MrMary Pumps Iron: Tuesday 11/20/2012 — Back Workout

One of the more complex and difficult set of muscles to work out is the back. When I think about working out my back I think immediately of a specific set of muscles: rear delts, traps, lats, spinal erectors, rhomboid, and who can forget the teres minor and major. Working out the back for me is a two part thing. I have to address both the thickness and width to get a back worthy of talking about, Before hand I did a lot of exercises which targeted much more thickness than width. Now I want to address both and be more balanced in my development. I had a girlfriend who used to discourage me from working out especially my traps and upper back. She wanted me to have that Abercrombie and Fitch look.

The V taper

In particular I am working out to get a more pronounced V-taper. What is a V-taper. I have taken the image of Steve Reeves to illustrate. I was impressed by his physique as a kid when I saw him in as Hercules. An impressive V taper is the mark of a seasoned Bodybuilder.  Basically your upper Body is much wider than your waist.  In addition to working your back there has to be much work done on your shoulders, in particularly the lateral head of the deltoid and of course a  decent amount of ab work too.

The Work Out

This is just the preliminary workout to get me on track  before I advance to something more complex let me walk you through it.

  • Pullups
  • Lat Pull Downs
  • Hammer Strength close grip pull down
  • Upright rows
  • Single Arm bent over rows (cable)

Pullups (4 sets)

I did 4 sets assisted. Two sets as wide as possible palms facing away from me. The thumb is not wrapped around the bar the hands are like a hook and really loose. I made sure to do 20 total. The other two sets I did palms facing me thumbs wrapped over the bars shorter than shoulder width. There are many different types of pull ups. I did basically in terms of technical names the narrow grip chin-up and a wide grip pullup. I wanted to engage my lats with the first 2 sets and engage my arms in the second two sets. I wanted a nice warm up of all the muscles I would be using and working on this day. The following is a great video on pullup showing all the amazing varietions of a simple but amazingly effective exercise:

LatPull Down-  6 sets

First three sets underhanded close grip, last three sets widest possible grip pull downs. Close-grip pull downs work on the lower lats  and they really work your biceps. Over-handed lat pulldown really work your upper lats and teres major. hey help widen your lats more so than underhanded  close grip pull downs

Hammer Strength close grip pull down

I love this exercise. It has helped me out a lot once I learned how to use it correctly. This works lower lats and add thickness . I did 3 sets I tried to keep the rep in the 10+ range. I worked up to 3 plates and though I usually can squeeze out some reps with 4 plates decided not to. I wanted to keep this work out moderate so I did in the 10+  rep range.

One Arm Cable Rows with  Upright Row

I supersetted one arm cable rows with upright rows. For upright rows I used 45 plates and did as much as I could do each rep. It was all kinds of great.


I’m leaning towards splitting up back into two separate days one to work on width and another to work on thickness. I want to incorporate bent over rows, more deadlifts, etc





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