After your legs, your back is the next biggest muscle group. With a lot of slow twitch muscle mass, it can be hard to gain growth without some serious training. Like legs, your back needs a good workout. The back being made up of some of the biggest muscles in our body, gives a great opportunity. Training these with intensity helps testosterone and HGH production, meaning more potential gain, not just in your back but across all muscle groups.
What is a cobra back?
A cobra back is used to define the v-shape, when a bodybuilder flares his lats, forming a cobra head. Having a v-shape is paramount to symmetry within bodybuilding, and thus is highly sought after.
Muscles within your back
Your back can be divided into Upper, Middle and Lower. These can then be separated into subgroups, which is important when it comes to training and hitting every muscle adequately for the best growth.
Traps and Rhomboids
Centre Traps and Lats
Now the basics are covered, onto the important stuff – what are the best exercises for getting a cobra back? See below for exercises that can be added to any routine, to push you and really build that back.
1) Pull Ups
Pull ups are great for adding width to your back, by really widening the lats. This is an exercise you can really take progress with, training each set to failure.the aim is to get to high figure reps (50+) in the least amounts of sets as possible. That being said don’t be afraid to break the reps up into smaller sets to achieve your goal Easy? Why not add weight to increase the challenge!
Deadlifts are an all round heavy hitter compound exercise. Don’t be afraid though, although it may seem complex to start with, once the basics are covered, you will be well away. Its best to aim for lower reps and a higher amount of sets for this, we recommend a controlled 5×5. Due to the heavy weight, and explosive movement, this is best to do at the beginning of a workout to get the best out of every rep.
3) Barbell bent over rows
You can easily perform this exercise with dumbbells or with a T-bar as a nice variant and to get a greater squeeze. Fairly simple for beginners, and great for those who regular attend, this exercise adds that much wanted thickness to the back. Doing 4×10-12 reps, will get that upper back burning and nicely encourage growth! It is important to ensure you keep your back in, with no bends and pull the weight with as little throw as possible, to hit the right muscles.
4) Lateral pull down
Like bent over rows, it’s important not to swing or rely on momentum to move the weight. The best way to perform this is sitting straight and pulling the bar just below your chin, concentrating on your back as you do so. Add a small squeeze at the bottom of your rep to maximise your effort. This is a very versatile exercise, with varying hand placements, grips and movements having a different effect on your back. The basic movement is a core exercise for any back routine, but don’t be afraid to mix it up.
5) Seated Row
The seated row, is as versatile as the Lat pulldown, giving you many choices of grip or hand placement to really attack the thickness of your muscles. Like Lat pull downs though it is important to concentrate on the movement, not throwing, yanking or jerking the weight. This will ensure the weight targets the correct area, making all that effort worthwhile, giving the best result. Again, mixing it up is nothing to be scared of, and can really hit smaller muscles within the back.
What is your favourite back exercise? Let us know in the comments below and we may feature you in one of our upcoming articles. Don’t forget to check out our instagram @gymdwellingmammal and why not share your own take on the above exercises?