Focus Workout: Want to build a strong, V-Shaped back?

Walk into almost any gym, and look for anyone cranking out the pull-ups from an over-head bar. Chances are, you may never witness such a sight. Most people won’t even attempt them, probably remembering their embarrassing attempts in high school physical education class. The neglect of this reliable exercise is sad in itself, but what makes it sadder is that it is the single best exercise to build the Latissimus Dorsi (Lats), those muscles that provide that classic V-shape, which does wonders for your physique.

Now, here’s the good news. By using a focus workout, you can excel at pull-ups, and greatly improve the strength and appearance of your Lats. All you need is an over-head chinning bar that will safely hold your body weight as you pump out the reps.

This is how it works: First, set a goal of the total repetitions you want to achieve for the session.  For beginners, a good starting place would be in the 10-rep range. Grab the bar with an over-hand grip with your hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Slightly arch your back, and pull yourself up as high as you can. Work toward touching the bar with your upper chest, just below the clavicles. Lower yourself until your arms are straight, and feel the stretch in your Lats. Perform as many repetitions as possible. Rest for at least two minutes before performing the next set. It takes that long for your body to replenish the ATP to your working muscles. Do not be concerned about the number of sets. The point is to get to your total repetition goal. If it takes you 10 sets to get 10 reps, that’s fine. Skip a day or two and add one rep to your total. By focusing on this movement three times per week, you will soon find yourself happily increasing your rep total while the number of sets decreases. Then show off that marvelous “V”.

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