bane back workout

How to Build a V Shape: Back Training

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” Les Brown
bane back workout

Perfection is what we’re after with the Be Legendary site, Fan Page, and Program. We know we’re not going to attain everyone’s idea of perfection. But we might attain ours. Achieving our own physical perfection doesn’t exist in constructing a body without flaws. It lies in constructing a physique that gives us confidence.

Confidence that transfers from one area of our lives to every single other aspect of our existence. To business, relationships, and our ability to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations that are way outside of our comfort zone. This is why we train. We train to be legendary

Last time I talked about the role shoulders play into us building this ideal male physique: the V Shape. Today we’ll talk about what is arguably the most important piece to this puzzle (and it is a puzzle), the back.

To fully develop our back we can’t simply focus on the latissimus dorsi (lats). The back muscle that gets the most attention and focus when training. There’s also the teres minor, teres major, and the trapezius (traps). While the lats are the biggest muscle in our back, each muscle group needs attention and training to build the ideal shape, power, and muscle that we’re going to build.

In short, this means we’re not just doing chin-ups and rows – although both are very important to back development, and not just in regards to the lats. We’re going to hit the back from very different angles and with unique movements. In this article I’ll show you a few. Then next week we’ll have a look at a few more.

The Lats

The lats are a very big muscle. One of the biggest in our body. There’s the upper/outer part of the muscle, that wraps around and fashions right above our obliques at the lower part of the muscle. Closer grips on chin-ups will work the lower part of the muscle, while wider grips will work the upper part of the muscle.

The upper aspect of the muscle gets the most attention, because, yes, it’s a big part of our “V”. But to truly develop a V, we need to develop the lower part of the muscle as well.

For the lats we’ll focus on 3 exercises. Each of these exercises are compound movements, meaning they’re going to work multiple muscle groups, with the main focus being on the lats. In the case of the sternum chin-up, it’s also a great exercise for the mid-trap. The snatch grip bent-over row is a great exercise for the upper/outer trap and teres muscles.

Watch the following video, then have a look at the description for 3 of the exercises below.

Lat Squeeze

It can also be called a cable lat pulldown. But the angle from which you’re pulling the weight is very unique. You’re pulling from either side giving your lats a unique look. Lean back slightly when performing this exercise. The more you lean back, the more you’ll bring your traps into the exercise.

Sternum Chin-up

This exercise is great to build thick lats. You start off like a normal pull-up, but as you pull yourself up you change the angle, bringing your sternum so it’s parallel to the ceiling. Your back will also be parallel to the floor.

Snatch Grip Bent-Over Row

The snatch grip is where your hands are placed wide at either end of the bar. It’s a unique grip that will help build breadth in the shoulders and traps. The form is the same as a bent-over row. You can change the angle and the focus of the exercise to a more trap-dominated one, by standing more upright.

The Traps

The traps are actually quite a long muscle, stretching all the way from the base of our neck, to the mid/lower area of our back. Each area requires a different movement to be trained. The following 3 exercises will help us achieve this full development. As will the exercises in the video below.

Watch the video, and try the workout next time you’re in the gym. Then add the exercises underneath the video into your repertoire as well.

The Snatch

Athletic muscle is better than “good looking” muscle. Or “puffy” muscle. The snatch is a great power exercise used to build explosiveness. It’s also an excellent exercise for trap development. Don’t focus on the traps when performing this exercise. It’s all about lower body explosiveness. The traps will develop on their own simply by doing this exercise correctly.

Inclined Front Raise

The inclined front raise is one of the only exercises we have that words the lower trap. Use a light weight when performing this exercise. It’s all about a slow, effective cadence, and proper form.

Inclined Dumbbell Row

This exercise will help you work the mid-upper trapezius muscle. Squeeze and hold at the top of the lift for a 1-2 second count. Also make sure you fully stretch the muscle when performing this exercise. You need a full range of motion from both the top and the bottom of the lift.

Building a V Shape

Building a V shape isn’t simply about walking into a gym and lifting weights, or building muscle. It takes strategy and it helps to focus on the right muscle groups before moving on to the others. The last two articles have focused on this. Next week we’ll get into how to structure a program specifically designed to help you build that V Shape.

Ask any questions about the exercises below. And if you liked the article SHARE IT – thanks in advance!

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  • http://twitter.com/MichaelRusselll @MichaelRusselll

    Great post Chad, very good video too. Will defo incorporate this into my next Back Day. pity I hate chin ups. haha

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks bro – how'd the workouts go?

  • Spencer

    Great stuff chad! I find pullups very effective as well, seeing as I can do about 22 or maybe 25 if I really push myself (less than perfect form for the last 3 reps).

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      That's a great number! Be proud of that. Not a lot of people can do that many.

  • Danno

    Chad, for the Traps section you did all of the exercises with dumbbells, what are your opinions on doing them with a barbell?