Kai Greene talks about the Magical Back Exercise

Posted on 30 Jun 2015 22:24

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Kai Greene recently put up a very down-to-earth statement on the official MuscleMeds Facebook page and I want to weigh in on that.

There are some plus points to this anatomical post.

You can check out the original post out HERE or you can view the status update below:

Kai has touched upon two very important points in his post. What he has written about feeling the movements in your lats, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, and muscles of the back is very impractical because there is no way you can isolate each of these muscles but at the same time the overall theme is correct: you should feel or try to mentally connect to the muscles being worked. Now, having said that, because it was foremost on my mind when I read these anatomy terms, let me discuss the two highlights:

Attacking the Back using various exercises

Although I am far from being a bodybuilder, even from a strength training perspective, developing a big strong back is critical to lifting big weights. What Kai has said about there being no magical back exercise is right on the money. You can’t just do one back exercise and every single back exercise has a benefit. From dumbbell rows to barbell rows to deloaded rows to regular rows to Facepulls to machine rows, to cable rows, to high to low rows or low to high rows, to lat pulldowns to pull-ups to weighted pull-ups – all of these are “good” for the back. Some of them are better than others but there is no one single exercise that trumps them. Remember: we are discussing the back. We are not discussing the best supportive exercise for the deadlift. While we are on topic, Eric had made me do a Row Medley a while ago and I think it’s a great tool to use to get strong and big. You go from a low repetition exercise to high reps.

  • Choose one between dumbbell or barbell rows
  • Choose one between machine or cable rows
  • Choose one between facepulls or dumbbell upright rows

So you have three exercises and you go from doing sets of 3-5 reps on dumbbell or barbell rows to sets of 8-12 reps on machine or cable rows to sets of 20-30 reps on facepulls or upright rows.

You can do the same method for back width type exercises like pull-ups, lat pulldowns, unilateral lat pulldowns, etc.

Thinking on your feet

There are people who like to plan their workouts to the finest detail. They have excel spreadsheets, a proper game plan and fine print of what they need to be doing and they take these spreadsheets with them to the gym every workout. But what happens if something goes wrong? What if you run of energy all of a sudden? What if a planned good workout suddenly goes bad? What if a weight that should be really easy suddenly feels heavy as hell and god forbid what if you fail? It is game over for these highly programmed individuals.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned while getting stronger is to have a game plan in my mind but to let performance dictate what I should do. This doesn’t mean I’m one of those “reactive training” people who is overly tuning into his feelings because my feelings will limit me in getting stronger. What I do mean is that while a game plan is required, it cannot be a set of rules. It has to be a bunch of guidelines and I have learned to make adjustments based on what happens on the floor. Thinking on my feet is crucial to progressing.

Kai Greene has brought up some really good points in his post and I think more people should apply these practical improvisations to their training.

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