power of supersets is undeniable. Supersets (doing
2 exercises one after another with no rest in
between) are very effective for building strength
and muscle mass.
following is a superset for your back that will
pile on muscle like no other. One word of warning:
you should be comfortable doing both of these
exercises separately before attempting them together
in a superset.
first exercise is the barbell bent-over row. You
can use either an overhand, wide grip or an underhand,
close reverse grip. Both grips are effective but
work different areas of the back.
a weight that will cause you to reach failure
in the 6 to 8 rep range. Do a hard set of bent-over
rows then immediately after setting the weight
down, move into the second exercise: deadlifts.
will use the exact same weight for deadlifts,
however, you may wish to change your grip to a
mixed grip (one overhand, one underhand) so that
you can hold onto the bar better.
reps of the deadlift until either your grip fails
or until a rep before your back fails (don't do
deadlifts to absolute failure - always keep the
do-or-die rep in you).
you get done with the deadlifts, your lats should
be extremely pumped up.
are several reasons why this superset is so effective:
It uses two of the best mass-building movements
for your back (and body!).
The bent-over row uses the lats to actually move
the weight while the deadlift uses the lats to
help support the weight. Since the lats are already
fatigued from the rowing, they will be forced
to work far harder when you do the deadlifts.
In a nutshell, the rest of your body will help
push your lats harder!
The weight you use for bent-over rows should be
relatively easy for you on the deadlift. This
allows you to do even more reps with the deadlift.
It is very easy and convenient to go from the
bent-over row to the deadlift. All you need to
do is change your grip (if even that! You may
choose to use the same grip.).
Give this superset a try in your next back workout.
The results will speak for themselves!
to Do Barbell Bent-Over Rows:
Bent-Over Row builds thickness in the upper
back and uses the lower back and abs to stabilize
the body during the movement. The biceps also
contribute to the movement, however care should
be taken to minimize biceps involvement as the
biceps are the weakest muscle in the chain.
are several variations but the most
effective version for the lats is the
your knees and bend over at the waist,
keeping an arch in your lower back and
looking forward. It is important not
to round your lower back in this exercise.
a shoulder-width, palms-up grip on the
barbell. Your knees will be inside your
arms during the movement. The next thing
you should do is suck up your abs and
hold them tightly in. This will stabilize
your abdominal area.
your knees bent (the angle will be somewhat
greater than 90 degrees) and back arched
and without lifting with your lower
back, pull the barbell back and up into
your lower abdomen.
the tendency to stand up to help cheat
the weight up, which can strain your
do not dip your upper body down to meet
the bar. This will reduce the effectiveness
of the exercise and can lead to lower
done with proper form, the bent-over
row is one of the most effective back
exercises you can do.
Errors in the Bent-Over Row:
Improper body position
most commonly seen as the straight-legged,
rounded back style. This is the worst
position for your lower back to be taking
weight on. Always keep your lower back
arched, your knees bent, and your head
up and butt down.
the weight up
the weight up using muscle power only.
Yanking the weight up in this position
can cause lower back injury.
the upper body down
often done as you pull the bar up in an
effort to get the weight up to the end
of the rep. Instead of pulling the bar
up to you, you are dropping yourself down
to meet the bar. This is a less effective
way to train the back and has the potential
for injury. Keep your torso as steady
as you can.
for the Bent-Over Row:
Coming in for a landing
your body as a plane coming in for a landing.
This will help with your body positioning. Always
look forward when doing this exercise. Looking
down will automatically cause your back to round
Butt against the wall
you have trouble keeping in the correct position,
do this exercise with your butt pressed against
the wall. By keeping it firmly in one spot, you
will eliminate the tendency to stand up.
to do Barbell Deadlifts
Deadlift is a powerful exercise that
should be a part of every serious trainers routine.
It uses more active muscle mass than any other
exercise, including squats. The focus of the
Deadlift is usually considered the lower
back, however it does work most of the major
(and many of the minor) muscles in the body.
The Deadlift is extremely useful for
building muscle mass and total body strength
because of the great amount of muscle mass it
Here are a few
tips to remember as you are deadlifting.
up to a loaded barbell. Place your
feet slightly less than shoulder-width
apart and crouch down with the bar
touching your shins.
the bar with either a palms-down grip
or a mixed grip (one hand palm-up,
the other palm down) just outside
this point, your legs should be bent
at 90 degrees or less, your back should
be straight (do not hunch over), your
head should be vertical and your eyes
should be looking straight or slightly
the movement by straightening your
legs (standing up).
the bar clears your knees, straighten
your back until you are standing vertical
with the weight.
should essentially be dragging the
bar up your shins and legs in order
to keep the weight as close to your
body as possible.
minimizes torque on your lower back.
the weight slowly and repeat.
to squeeze your glutes hard throughout
- Squeeze the
bar off the floor - don't snatch at it.
- Keep looking
straight forward as you lift. It is not
necessary to look way up nor is it a good
idea to look down.
lead with your head and shoulders to maintain
a flat back.
- Keep off
Errors for the Deadlift:
Allowing the back to round over
try to keep an arch in your lower back.
It is natural for a little rounding to
occur after the bar has cleared your knees
but if you do the entire exercise with
a rounded back, you are going to get hurt.
one side of the bar comes up higher or
if the bar starts rotating as you are
lifting, then you are lifting unevenly.
To remedy this, make sure your grip is
even on the bar. Using a mixed grip can
cause rotation as you lift so be sure
to pull up evenly.
back at the top
not lean back at the top of the movement.
This could relax the erector spinae and
make the spine take the whole load, leading
to injury. Leaning back at the top does
not constitute a full range of motion.
4. Holding your breath
hold your breath during the movement as that can
increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Dropping the weight
forget the negative portion of this movement.
Don't just drop the weight. Lower it slowly. The
negative is an extremely valuable part of the
for the Deadlift:
The mixed grip
grip (one hand facing forward, one hand
facing back) is better for a stronger
grip as it prevents the bar from rolling.
which hand grips which way to prevent
strength and muscle imbalances
- Be sure
you grip evenly if you do use a mixed
- If you
find the weight swinging to one side
excessively, adjust your grip spacing
- The side
it is rotating to is usually closer
to the center of the bar though this
could also depend on which way you are
bar usually has a tendency to rotate
towards the hand that has a pronated
grip (palms back).
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