If you go in there and use good form, negatives, and maximum poundage on your working sets, then you will leave the gym spent and with a feeling of accomplishment!
By: Jonathan Deprospo
May 05, 2003

Back training
Without a doubt, the back is one of the hardest body parts to train, next to legs. Not even the fact that it is so energy draining when preformed properly, but the fact that you can’t see your back when training it and that its very hard to focus on when training it. I guarantee that if you went around your gym and asked people if they were satisfied with their back workouts and back pumps you would get many people answering, no.

What Doesn’t Your Back Routine Match Up?

I feel that this is due to a few different reasons. One being that the form they use is downright terrible, I mean I won’t even begin to tell some of the things people do while training back. For back, form is one of the most important aspects, above everything else. I mean its great that you can throw around a 150 for a dumbbell row, but do you even get a pump what so ever after the set? This leads me to one of my most important training principles, NEGATIVES. Do a back workout with out negatives and then try one with them, the difference is incredible.

I personally think people should do 4-6 second negatives on back exercises that allow them. Of course your not going to be able to do negatives that slow on barbell rows, but pull downs, pullovers, machine rows, should defiantly be preformed with slow negatives. Another factor that I feel presents a problem, is that people cannot get the proper concentration to get the most out of the exercise. Training back requires a very high level of concentration on all of the exercises preformed, more so then any other muscle.

How To Incorporate Hardcore Training Principles Into Your Own Workout!

Now, this workout isn’t an exact workout of what you should be doing, it is just merely a reference as to how to incorporate hardcore training principles into your own workout, and to get the most out of your back workouts. Why do a workout and not get anything out of it, and keep doing it over again? You must realize that something must be wrong in you training. I feel that this article will help many readers who are not getting very good results with their current back workouts, and it will help them progress faster, which is the main reason why people workout.

Dumbbell Pullovers – View Exercise

The workout is started with dumbbell pullovers, a few warm-up sets are preformed before the one working set is started. I personally really like using dumbbell pullovers as the first exercise, mostly due to the fact that it loosens up you back and stretches out you upper body. On the one working set I use a 120 lb. dumbbell and use 4-6 second negatives, towards the end of the set my partner will also give me a few forced reps, for a total of 8. After this set, my upper lats are pumped and I’m ready to really start getting into the workout.

Lat Pull Downs – View Exercise

The next exercise that is done is lat pull downs using a wide grip, but not going down to the kinked part. Usually two warm up sets are done prior to the working set, which is a triple drop with negatives. The pin is put around 190-200, this is only done for 3-4 reps with 6 second negatives, the weight is then dropped to 150 and another 5-6 reps are cranked out, the weight is again lowered to 120 and the final set of 8 reps is preformed before finishing. This is a very brutal set to say the least, and my back is usually pumped beyond belief after it is done.

The form is strict on this but not overly done, the concentric is usually at a normal speed but the negative is 5-7 seconds, all the while concentrating hard on feeling the lats doing the work. That is probably one of the most important things while training back, FEELING THE REPS.

Dumbbell Row – View Exercise

Now that my overall back is pretty blown out, I usually focus on working the lats individually. I prefer the Hammer Strength row, plus the pics of Nasser and Dorian using it are inspiring. One warm-up is done prior to the set, which is rest-pause. The set is done using two plates and a 35, and my positioning on the machine is set like a dumbbell row to hit the lats even better. I get 8 reps on the first set, while using a 6 second negative, 4 on the second with the help of my partner, and 3 on the last. After waiting for my partner to do his set, my other is preformed and my lats are blown up beyond belief.

T-bar Row – View Exercise

To finish of the workout we set up a T-bar row in the corner and use the close grip handle. On these T-bar rows I use 35lb. plates to get a deeper stretch. Two strait sets are done using 4 35’s on the first and 5 on the second, with a 4 second negative. On the first set 8-10 reps are preformed, and on the second I get 6. This usually finishes off my back very well. After this workout my back is pumped beyond belief and I can’t physically do anything else but lie down on a bench.

After taking a little break and downing a protein shake, I perform a stretch on the pull-up bar by hanging an 80 lb. dumbbell on my waist and hanging (with wraps, of course) for 45 seconds. I feel this helps a lot, and it also helps to make your back much wider. This also stretches out your joints and forearms, which get very, very pumped at the end of this workout even while using wraps, which everyone should be using while doing a workout like this.

Well, that’s probably one of my favorite back workouts to date, and of course you can always rotate the T-bar with rack dead lifts, which I like to do sometimes. I feel this back workout hits the back from upper to lower, but the most important thing is applying the intensity to the workout. Of course someone can go in and do this workout, or one like it while using lightweight, and really bad form, and get nothing out of it. But if you go in there and use good form, negatives, and maximum poundage on you working sets, then you will leave the gym spent and with a feeling of accomplishment.

The Workout

Exercise Reps Sets Seconds Of Negatives
Dumbbell Pullovers 8 1 4-6
Lat Pull Downs 6, 8 2 6
Dumbbell Row 4, 3 2 6
T-bar Row 10, 8, 6 3 5, 4, 6

How To Get Well-Defined Biceps!

Although a wide range of clients produces a myriad of goals, one theme is common for most that enter the gym…biceps development. Our clients want defined arms that identify them as a person that works out.
By: Diane Fields
Nov 14, 2002


As fitness enthusiasts we have varying goals in our quest towards improving our physiques. Many gym members seek out help to lose weight, while others look to put on muscle mass. The over forty crowd is looking to differentiate themselves from their sedentary counterparts by trying to ward off the ill effects of an inactive lifestyle.

Many lift weights to gain strength for everyday activities and some try to gain strength for powerlifting. Although this wide range of health seekers produces a myriad of goals, one theme is common for most that enter the gym – biceps development. We want defined arms that identify us as a person that works out.

Great Biceps Of The Past!

We can thank many of the Mr. America bodybuilders for developing those coveted biceps muscles, that sets the standard by which we measure our success. John Grimek, Mr. America 1940 and 1941 started popularizing the concept of big guns. “Grimek trained his arms with a wide variety of exercises, a la the Weider Muscle Confusion Training principle.

John would pick 8-12 biceps movements for each workout, and then do only one or two sets of each exercise. Many of his favorite biceps movements were actually indirect arm exercises, movements like chins performed with a narrow reverse grip.” 1

Larry Scott in the 1960s had superior arm development with his upper-arm measuring 21 inches. Scott’s infamous biceps are responsible for the renaming of the biceps exercise, from preacher curls to Scott curls. Biceps once again came to the forefront of resistance training when Richard Baldwin, Mr. USA and Mr. America in the 1970s and 1980s, showed his astounding biceps peaks that were developed using his favorite biceps exercise, concentration curls.

Three sets of Mr. Americas, each possessing a set of award winning biceps muscles, and each using a different method of training. Which one is right? Grimek with the indirect method of training, Scott, with his very own curls, or Baldwin using concentration curls?

They are all right! Each Mr. America is using the most effective method of training biceps because of the Theory of Individual Differences. When designing a workout program, always remember this very important concept.

Due to genetics, nutrition, sleep patterns, stress levels and dedication to the goal, to name just a few variables, each person will respond differently to the stimulus of resistance training. Learn the science behind each method of training and create a program that maximizes your potential.

What Are The Biceps?

The biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis are the major flexor muscles for the elbow joint. These muscles lift the forearm and supinate the hand. Biceps brachii has two heads, a long and short head. Spanning two joints, the elbow and the shoulder joints, the biceps brachii brings flexion and supination to the forearm and allows flexion of the shoulder joint.

Click Image To Enlarge!
Trainers know the biceps muscles are responsible for the movement of the arm at the elbow joint, but it is also important to remember the supination factor. The biceps muscle also rotates the palm, so be sure to incorporate this type of movement into the training program.

The use of an EZ bar for curls or rotating the palms during alternating dumbbell curls is important for biceps development. Charles Poloquin in his book, The Poloquin Principles, discusses the importance of the palms in a variety of positions during biceps training. But, Poloquin discusses that few trainees vary their palm position due to ego. “You normally handle 28-34 percent less in Reverse Curls than you do in Regular Barbell Curls.” 2

Performing Bicep Exercises

While most bodybuilders will have varying opinions on the most efficient biceps exercise, many will agree that you should never sacrifice form for weight. Incorrect form hinders progress because it leads to injury. Low back problems, tennis elbow and biceps tendonitis can become injury factors when improper form is sacrificed to heave heavier weights.

Stand erect when doing biceps exercises. Do not lean back, and heave the weight, because too much momentum will be involved in the lift and clearly, not enough biceps action. Keep your elbows close to your side without lifting up the elbows.

How many times do we see people in the gym lifting their elbows during these biceps movements? When the elbows come up there is a loss in resistance due to gravity. Also, when the elbows come up, full extension is lost, so the bottom of the biceps muscle will not be hit with the movement.

Too few weightlifters in the gym pay attention to wrist position while performing biceps lifts. In order to achieve results from biceps training, emphasis must be kept on this muscle during the lift. But, when the wrist is bent backwards, some emphasis will be taken off the biceps muscle and shifted to the forearms.

Arnold Schwarzenegger further discusses keeping the emphasis on the biceps muscle in a discussion of the line of the hand. “When you do a Curl, you must bring your hand directly up to your shoulder. If you change that line an inch to the inside or the outside, you are taking stress off the biceps and you won’t get the same results.” 3

Training biceps allows for a great variety of exercises using bars, dumbbells, EZ curl bars, cables, machines and Scott benches. The diversity will allow flexibility in program design allowing your client to achieve the maximum results.

Genetics can make a champion bodybuilder, but hard work, careful selection of exercises, and good technique can bring a biceps muscle to its full potential.