It’s another workout of the week! This workout focuses on the pulling muscles and core. That means lats, rhomboids (middle back), erector spinae (lower back), biceps, and the abdominal complex.
Tips for Training Mindfully
When working with my clients, I have found that the back is one of the hardest to train with regard to neuromuscular connection. Basically, it’s really easy to just go through the motions and not train the intended muscle. Those pictures on the machines are there for a reason, guys! If the highlighted muscle on the picture is not where you are feeling the exercise, stop and adjust (physically and mentally).
The best tip for pull days that I can give is this: “It’s all about the elbows!” When doing back exercises, think of pulling toward your back with your elbows, not your wrists, and you should find that you have greater lat/rhomboid engagement. When you are doing a bicep movement, your elbow is the only hinge that should be active. Not your shoulder, your hips, your back…just your elbow. Again, the idea here is to create a mind-muscle connection to mentally allow you to better isolate your biceps.
My last tip – choose the right weight! Signs you’re overweighted:
- You have to work hard just to keep the lat bar from pulling you out of the seat at the top of the movement – too much weight!
- Bending your arms in the strait arm pull down to complete the move – too much weight.
- Swinging your hips and/or lower back to get a dumbbell up into a bicep curl – too much weight!
The bottom line: don’t let your ego get the best of you. Having the proper form to engage the intended muscle(s) and not rely on other muscles that can cause injury should be your #1 priority.
- Exercises: 12 (4 circuits of 3 exercises)
- Rep Range: 12-15
- Rest Period: 45-60 second between circuits, 0 rest between exercises within a circuit
- Approximate Training Time: 40 minutes
Circuit 1: Lat and Ab Focused
Note: all of the following exercises were designed to be performed at the lat pulldown station to allow for minimal rest.
- WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN – 3×12
- STRAIT ARM PULLDOWN – 3×15
**This is one that you really have to concentrate on pulling down with your lats. That’s why I chose higher volume for these. Higher reps and lower weight will allow you to be able to achieve neuromuscular efficiency a little easier. When done properly, it’s a great isolation movement. Adding these right after the wide grip pulldown gets a really good pump.
- BENCH CRUNCHES – 3×15
**For these you will raise the leg pad at the lat pulldown station as high as it will go. Facing the usual direction, sit down, place your knees over the pad and tuck your toes under the bar in front of the weight stack. Put your hands behind your head and use as much range of motion as your can. This creates a position where you can do free-form crunches. It’s almost as if you’re on the decline bench or stability ball. If you don’t fit properly on the bench in this position, use either of those two options.
Circuit 2: Rhomboid and Ab Focused
Note: all of the following exercises were designed to be performed at the seated row station to allow for minimal rest.
- SEATED CABLE ROW – 3X12
- SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL ROW – 3X10 (per side)
- BENCH TUCKS – 3X15
**This is called a lot of different things. Click the link to go to a video if you’re unsure.
Circuit 3: Lats, Bicep and Ab Focused
- STANDING HAMMER CURL – 3X12 (per side)
- DECLINE BARBELL PULLOVER – 3X12
** Doing this at a decline really forces you to engage your back more than your chest as it does when you’re flat. I recommend starting with a lighter weight to really focus on mind-muscle connection.
- REVERSE DECLINE LEG RAISE – 3X12
Circuit 3: Bicep and Lower Back Focused
- DRAG CURLS – 3X12
**This one is another mental challenge for you! Instead of curling the bar forward, your are dragging the bar in a strait line, up your body. This is done by bringing your elbows back. I like this one a lot because it eliminates the hip and back swing that a lot of people like to add to their biceps moves when overweighted. This one isolates the bicep a bit better and is a favorite of mine!
- PREACHER CURLS – 3X12
- WEIGHTED HYPEREXTENSIONS – 3X15
Let me know below if you have tried this workout and what your thoughts were. If you snap any gym selfies for IG, please tag up with #eatwellliftwell
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