What is a Christmas tree lower back?
The Christmas tree lower back is a bodybuilding slang used to describe very lean lower spinal erectors around the lumbar area. When the fat around the lower back is reduced to a minimum and the lower back is ripped, the are looks a little bit like a Christmas tree.
The term Christmas tree lower back emerged in the 70s thanks to IFBB pro Sammir Bannout who brought back conditioning to a new level.
What does it take to have a Christmas tree lower back?
By definition to achieve a Christmas tree lower back you need well developed spinal erectors and very low body fat. In simpler words – you need mass and leanness. However, it’s not that easy – especially for natural bodybuilders.
When you are a natural bodybuilder getting super lean (5 % body fat) is very hard and most athletes fail to maintain that condition for any longer than two weeks. On top of that when you are a natural bodybuilder you will lose a lot of muscle mass to get that lean regardless of how “perfect” and “scientifically proven” your diet is. Most true natural bodybuilders don’t look very impressive after a diet because they lose a lot of fullness. Steroids users have similar problems too, but they have more muscle mass to begin with and it’s not as obvious – especially to the untrained eye. With that being said the principles for natural bodybuilders who want to have Christmas tree lower back are the same – build thick spinal erectors and get lean, very lean.
Which are the best exercises to develop the spinal erectors?
It truly depends on your situation but in general the exercises that will target that area brutally hard are weighted hyper-extensions and good old deadlifts. If you are doing deadlifts specifically to develop your back, it’s recommended to stick with the conventional version instead of the sumo because it places more stress on your lower back. The hyper-extensions are there to add some volume and target that area specifically.
How do I get lean enough for my Christmass Tree lower back to show?
This is a very controversial subject. However, there are rules that everybody will agree one. First, reduce the junk food you eat. Don’t become a health freak! Always eating broccoli and chicken will be very hard on you mentally. You don’t need to always eat clean, just 90% of the time is enough.
As far as diet is concerned, we recommend that you stick low to moderate carb diets. They are more effective for natural bodybuilders who don’t have the luxury to use muscle elixirs.
Note: As a natural bodybuilder you cannot build muscle and lose body fat at the same time. That’s why trying to develop your spinal erectors and get super lean at the same time will not work. First build the muscle mass and then slowly and progressively reduce your body fat levels.