Beginners Guide to Back day

Our Guide to an Explosive Back Session

Welcome to Ultimate Fitness, where we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals. In this latest blog post, we’re diving into the beginner’s guide to training your back. With a whopping 20 different back machines at our Birmingham location, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’re here to simplify the process and give you all the information you need.

Your back is comprised of a complex array of muscles, including the rhomboids, teres major, spinal erectors, and lats. To effectively target all these muscles, you need a variety of movements. For beginners, we’re focusing on one pull-down movement and two rowing movements.

At Ultimate Fitness, we host a variety of Hammer Strength, Prime Fitness, Cybex and Precor equipment, known for their quality and effectiveness. While the exercises listed in this article are tried and true, feel free to mix it up based on your preferences. These are simply recommendations based on our years of experience and expertise in the field.

Remember, the key is consistency and proper form. Stick to your routine and you’ll see results in no time. Let’s simplify your back training and get you on the path to success.

Hammer Strength ISO Row at Ultimate Fitness Birmingham Gym in the Midlands

Lat Pull Down

For the Lat Pulldown exercise, we’ll begin with a straight bar using a slightly wider than medium grip. This serves as a great warm-up, targeting the lats, shoulders, and biceps. Focus on maintaining a slight arch in your back as you drive the bar down, ensuring it touches your chest with each rep. Squeeze your shoulder blades together for a one-second contraction at the end of each repetition, and remember to stretch your lats at the top of the movement. Start with a light weight for 10 reps, gradually increasing by 20% for subsequent sets while maintaining 10 reps each time.

Hammer Strength Pull Down Machine

If the lat pull down is unavailable or you prefer a variation, this machine offers a different approach. Utilize an underhand grip and adjust the seat to ensure proper stretching and full range of motion. Control the movement with a two-second negative phase, focus on a one-second contraction at the bottom, and aim for 10 reps per set, increasing the weight incrementally by 20% for each set.

Machine Rows

For machine rows, we’ll use the Cybex row machine for today’s workout. Ensure the seat and pads are adjusted for a full stretch and proper positioning. Pull the handles toward your torso, extending your arms fully, then drive your elbows back while squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of each repetition. Maintain a smooth tempo, emphasizing a two-second negative phase and a one-second contraction. Aim for 10 reps per set, increasing the weight by 20% for each subsequent set.

Low Cable Row

The Low Cable Row offers a versatile alternative to the Cybex row, providing an effective back workout with ease of setup. Simply adjust the pin to the desired weight on the low pulley, and you’re ready to go. One of the notable features of this machine is the ability to change handles, allowing you to customize your grip. Similar to the lat pull down, you can opt for a close, medium, or wide grip based on your preference.

For simplicity, let’s focus on a close grip today. Like the Cybex row, aim for three sets of ten reps. Start with a lighter weight for your first set to acquaint yourself with the movement, then progressively increase the weight by 20% for subsequent sets. Push yourself on the final set to reach your maximum effort and truly challenge your muscles.

Position yourself in the centre of the machine with your legs fixed in a slightly bent position. Pull the handle towards your stomach, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together with each repetition. Maintain a smooth motion, allowing for a full stretch in the lats as you extend your arms. Remember to keep your chest out and shoulders back for proper form.

The Grip is Key

Now, regarding grip width, there’s often a misconception that wider grips lead to wider lats. In reality, medium grips offer the best of both worlds, targeting various areas of the back effectively. After completing your lat pull downs, incorporating two types of rows is recommended for beginners. Machine rows, like the Low Cable Row, are convenient to set up and provide a solid workout without the hassle of adjusting weights or bars.

So, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned gym-goer, the Low Cable Row is a valuable addition to your back routine. Focus on maintaining proper form, gradually increasing weight, and challenging yourself to reach your fitness goals.

Take a look at our YouTube Channel for some great in-depth guides to training.

We have released a fantastic beginner guide to back, featuring some of the Hammer Strength Back equipment, take a look here.

First Published: 16th April 2024