I think my back is to strong?
Honestly has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Neither have I. Sure it’s a daily occurrence where someone is too strong on the anterior leading to various issues from weakness, to pain, posture problems, and poor lifting mechanics. I have yet however had to tell any client over the years; Dude your ass and back are too damn strong we need to build up your quads. Man you are severely externally rotated we need to close you up and strengthen your pecks etc., or any muscle of the anterior chain.
Let’s say for sakes of argument you are the .0001% and your ass is like JLo, only muscle, and you have a set of spinal erectors that look more like the twin towers than the wheat fields of Kansas. I’d still argue and agree with Jim Wendler on, don’t be afraid to make a strength’s stronger. I would even argue round back work for your more advanced lifter but leave that argument / discussion for another time and another day.
It is for this very reason that’s what I hear most often in my gym is “More Rows!” “More SLDL’s,” “Were doing good morning with how much weight for how many reps?”.
It is my goal from day one that any client that’s walks in the door is going to leave after a few months with a back that is bullet proof. Luckily it’s something I stumbled on by accident in my early years due to mainly my love for picking shit up off the ground. From day one I would hit deadlifts hard, tons of reps with stiff leg deadlift, Good mornings starting out for reps and then moving up to my best years later of a 630 lb good morning with a safety squat bar to the point I touched my elbows to my knees.
What did all that work give me aside from a respectable deadlift? A back that despite all my lifting and stupid shit I have done that has never been injured. Ache sure that’s part of the game there is a difference between pain/soreness and injury. You goodmorning 630 or deadlift near 800 and tell me your back isn’t fatigued and tight at times. I however have never had an injury one to my back that sidelined me for more than a day from lifting.
So with that’s Ill give you a few good tips that’s I have used on myself and my clients here at Strength Guild and elsewhere to bulletproof their backs, and likely build some strong ass hamstrings and an ass like a watermelon along the way.
To give another virtual slob on Wendlers Knob I will direct quote him now.
“Let’s be honest with each other, very few people shouldn’t do good mornings. Don’t be afraid to get stronger.”
If you’re not doing them, start if you are keep it up and maybe do more.
In the GM your back is working hard in a static/isometric fashion as it’s primarily designed and all of the muscle of the so called “core” are, to prevent unwanted motion. The single hardest thing to teach in powerlifting, and most strength sports and heavy lifting, is the amount of tightness needed in the abdomen and whole of the back from top to bottom. I honestly don’t know a better move that is going to try and fold you over faster than Kim Kardashian after Ray J. You simply Must get your back tight from top to bottom retract the scaps hard reach with your chin and ass as you hold a tight thoracic and lumbar spine as you lower to the point your hamstrings are wound like a drum.
If you know anything about Physics and lever arms you’ll understand that’s the load used is multiplied the further you bow down and the load is shifted further and further away from the center of gravity. This places a HUGE load with a relatively low initial load across the whole of the spine that’s demands the muscles to work HARD to keep everything in place.
DO THEM! Once a week maybe twice
Simple suggestions start off light take a few months working in that 8-10 reps range getting used to the move and building a base for more to come. Even higher rep work than that’s such as high rep band GM’s. Over the months and years work up to 5’s then triples and once you’re comfortable maybe 6 months in start hitting heavy work from time to time, max triples and singles but never wane too far away from the bread and butter, volume.
I’ll keep this simple. This move is damn near just like a GM only the bar is placed in your hand, arguably people and science says this is more of a low back as a primary mover but I’d say it’s still done right hamstring dominant and the back is in a static Isometric role. The load isn’t multiplied as much as you tend to naturally force the bar closer to your center of gravity, but in the end its pretty much a good morning in your hands, and people don’t tend to be as scared of this move, more comfortable with it.
I really like the SLDL for high reps. That surprises many as they ask me what deadlift rep range I recommend and I tell then 1-3 reps. I really think the deadlift is a move intended to be done pretty damn heavy and in a non-fatigued state for few reps as the form tends to change a lot after a few reps and fatigue sets in. What does it usually change to? A stiff leg deadlift for most.
I really like throwing in High rep stiff leg deadlift in the 20+ rep range, even higher and holding that’s back position and bumping them out. Aside from working your back hard I have used these light to heal up some hamstring issues get a lot of blood to them.
Once every week or two throw in a set take 30-50 percent of your deadlift and see how many SLDL’s you can punch out prior to your form, going to shit.
Rows, Chins, etc.
Do them and do a lot of them. People ask what kind. I answer a simple “yes.”
I don’t care chin up, pull up, cable rows, bent over barbell rows, ring rows, DB rows, scap retractions, external rotations. If something bothers you and causes pain, do something else. Build a BIG thick upper back and lats and ALL your lifts will soar. If you take all the strongest lifters in the world you will see one thing common among them all. They have a giant thick upper back.
What I aim to do with all my clients from day one is simple. I want twice the reps for pulling as we have for any pushing move, AT LEAST. that and we don’t usually go heavy, Not much less than 5 reps and many times up in the 20rep and higher range. Really who gives a shit what your one rep max bent over row is. What we’re looking to do is build some ,eat back there a strong base for lifting and a muscle mass that can endure and hold position for time under crushing loads.
Some people eloquently say “train your front like a power athlete and back like a body builder.” I agree just do a ton of work, you don’t have to get it in one day pack it in over the training week. Something I stumbled upon I had in common with other great lifter and coaches. In rest between sets you might find me doing set of chin, doing a set of rows. Whatever, just get that work in if you think you’re doing enough add more for a month and see where you are after that month.
There you go. There’s a few tips that I use on myself and others. Give them a try and after a year or to come two me and I would love to help someone out that’s can say “Phil, man help my back is to strong.”