Gay Fitness: Building Your Back
Q: Should I be doing wide-grip or close-grip movements to build the muscles in my back?
A: You should be doing both because your grip (wide versus close) together with the type of movement, affects which part of your back is trained.
Many guys focus on the "vanity muscles" - the chest, biceps and triceps - and fail to build the muscles of their back, leading to an imbalance which leaves you with slumped shoulders and poor posture.
Your back is comprised of several muscles including the large, triangular-shaped trapezius muscles (or traps) in your upper back, the rhomboids which lie beneath them, two large muscles on the outer edges called the latissimus dorsi (or lats for short) , and the erector spinae in your middle and lower back.
Generally speaking, the lats are emphasized when a wide grip is used in exercises such as the Lat Pull-down and Pull-ups. When you use a close-grip, you tend to emphasize the rhomboids and traps as your elbows remain close to your body. If you want to create a "V" shaped torso, incorporating wide-grip Lat Pull-downs into your routine is a must.
Use a variety of exercises (movements), angles and grips to effectively hit all the muscles of the back. Some of the best exercises include the Lat Pull-down, Seated Cable Row, Bent-Over Barbell Row, Straight-Arm Pull-down and Reverse Cable Flye.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Raspberry Almond Power Shake
1 scoop protein powder
1 cup almond milk
½ cup raspberries (or substitute other berries)
½ cup ice
Mix in blender until creamy!
Protein: 26 grams
Carbs: 20 grams
Fat: 5 grams
EXERCISE OF THE WEEK: REVERSE-GRIP BARBELL CURL
If you are on a quest for huge arms, add this often overlooked exercise to your arsenal.
Standing feet shoulder width apart, pick up a barbell with an overhand grip. 1) Keeping your elbows close to your side, curl the barbell up towards your head until your forearms are vertical. 2) Lower the barbell until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.