or average strength back is better than having a strong one ;)

There Is No Try
04-25-2013, 03:57 AM
I already do lat pulldowns, deadlifts and dumbbell rows

First of all your shoulders/arms are just, wow.

If your concerned about your amazing back looking even more amazing, throw a "back day" into your gym routine. If you want something, you need to practice towards it.

Remember lats, aka your back, are the second largest muscle group in the body, choose dynamic exercises that give your lats a burn.

That means a neutral-grip pullups, where you stretch all the way down and really focus on activating your lats on the way up, should be #1 on the list. Bent over dumbell rows are great, go heavy and stick to 5-8 reps. You could throw some trap work in there too, like farmers walks (aka, pick up heavy weight and carry it) and some heavy ropes. Also, things like deadlifts or kettlebell swings activate the back durring exercise, indirectly.

My back never hated me more than the day I did pullups, farmers walks, and heavy ropes on the same day. TRY IT! :carrot:

fitmom
04-30-2013, 09:16 AM
I noticed a big difference in my back with: bent-over rows, pullovers, and chin-ups (both weighted and unweighted). Plus, lowering my body fat has helped the muscles "pop" more.

Andrea85
06-03-2013, 01:59 PM
Lat Pulldowns (or honestly, I prefer the machine that is called "fixed pulldown") have been AMAZING for my back and waist!

You have a beautiful back - strong and sleek. If you want more muscle pop, I would start to do more bent over flys and rows to target your traps and rear delts.

CherryPie99
06-05-2013, 09:06 AM
Well, it's been 3 months since I posted this thread and I've been trying to concentrate on working the back more. Unfortunately I don't see a difference, despite doing everything recommended.

http://i39.tinypic.com/j7vy2o.jpg

Ilene
06-05-2013, 10:25 AM
I think you`re too hard on yourself... I see a big difference in your definition... I think if you continue doing what your doing eventually your back muscles will pop more...

You look great !!!

samu2
06-07-2013, 09:53 AM
Oh there is a world of difference!

Please tell me your arm and shoulder routine! They are amazing! wow I am envious.

fitmom
06-08-2013, 11:11 AM
I see a difference but you need more than three months. I really noticed a difference in my back after about 6 months of doing chin-ups, that is when my lats began to pop. Also, low body fat helps with definition too...like around 20%. Just keep at it!

ReNew Me
06-08-2013, 11:51 AM
I'm coming at this from a different perspective than the other posters. You have beautiful arms/shoulders, and I can tell you've worked hard to get them, and worked right (at least at the time). I can also see you're very, very lean. I have a long history of weight training (20+ years). I hate to tell you but you have reached the stage where you won't be able to build muscle unless you're eating about 250 to 500 calories over maintenance. If you want to bulk (and that's what you want if you want to add muscle), you have to gain some weight, which must include fat.

From a purely physiological perspective, muscle is calorically wasteful tissue (one lb. of muscle actually burns more calories than one lb. of fat). If your body perceives itself as not having sufficient calories to spare you will not gain muscle and in fact -- especially with harder work and same intake -- you actually may start tearing down your muscle tissue if you're eating just at or slightly below maintenance.

There is a honeymoon period when a person starts lifting weights seriously, for most people it lasts somewhere between six months and one year, where you can actually lose weight and gain muscle. It's a one time only phenomenon. Thereafter you have to go through bulk/cut phases.

The general rule of thumb to bulk is macros (grams of protein/fat/carbs) in a 40/30/30 ratio, food super clean, and about 13 to 15 x bodyweight in calories. Basically, since you weigh 116 you'd start eating 1508 calories broken down as 150 grams of protein, 113 grams of carbs and 50 grams of fat ideally eaten in four or five small meals/snacks throughout the day. You'd monitor your progress through measurements, mirror and weigh ins, making sure you're slowly and steadily gaining weight and strength. If you're not gaining at least 1/2 to 1 lb a week, up your calories. If you're gaining more than 1.5 lb a week, especially if your strength isn't going up, either cut them or change up your macros. And also you might want to think about finding a dedicated weight training board for additional exercise and diet advice (there are a few out there that are serious and not loaded with steroid muscle heads, where you can find other chicks who lift and even compete).

Incidentally, you look fantastic. I just noticed where you started and where you are now. You should be extremely proud of yourself!

CherryPie99
06-09-2013, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the compliments, they are really appreciated!

Renew me - Wow - did you give me a lot to think about! First off, the "lean" comment just freaks me out, because I don't see myself as "lean" in the slightest!

After reading your post and re-reading it, and reading it again - LOL - I had to ask myself what my goals are - why do I want a better developed back and what am I willing to do for it?

So I asked myself:
Are you willing to gain some weight?
Are you willing to eat super clean?
Are you willing to count macros?

And the resounding answer to all 3 was NOPE!

So, I will continue what I've been doing and working on keeping the muscles I have and looking okay, but it will have to be good enough!

I appreciate the input, for real, everyone!

Jen

JessLess
06-09-2013, 09:03 AM
You look great, and I was about to chime in and agree with ReNew Me. Lots of women are afraid of "bulking up" if they lift heavy weights, but I think it's actually very hard to do for most women, especially if they are also reducing calories.

ReNew Me
06-09-2013, 11:37 AM
Cherry, yes, you are lean, accept it. You have very little fat laying under the skin, that is the definition of lean.

Frankly, if I were you and you really don't wish to eat more and/or gain weight/muscle I'd suggest you back off somewhat on your workouts. Anything more than three times a week of hard resistance training just becomes self defeating, especially if you include a few heavy compound moves. You'll just burn yourself out if you're going all out with training and not feeding it. I've seen it happen before. You can lose your gains. Remember what I said, you have to feed muscle.

BTW, I congratulate you on being able to be honest with yourself. A lot of people just don't have the insight to be realistic about what their goals truly are.

And you really have done a beautiful job, congratulations again :)

CherryPie99
06-09-2013, 01:13 PM
I really am only lifting heavy 3X's per week - 2 upper body days and 1 lower body day. I also do some ab and core work, but really wouldn't call that heavy resistance training. And of course, I run about 35 miles per week.

I am 11 months into maintenance and still trying to figure out what weight and what calorie intake is going to work for me long term. It's not as easy as I thought it would be!

I do eat a LOT of protein. And actually, I think a eat a lot in general!

So, I'm not completely closed minded, but at this point the benefits of getting a lovely sculpted back is not worth the effort for me. Gawd, do I sound completely lazy saying that?

Jen

ReNew Me
06-10-2013, 11:00 AM
I really am only lifting heavy 3X's per week - 2 upper body days and 1 lower body day. I also do some ab and core work, but really wouldn't call that heavy resistance training. And of course, I run about 35 miles per week.

I am 11 months into maintenance and still trying to figure out what weight and what calorie intake is going to work for me long term. It's not as easy as I thought it would be!

I do eat a LOT of protein. And actually, I think a eat a lot in general!

So, I'm not completely closed minded, but at this point the benefits of getting a lovely sculpted back is not worth the effort for me. Gawd, do I sound completely lazy saying that?

JenYou don't sound lazy at all. And I didn't know you were a runner. You'd really have a hard time building up much muscle mass considering what a serious runner you are, actually. The two sports just aren't really compatible.

As far as maintenance calories, work out your BMR from a reputable site (like WebMD, something like that) and use the Harris Benedict formula. You don't know what kind of calculators some websites use, but the Harris Benedict formula is medically devised and standard.

CherryPie99
06-22-2013, 12:12 PM
A little progress has been made I think. I find that when I work the back, I have to concentrate HARD on making sure I'm working the right muscles...

http://i40.tinypic.com/uszll.jpg

Ilene
06-22-2013, 04:23 PM
You have great shoulder and arm definition!! :bravo: Keep up the great work!!

amandie
06-23-2013, 11:45 PM
Wow, Jen- looking great!!! Keep it up!

krampus
06-24-2013, 11:18 AM
Wow! Looking great and nice yard!

Contrary to what the FITSPO UNIVERSE seems to think sometimes, ain't nothing wrong with your goals/lifestyle habits being something other than "OPTIMUM MAXIMUM MUSCLE GAIN."

Speaking of backs I definitely recommend CANOEING as an endurance/strength exercise for your back and shoulders - just a few hours of it this weekend was almost a challenge!

CherryPie99
11-13-2013, 07:43 PM
5 more months - I can see a little lat pop?

krampus
11-14-2013, 12:17 PM
Sorry, I can't see anything, your delts hit me in the face and gave me two black eyes!

Just curious - what are you overhead pressing these days?

Ilene
11-14-2013, 05:05 PM
Sorry, I can't see anything, your delts hit me in the face and gave me two black eyes!

:rofl: I really laughed out LOUD when I read that!!

Great Job CherryPie :bravo:

CherryPie99
11-15-2013, 11:50 AM
Sorry, I can't see anything, your delts hit me in the face and gave me two black eyes!

Just curious - what are you overhead pressing these days?

You're funny - I know it's not much, but I do think I have seen some progress - have really been working on pull-ups, but those effers are TOUGH!

I have a home gym. So I do standing barbell military presses - 40 LB 3 sets of 12. I do more seated dumbbell presses using 15 lb dumbbells.

Jen

fitmom
11-15-2013, 04:12 PM
Yep, pull-ups build a better back! Great progress.

krampus
11-15-2013, 04:47 PM
Photos cannot capture the full scope of muscle built. I can see lats popping in the picture but I'm sure if I saw you IRL wearing a tank top it would be much clearer! :)