Back Workout Tips for Size (HARDGAINER EDITION!)


JEFF: What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. The Hardgainer Series continues. This time we’re hitting the back. Jessie’s here again. Don’t stare a hole in the camera. Be careful. What we want to do is we want to show you
the different things that I really want to focus on. Anybody that has a hard time building their
back, there are certain things you need to focus on. We’re going to go station by station to give
you the best of what you need to know. Right here, the lat pulldown is a great place
to start for a lot of different reasons. Jessie, go ahead and grab the bar. You can change the orientation of your body. You can change the grip width on the bar. You can change whether or not you’re doing
an overhand, or an underhand grip. All of these things will have a different
impact on the area of the back you’re working and that is what we need to do. Remember, hard gainers; mind-muscle connection. We need to develop it. Jessie, go ahead and start pulling down. This is a classic, to the front, upright,
pulldown where he’s going to focus on trying to pull in here with the lat squeezing. And of course – slow down – pull down,
but slow down. He’s got a hook grip on the bar over there
because he’s not trying to squeeze here and get involvement of the forearms, or biceps. He’s trying to squeeze with the lats. Go ahead. Come back up and squeeze. Pull down. There you go. So he’s squeezing and pulling the elbows down,
and into his sides with his elbows a little bit in front of his body to get that arm in
that scapular plane. Go ahead and rest for a second. The next thing he could do is go underhand,
or overhand. So if he goes underhand I know that I could
get him to get a better lat contraction and feel because we’re getting a better pre-stretch
of the muscle in front of our body. When the elbow is out here it’s a better stretch
on our lat. So go ahead and pull down, and then it’s a
nice stretch at the top, and pull down, and squeeze. Okay, so I want him to be able to do that. The next thing is, the other muscles in the
back; the upper back. We can get more teres major, which is up here
under the armpit, and then the upper back muscles up here by focusing on the grip width
– go ahead, Jessie. Get a wide grip, which is going to hit more
of the teres major. As we come down you’ll see this area of his
back work. Right here. Right there. We can actually point muscles out on Jessie
now, which is great. You feel that in this area? So again, more of that and then we can narrow
up just a little bit on the bar, but lean back just a little bit. As soon as Jessie leans back, now because
the target of the bar is going more toward his upper chest you can see now that we’re
working a lot more of these upper back, here. Thanks, Jessie. So the idea is to use this in all different
variations, in all different ways, in all different grip widths to feel the muscles
working and make sure that you have a good mind-muscle connection. The next thing we try to do is correct this
common mistake that a lot of us do, especially when we’re early to training, which is over
involvement of the biceps when we’re doing pulling exercises. So we’re going to head over here to the one-armed
row. All right, the one-armed row is a great opportunity
to help fix one of these compensation issues: the over involvement of the biceps when doing
pulling exercises. Jessie, let’s do a one-armed row. So with a one-armed row, what you see people
do most commonly is, they know they’ve got to get the dumbbell up to here somewhere. So what happens? They go, and they row. And they row. And they hammer curl. And they hammer curl. Right? Basically, Jessie is hammer curling this thing
up to the top, which is a lot of involvement of the bicep. But we know that if you want to get the lat
to work this elbow has to get behind the body. Now he wants to try to keep it as close as
he can to his side here, maintaining good posture through his spine, but he needs to
get it behind his body, into extension. So what I tell him to do is, imagine there’s
a brace on your elbow, and imaginary brace that basically stops your elbow at 90 degrees. Once it gets to 90, then you focus on pulling
the arm back, behind the body the rest of the way. So down, you can get a nice stretch by allowing
the arm to actually float in front of you, for the same reason that the underhand grip
on the pulldown gave you a good stretch. But from here you pull 90, and then lock it
up, and let the rest of it go into extension behind your body. So again, good back position. There you go. Then you can get a little bit of a pre-stretch
on the lat by going there. You can even see it. now as he pulls up and he pulls until about
90, imaginary, it’s locked, and then it’s pulling tight, to his side, and then behind
his body. Okay, down. Up. And pull. There you go. So you’ve got to have the ability to lock
it up at 90, and then get behind the body. Remember, try to keep it as tight to your
side as you can. There you go. Just like that. So remember, get the biceps out of the exercise
as much as you can. They’re, of course, going to work because
you’re flexing your elbow, but you don’t want them to dominate the movement because
your back will never get to work. Next thing we need to do if we’re going to
get the gains we should be as hard gainers, is you’ve got to train through failure, not
just “to” failure. We use the pullup as a great way to do that. Okay, so now the pullup gives us the opportunity
to, not just train to failure, but learn how to train through failure. This is the big thing you want to switch up,
though. Most people will go to a pullup bar and let’s
say they do only one, or two, or three. They don’t do a lot of pullups. They might use an assisted – first of all
they might skip the exercise altogether, which is a major mistake. This is one of the best exercises to build
into your program to build that base, and to start getting bigger off that base. You need to do pullups and they’ll go with
an assisted option, with a band, but they’ll start with that and say “Well, I know assisted
I can do maybe 10, 11, 12. A more respectable number of pullups.” But that’s not helping in the long run. What I need him to do – and everybody out
there watching – is more pullups. So I want to see how many full, unassisted
pullups you can do. Whether it be one, or two it doesn’t matter. You do those to failure first, then you step
into the band, and then you rep out to failure again, doing as many assisted as you can because
ultimately, the goal is to get you to do more unassisted pullups. So do them, as many as you can because otherwise,
if you just focus on the assisted pullups every rep you did there was assisted. I don’t know how many you could do without
the assistance there for you. So we need to build up the actual exercise. So we wrap the band around the bar here, we
get it out of the way, Jessie starts with the pullups, he goes full. Let’s say he could do three. I know you’re a machine now, Jessie, but let’s
say you can do three. Okay, so on the third one he’s done. Go ahead. He immediately steps in here, gets in, now
he’s got – as quickly a transition as he can make here – he now goes into his assisted
pullup. This particular band here takes about 60lbs
off his bodyweight. Which, for Jessie puts him at -20. He’s not. That’s not true. Go ahead. Keep going. All right. So he goes all the way to failure there. Good job. He goes all the way to failure and that’s
his set. So you want to make sure that you’re doing
the same thing. Focus on getting the full ones, even if it’s
just one, and build off of that. That way you’re going to start getting stronger. I guarantee you, your pullup number will go
up. The last component here we always talk about
in these hard gainer videos is, at some point we still need you to train heavy. We need to incorporate exercises that allow
you to do it safely by allowing muscle groups to work together. For me, the perfect option is the barbell
dead row. Okay, now we wrap it up again with a barbell
dead row, which gives us the opportunity to use a compound exercise. We’re going to use a little bit of legs. We’re going to tie it into the upper body,
but it allows us to do a couple things. Two birds with one stone. The deadlift is a great exercise. It should be part of any hard gainer’s routine. It’s a classic, functional exercise you need
to get better at. We can do the deadlift and we can do the row
together. It’s called the dead row. With the barbell dead row, Jessie’s going
to demonstrate it here. I’ll coach him from over here. Some keys you want to focus on: you are allowed
to load the bar up with more than what you might do with a strict barbell row. Maybe if you’re just starting out, your only
strict barbell rowing 65lbs, 95lbs; it doesn’t matter. Here, we can load it up a little bit more
and still get a great pull from it. So Jessie, get in position. He’s going to basically use his legs like
a deadlift to the level of his knee. He’s pushing through his legs. At this level, here, his back is in good position. Here, he rows up to the top. Go ahead, row. Yep. Yep, there you go. So he rows all the way back down to the ground. So deadlift up, boom, row, all the way down. And up, row, and down. Now it’s explosive. Good. One more. Good. So he’s able to move more weight, overload
the lats, eccentrically have to control the bar on the way down, and in the process, build
more muscle. So guys, there’s different purposes to each
of the exercises that we put in the routine. This is not the only workout Jessie does. As a matter of fact, those that – go ahead,
show them the guns. Show them everything. Everybody’s been – don’t get carried away
– everybody’s been commenting on how he’s been building muscle and he absolutely has. There’s no mystery here. There’s no secrets. Yes, he has my ability to coach him, but I’m
literally coaching him with the same, exact programs we have at ATHLEANX. I’m trying to make Jessie be every man. He represents everybody who ever struggled
to put on weight. He’s our resident hard gainer, but he represents
all of us. As a matter of fact, I said “I came from the
same shoes, guys.” I, myself, struggled throughout my early years
to really put on any appreciable muscle until I learned how to do it more intelligently,
and that’s what we’re trying to bring here, to this channel all the time. Again, if you find this video series helpful
make sure you leave your comments and thumbs up below. In the meantime, if you’re looking to start
making the gains like Jessie, here, head to ATHLEANX.com and get one of our ATHLEANX programs
specifically suited to your needs. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful, again, leave your comments and thumbs up. Anything else you want me to cover, I’ll do
that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon. JESSIE: By the way, it was -10, not 20. JEFF: That’s true. That is true. JESSIE: -10. JEFF: My math was a little bit off. All right, see you!

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