By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach
Develop Your LOWER BACK with Cable Pull Thrusts
Q: I do all my training at our local gym here in town. It has all the usual stale equipment like the cable cross over machine, hyper extension bench, leg curl machines and what not. I want to develop a strong lower back but to be honest with you I am burned out on doing deadlifts and hyper extensions all the time. Do you have any novel idea’s for developing the lower back?
A: Yeah as a matter of fact I do have a novel idea for the development of the lower back and it involves the use of the cable cross over unit believe it or not. The exercise I am going to describe is called “Cable Pull Thrusts” and has been popularized over the years by Louie Simmons and the powerlifters at the Westside Barbell Club in Columbus, Ohio as an assist movement for garnering more strength in the lower back. The exercise goes like this.
Begin by attaching a triceps rope to one of the (base floor pulley) cable stations on the cable-cross over unit. Next, select a weight stack poundage that you will be using for a pre-determined number of reps. Now turn around with your back toward the pulley cable.
Assume a shoulder width foot stance and bend your upper torso forward from vertical (taking care to keep the lower back flat or slightly arched) so that you can reach down between your legs (kind of like the posture if you were going to hike a football) and firmly grasp each end of the triceps rope (palms of the hands should face each other and the arms slightly bent).
Make sure that the cable is taut (you will have to adjust your distance from the floor pulley) as this will allow you to support the weight stack throughout the full range of the exercise motion.
Now it’s just a matter of pulling on the rope and bringing your upper torso to an upright position. If you do this correctly your hands will be positioned near your groin (it will mimic the lockout of a sumo deadlift where the arms are inside the thighs).
Reverse the movement just described and allow the triceps rope to travel between your legs past your heels as far as possible. Repeat for the desired reps.
Some Points to Remember:
- Keep a very slight bend at the elbow joints meaning that you never lock-out or straighten the arms.
- You can do this exercise with the knees locked (emphasizes the lower back involvement) or with a “soft” knee bend (initiates gluteal involvement). Even though you are after more back development you may want to switch from a locked to soft knee position from workout to workout for variety sake.
Regular Sets, Plus Fast Doubles
Q: I am always looking for a way to get a Super Pump in all the muscle groups whenever I happen to train them. Do you have an idea’s along this line?
A: Here is a great method to try that works for most exercises:
Sometimes you can do what is called Regular Sets, Plus Fast Doubles. This is done on the last rep of a set.
Barbell Curls – when you complete the last repetition of a set, put the barbell down. Rest about 3-10 seconds and then do two more repetitions, rest for another 3-10 secs and do two more additional reps, rest again for 3-10 secs and complete a final two reps.
This is usually performed within the confines of the last rep of the last couple of sets of a select exercise. It makes for a terrific burnout technique as well as you can imagine.
If there is a secret when doing the ‘Fast Doubles’, it is in the 3-10 second rest-pauses. It is these rest-pauses which allow a 50-56% recovery of the involved localized muscle (in this case the biceps).