The Ultimate V-Building Workout
Your back helps you stand tall and look lean better than any other muscle zone does. Carve your torso into perfect shape with 3 hard-hitting workouts
By: Myatt Murphy & Scott Rankin C.S.C.S. 3 Things You Don't Know About Your Back DOWNLOAD THIS WORKOUT TO YOUR iPOD!! 1. Building your back can torch your belly fat. That's because the more muscle you train, the hotter your fat furnace burns. And there are no larger muscles than the latissimus dorsi, a.k.a. the lats. Master the pullup to bolster these muscles fast. 2. Your arms will lift more weight than the larger back muscles if you let them. For a better back workout, initiate rowing movements by squeezing your shoulder blades back. Then think about pulling the weight with your elbows, not your hands. 3. Anytime you train your back or chest, or even sit at your desk, your lats become stiff. Since these muscles attach to your spine and wrap around to your ribs, they're used in most upper-body activities. Stretch your lats every day to stay loose. Pick Your Plan 3 Workouts for Custom Results The Record-Breaking Pullup Circuit Raise your personal best in pullups by three to five reps in 4 weeks, using a technique that emphasizes the lowering portion of the lift. It's a simple way to build the largest muscles of your back--your lats. How it works: Do as many pullups  as you can. (If you can't complete a single rep, go to the next step.) Without resting, use a bench to hop up to the bar, and then lower yourself to a count of 10. That's one rep. Do three reps total, then perform the seated close-grip row  for 12 reps. Rest 60 to 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit twice. Try this 3 days a week, resting for at least a day between sessions. The Tall-and-Mighty Combo Shoring up your lower-back muscles, rear shoulders, and middle trapezius will instantly improve your posture. These two moves can do the trick. How it works: At the start or end of your workout, perform the Swiss-ball back extension  and cable scapular retraction . Do two sets of 10 to 15 reps for each move, resting 60 seconds between sets. Complete this routine one to three times a week. The Big-Muscle Flex Plan Mix and match your moves every time you use this routine, for new challenges and fresh workouts. This variety means you'll be more likely to stick to your training program. How it works: Start with either the dumbbell single-arm row  or barbell bent-over row . Do three sets of 12 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Then do either the seated wide-grip row  or the seated close-grip row . Again, do three sets of 12, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Finish with a "drop set" of lat pulldowns --that is, complete 10 reps with the most weight you can handle. Without resting, reduce the weight and do 10 more, then reduce it again for another 10. Do this routine twice a week.
1. Pullup Grab the bar with an overhand grip (palms forward), your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Hang with your arms fully extended. Pull yourself up over the bar, and then slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
2. Dumbbell Single-Arm Row Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand and left knee on a bench. Hold the weight with your arm straight. Use your upper-back muscles to pull the dumbbell up and back toward your hip. Pause, then slowly lower the weight. Pull the weight up so your elbow passes your torso.
3. Barbell Bent-Over Row Stand holding a barbell with an overhand grip, your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and bend forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Draw the bar toward your rib cage. Pause, then lower the bar. Maintain a slight bend in your knees throughout the movement.
4. Seated Wide-Grip Row Sit on a bench or the floor and bend forward to grab the lat-pulldown bar from a low pulley cable. Using a wide overhand grip, pull the bar toward your midsection. Resist the weight as you extend your arms back out in front of you. Keep your back straight as you pull the bar to your abs.
5. Cable Scapular Retraction Attach a bar to a low pulley cable. Sit on a bench or the floor and grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Without bending your elbows, pull your shoulder blades back as far as you can and squeeze them together. Return to the start. This is a slight movement. The bar should move back only a few inches.
6. Swiss-Ball Back Extension Lie facedown on a Swiss ball and push your feet against a wall or hook them under a bench. Your chest should be off the ball. Cross your arms and bend forward at the waist until your midsection covers the ball. Then raise your torso up off the ball. Your torso should be in line with your lower body at the top of the move.
7. Seated Close-Grip Row Attach a V-handle to a low pulley cable and sit on a bench or the floor. Grab the handle and hold it with your palms facing each other. Pull the handle toward your midsection, and then slowly straighten your arms back out in front of you. Staring straight ahead will help you keep your back straight.
8. Lat Pulldown Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your head and back straight, pull your shoulder blades down, and then pull the bar to your chest. Let the bar rise. Keep your elbows pointed down as you pull the bar toward you.
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