• Lou Ferrigno's Tips for a Hulking Back

    *as seen on MuscleandFitness.com*

    [caption id="attachment_12819" align="alignleft" width="300"]Lou_Back_BW A Hulking Back[/caption] There are many muscle groups that are responsible for creating that superhero physique we builders crave, but there is nothing like impressing a crowd, or yourself, when you spread your wings and show off every little detail of a monstrous back. While thickness of the erector spinae muscles are key to a powerful back, it's the development of the lats and all the smaller muscles that add immeasurably to the detail and awe-inspiring sight of a fully-developed back. And in order to achieve that detail, you need proper form. Too often, builders focus on power when building a muscle like those in the back. That's a shame, because all that pain - and maybe even injury - is for nothing. When power wins over form, you'll be disappointed with your results. Here are some tips that will help increase the effectiveness of your next back workout. Learn to pinpoint, isolate, and flex individual muscles. Go to a professional show like the Ferrigno Legacy or flip through a copy of Muscle and Fitness. Look for those physiques that stand out to you because of their symmetry, balance, and detail. Look for that "Christmas Tree" shape in the lower back. Notice how the thick upper back hangs like a balcony over the small waist. Take note of the superhero v-shape of the back formed by the width of the lats. Now flex the areas in your back that you see - tighten, stretch, and flex every area of your back from your spinal erectors to the outside of your lats. Isolate different areas of the back. This is what you should do while training - maximizing each exercise, focusing on individual muscle groups. Learn to pose. To often we get caught up looking at our chest and arms. Time to give your back some mirror time. Set up some mirrors so you can see your back. Practice flexing those muscles you found so impressive in other athlete's backs. Contract and isolate different areas of your back. Experiment with different angles and techniques - everyone's physique is a little different. Focus on form - not weight. [caption id="attachment_12823" align="alignright" width="300"]Lou_Back2 Spend a Little Extra Time #MIRIN[/caption] When I walk into Gold's Venice, I can always tell the amateurs from the pros by the weight they choose. The new guys (and women) are busy exercising their ego as they jerk around weights that are too heavy while the pros are focused on feeling the exact muscles with every rep - slowly and deliberately. As you do any movement, think about flexing those muscles you were practicing to pose earlier. Hit all the angles and grips. Your back is a complex collection of muscles that can be activated from a number of directions. You will have to perform a variety of exercises to assure you've hit every muscle. Give your biceps the day off. View your hands and arms as merely the tools between your back and the weight. Think of a tug-of-war competition. Pulling with your arms will exhaust you quickly and fail to maximize power in the move. When I did ‘Battle of the Network Stars’ there was a tug-of-war competition. Of course, they put me on the end. Other competitors kept slipping and getting tired - all the while using their arms. Maybe it was because Catherine Bach (Dukes of Hazard) was in front of me maybe it was because I put my back into it - regardless, our team won that day. Pay attention to the negative movement. Keep your muscle flexed on the negative portion of the movement, and never let gravity do the work for you. If you are working both the contraction and eccentric parts of the movement, you get twice the workout. I hope gets you a little closer to superhero status. For more tips, check out the related posts below or come to the Ferrigno Legacy this November in Santa Barbara, CA.
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