Bodybuilding Tips For More Productive Back Workouts

| by Truth Seeker |

Today’s post presents tips designed to make your back training more productive.

I can’t breath when I do heavy chest supported rows. What now?

The chest supported row is a decent exercise that trains the rear musculature of the upper body without stressing the lower back. This property makes the movement useful when you want to preserve your lower back for big movements like squats and deadlifts. The lower back recovers slowly due to its poor blood supply, and that’s a good enough reason to take some precautions.

When the weight gets really heavy, however, the chest and the lungs are compressed. This makes breathing difficult, especially when the resistance is challenging, and you need more oxygen. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix. This peculiarity is simply a side effect. You may have to cut the exercise from your program. Below are a few alternatives.

Head Supported Rows

The head supported row minimizes the stress on the lower back, albeit not as much as the chest supported row. However, you can breathe freely.

Note: Place a clean towel on the bench to avoid acne breakouts. You don’t want to infect your forehead and get pimples all over the place. If you have a big hoodie, you can pull it over your head to cover your forehead. Wearing a hat is another option.

One Arm Hammer Strength Rows

The hammer strength machine allows you to do seated chest supported rows. This row variation reduces the stress on the chest and makes it easier for the ribcage to expand. To facilitate the breathing process even further, you could perform the exercise with one arm at a time while placing the resting hand on the pad as shown in the video above.

One Arm Dumbbell Rows

The one arm dumbbell row is a classic that works. If you do the exercise on a bench, you will greatly reduce the stress on the lower back.

Give Me The Best Rear Delt Exercises!

Wide grip rows to the chest are a very effective exercise for the posterior deltoids. There are many different ways to do this movement. You can use dumbbells, cables, barbells, bodyweight…etc. The main requirement is to pull with a wide grip in order to shift the stress towards the upper back (e,g., mid-trapezius, rhomboids, teres major…etc).

The rings offer an affordable way to do wide grip rows (Bulgarian rows) at home. Notice that the lifter in the video above does not let his elbows drop close to the body and pulls high to the chest. This is a great upper back exercise that will also develop your rear deltoids.

My wrists hurt when I do pull-ups. What now?

Perform Pull-ups With а Thumbless Grip

Wrist pain during pull-ups is often the result of poor joint alignment. A thumbless grip can fix this. When your grab the bar, make sure that the thumb does not wrap against the fingers. Instead, keep it on the side of the other four fingers. This will allow the wrist to align naturally with the elbow. In addition, avoid close grip pull-ups because they also put the wrist in a compromised position.

The gym manager says that my deadlifts make too much noise. Should I do really slow negatives?


Fighting the weight during the negative portion of a deadlift is neither recommended nor very practical. Slow negatives tire your lower back too much. Instead, lower the weight in a controlled manner – not lightning fast, but not in slow motion either.

Another way to minimize the sound is to use rubber plates with the collars locked tight on both sides of the barbell. This will reduce the clashing between the plates while softening the impact.

Alternatively, you could switch to rack pulls for a period of time.

I can’t feel my lats when I do pull-ups. What now?

Developing a mind muscle connection with your lats takes time, but it’s not rocket science.

One option would be to do pull-ups after pullovers. The pullover will isolate the lats as much as possible, and you will feel the back muscle work during pull-ups.

In addition, clean your pull-up technique.

To feel your lats fire during pull-ups, follow these steps.

1. Begin the pull-up from a dead hang.

2. Perform a scapular pull-up.

Each pull-up should start with a scapular pull-up as shown in the video below.

3. Push your chest out and pull.

After performing a scapular pull-up, continue to pull yourself up while trying to push your chest out as much as you can. Imagine that your are pulling through your elbows. For more tips on proper pull-ups, consult this post.

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