If you walk into many of the modern fancy gyms—even the ones with free weights—you’ll likely notice that benches, equipment and machines to train the chest outnumber equipment to train the back by at least four-to-one. Part of the reason for this is that many guys today are obsessed with working their chests but pay little attention to everything else, especially the back.
And yet, these same guys complain and wonder why they don’t have the bodies they want. The answer of course is simple—if you want to have a powerful, muscular body, you have to work for it, and that means training all body parts with equal commitment, especially the back.
Properly training the back is well worth the investment. A thick, powerful, well-defined back is a real head-turner. Sadly, a lot of today’s training routines stick with a few perennial favorite back exercises—the pull-up, bent over rows, lat pull-downs and a few others. But now, thanks to a man named Nick Nilsson, you have the opportunity to drive your back training to an entirely new level and in the process, build a back that will turn heads and make jaws drop. His program is called ‘The best back exercises you’ve never heard of.’
Nick has a degree in physical education and psychology, is a personal trainer and a prolific fitness author. He’s also an innovator. Never satisfied with the status quo, Nick says that he has been inventing new training techniques and exercises for more than 17 years. Right from the start I’ll tell you that you won’t run out of exercise options and you’ll never get bored with Nick—this volume has 561 pages, packed with nothing but innovative exercises and routines for building a big, muscular, powerful back. Let’s take a closer look and see what it’s all about.
Even though the book is huge, it only includes two sections—Exercise Indexes and Back Training Tips. One look at the index page and it’s clear that Nick is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He doesn’t waste time with drawn-out introductions, but just dives right into the exercises. They are however, nicely categorized, covering the upper back, middle back, lower back, traps and neck.
The Best Back Exercises book is very well organized. For each section, the exercises are listed alphabetically and include a brief description. To learn more about a particular movement, you just click the bright red “Go!” button to the left. This takes you to the specific page that discusses the movement in detail. The exercise descriptions are well-done, providing just the right level of detail. First, he tells you on which muscles the movement focuses, and then follows up with some personal thoughts about what stands out about the exercise.
Each exercise description includes multiple photos that clearly detail the start, mid-way and end positions. Each photo is accompanied by a clear description on what you should be doing at that particular point in the movement. If you want to see a video of the movement, just click on the camera icon to go to streaming video page where you can see the exercise performed in detail.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or professional bodybuilder, you will find plenty of exercises that are right for you. Nick presents a sort of ‘cafeteria-style’ plan that allows you to pick and choose the movements that meet your needs. And of course, you can adjust the weights to suit your training goals—whether it’s getting toned, building strength or gaining mass.
A section in the back of the book provides back training tips as well as an overview of the equipment that Nick likes to use to train his back. With Nick’s approach, you need not worry about investing in fancy, expensive equipment. Sandbags are the only non-standard piece of equipment that I ran across in the book. Just about everything else will be standard fare at any reasonably-equipped free weight gym.
In going through Nick’s book and reviewing the exercises I’m happy to say that he has compiled an outstanding group of highly unique—yet highly functional—back exercises. You may have run across a few of the techniques presented in this book but I can just about guarantee that unless you’re a follower of his, Nick’s routines are going to be brand new to you.
I’m also glad to report that the logic behind these movements is solid. Follow his instructions, perform the movements properly, and I have no doubt that with time and consistency, you’ll be amazed with your new muscular, powerful back. Go check out 145 of Nick’s Best Back Exercises by clicking here.
Learn How to Train it RIGHT for Maximum Mass, Power and Strength
Guest Article By Nick Nilsson
I’ll start off by getting this right out in the open…if you don’t train your back and train it hard, you’re an idiot. And I’ll tell you why…
You see, back training is one of THE most neglected aspects of training that, when done properly, can actually have the BIGGEST impact on your overall strength and muscle development. Quite honestly, if you’re not training your back with maximum effort, you will NEVER achieve the strength or physique goals you’re looking for. It just won’t happen.
Do NOT neglect your back…and here’s why…
Want a bigger bench press? Train your back.
You need a strong back to provide a solid platform from which to press. You can’t press big weights if your back caves in the moment you try and lift heavy. And the thicker your back is, the shorter the range of motion you’ll have to press the bar through, which will immediately increase your numbers.
Want a physique that doesn’t disappear into two dimensions when you turn sideways? Train your back.
Nothing looks worse than a guy with a massive chest and arms with a hunched-forward posture and the back development of a little girl. I can promise this will get you no respect. When you’ve got a great back and a balanced physique, you will stand out beyond 99% of the people and 95% of the people who train in most gyms.
Want to BE as strong as you LOOK or LOOK even stronger than you ARE? Train your back.
A wide, thick back conveys power and strength. It shows that you have put in the time to develop your physique properly and that you are for real. Anybody who has been around strength training for any good length of time will tell you…the back is what separates the men from the boys.
Want to have more fun in the gym? Train your back.
There are tremendous numbers of exercises and techniques you can use for training your back. There are so many angles and options available to you with back training, you will NEVER get bored in the gym. And once you learn some of these variations and techniques, you’ll find your enthusiasm for training will skyrocket!
So why do people neglect back training?
There are a few reasons…
First, it’s hard. The muscles of the back require heavy weight and plenty of effort. Because you’re reading this via Mike Westerdal of Critical Bench, I KNOW you’re not afraid of hard work. So scratch that off the list for you.
Second, the back is not a “mirror” muscle. You can’t see it when you’re training it like you can with the biceps and the chest (depending on the exercises you use). To me, that’s the worst excuse in the book, so don’t let me ever catch you focusing only on the stuff you can see while leaving the back of your body to shrivel up into nothing.
Third, it can be difficult to feel the muscles of the back working and firing properly. The biceps and the shoulders can very easily take over many movements that should be working the back. Now we’re getting into a somewhat more legitimate reason. Once you receive proper instruction on how to fire the back muscles and how to put your body into the proper positions to force them to activate, that excuse goes away.
Fourth, you may not know the most effective exercises to work the back with…and believe me, there are a LOT.
You probably know the standard back exercises already…cable rows, dumbbell rows, barbell rows, pulldowns, chin-ups, pull-ups and deadlifts.
And these are all great exercises…don’t get me wrong. They’re also just barely scratching the surface of an INCREDIBLE number of variations of these basic movements that are available to you IF you know where to find them.
I’m talking about exercises that develop thickness in the upper back far beyond what you can achieve with normal rowing because you’ll be able to use almost DOUBLE the amount of weight. Or a pull-up that targets the extreme outer lat fibers so strongly it’ll feel like your lats are going to rip as you’re doing it (they won’t, of course, but that extreme tension is incredibly good for developing wider lats).
How about a breathing technique that instantly locks in your lats during ANY back movement. I’ll tell you right now, if you’re breathing wrong when you’re training your back, you will NEVER get full development (and it’s very simple…you have to breathe BACKWARDS when training your back…inhaling on the pull and exhaling on the lowering phase. The normal breathing pattern of exhaling on the exertion will collapse your chest and relax your lats just when you’re trying to activate them!).
The bottom line is this…the back is one of THE single most important muscle groups in your body. If you’re not training it hard or you’re not training it properly and with effective exercises, you’re seriously shortchanging yourself and the results you’re truly capable of getting.
Now, if you’re interested in checking out some very unique back exercises and techniques and really taking your strength and physique to the next level, I’ve got a great recommendation for you. I’ve recently put together a book containing 145 of my BEST back exercises…these are my most unique and most INSANE back exercises that will ATTACK your back from every angle.
They will give you the back you WANT and the back you truly NEED.