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Best Back Exercise You're Not Doing

But Should Be!

Posted by Scott_Herman - November 9th, 2018

Today I’m going to show you how to take full advantage of all three muscle building mechanisms in order to make the most gains in the gym when training back, but more specifically, the lats. If you want to have that dominant v-taper look, you’ve got to place more emphasis on those lats, especially if they’re a lagging body part for you. And not just for aesthetic reasons, but to look more proportionate as well.

But unfortunately when most of us go to the gym we only take advantage of two out of the three mechanisms which are Mechanical Tension and Muscle damage. Mechanical Tension being lifting as heavy as you can and then Muscle Damage being the micro tears that happen in the muscle tissue from lifting as heavy as you can. That third muscle building mechanism is called Metabolic Stress and that only happens through lots of volume and short rest periods. So I’m going to show you two exercises that you can do right now in the gym to take advantage of all three muscle building mechanisms and start to see more gains!

Exercise #1: Weighted Chin-Up (6 – 8 Reps, 6 Sets)

Proper form is CRUCIAL for this movement. You have got to come to a dead hang at the bottom of every single repetition. This is where the stretch happens and this is where you get the most muscle breakdown, during the negative and then to the stretch. As you bring yourself up, you have got to bring your chest to the bar. This is the flex portion of the movement. Granted you are doing a weighted pull-up so your form might not look as pretty as mine does in my demonstration video, but you’ve got to go all the way down and all the way up on every single repetition.


If it gets to a point where you have to use a little bit of momentum to bring yourself to the top, that’s OK, but only on the last 1 – 2 reps. If you’re using momentum on every single rep, then the weight is too heavy for you. If it is, you can switch to bodyweight and even if bodyweight is too heavy, you can go over to the lat pulldown machine and do reverse pulldowns over there (again doing 6 – 8 reps, 6 sets). Remember a weighted chin-up or reverse pulldown means your palms are facing in towards your face as you perform the movement. But if you want to progress towards doing the weighted chin-up there are some things you can do and I even have a full video on Pull-Up Progressions. You can apply all those same concepts in that video to your chin-ups and the only difference is instead of doing a pull-up with your palms facing away you’re going to spin them and face them towards you.

Reverse Lat Pull-Down

Exercise #2: Cable Lat Push-Down (200 Reps, 20 – 30 Reps Per Set)

This exercise is going to take full advantage of metabolic stress. Believe it or not there is a wrong way to do this exercise. For this movement, it’s a lot more than just standing upright, bringing your arms up and then pushing them down. When you get into position for this exercise you need to bend your knees and stick your butt back so that as your arms come up you feel that stretch in your lats. Your shoulders should almost come forward a little bit as you’re bringing the weight up. As you’re pushing the weight down to your thighs, you’re going to lift your chest up slightly and retract your shoulder blades as the bar touches your thighs. That’s how you complete one repetition.

Cable Lat Push-Down

I think the main reason why so many people mess this exercise up is because they try to go too fast and lift too much weight. Slow your form down so that you feel the stretch in your lats as you come up and then feel the flex in your lats as you push the weight down. If you can’t handle doing 20 – 30 repetitions with this form, it’s probably because you’re lifting too heavy, so lower the weight and do it right!


Remember if your lats are a lagging body part then you’ve got to train them multiple times a week. Take these two exercises, add them to your current back routine and then do it again 36 – 48 hours later. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to take full advantage of the anabolic window and you can do this up to three times a week. Just feel it out, make sure you’re getting adequate rest, hydration and eating enough food in order to maximize those gains, because you can’t grow muscle if you’re in a calorie deficit.

Related Videos:

Best Triceps Exercise You’re Not Doing | BUT SHOULD BE!

Best Chest Exercise You’re Not Doing | BUT SHOULD BE!

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