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Instant Back Activator!

The "Non-Responder" Solution!

Posted by Scott_Herman - April 4th, 2018

Today we’re going to talk about the back, or more specifically the lats. When it comes to the back, there’s two planes of motion that we work through in our workouts. We do vertical pulling movements, and horizontal pulling movements, so I’m going to show you 2 techniques that you can use, depending on what exercise you’re doing.

Remember, this is a technique that you should be doing BEFORE you start your sets, and in-between your sets. This is not something you do to fatigue or superset – what you’re trying to do is ACTIVATE dormant muscle tissue (dormant muscle fibers), to help you to be able to recruit more of them during your sets so you can lift heavier weight.

Technique #1: Vertical Single-Arm Pull With Internal & External Rotation

The first thing I’m going to cover is a simple vertical pulling movement, that’s going to help you with ALL of your vertical pulling movements, whether you’re doing pull-ups, pulldowns, reverse lat pulldowns etc. The goal here is to really activate the lats with a nice deep stretch, and a nice hard flex at the bottom of the movement. All you will need for this movement is just a handle attachment for your cable machine/lat pulldown machine.

For some of you, depending on how tall you are, you might be able to sit down normally on the seat and get a nice deep stretch when you reach to grab the handle. But if you are taller and have longer limbs, you might need to go onto the floor in order to stretch your lats out enough. Once you’re on the floor, what you can then do from that position is you can really let your arm hang loose, and feel a nice deep stretch all the way throughout your lats from top to bottom.

However, you’re going to take this one step further, and in order to maximize the stretch, you actually want to turn your hand so that your palm is facing IN at the top of the movement. Then as you come down, you’re going to rotate your arm so that your palm is now facing forward to get that nice tight flex at the bottom of the movement. You’re then going to return to the top with your palm facing in, and repeat for reps. Again, this isn’t to be done with heavy weight as a working set – just use a medium amount of weight that allows you to feel a deep stretch, and then get a nice flex, to try and activate as much of that dormant muscle fiber in your back as possible.

This will make your sets more intense, and hopefully allow you to add more weight, even if it’s only 5lbs-10lbs. Every little bit is going to help, especially if you’re in a muscle building or strength building plateau. You’re only going to perform 5-8 reps PER SIDE with this movement.

Technique #2: Horizontal Single-Arm Pull With External & Internal Rotation

When it comes to your horizontal pulling movements, you’re going to be using a cable machine, but this does apply no matter what exercise you’re using for your horizontal pull. For example, if you’re doing an underhand or overhand bent-over row, a pendlay row or a T-bar row, it’s all the same, you’re still going to head over to your cable machine to try and get a bit more activation. While you could be doing those movements on the cable machine, I recommend using free weights as you’ll be able to lift a lot heavier than what the weight stack on the cable machine is, but that is a topic for another day!

With the horizontal pulling motion, you’re actually going to do the opposite of what you did on your lat pulldown station. Instead of starting with your palm facing up or in, you’re actually going to start with your palm facing DOWN. Your goal is still going to be to get a nice deep stretch in your lats, but then as you pull back, you’re going to twist and turn your hand so your palm is facing UP, and then you’re going to flex and squeeze as hard as you can, before returning to the starting position and repeating this for reps.

Again, you’re not trying to fatigue the muscle, you’re trying to activate dormant muscle fibers. You’re also doing 5-8 repetitions PER SIDE with this movement, twisting and rotating, and as soon as you’ve completed one side, you’re going to switch to your other hand, then complete 5-8 repetitions on that side as well. But, the same rules apply to this movement as they do to the vertical pulling movement – if you’re tall, you need to take it one step further because you won’t be able to maximize the stretch and flex while seated.

In order to get that nice deep stretch, you’re probably going to have to sit behind the seat, so that when you go forward, you can REALLY let the weight pull to feel that nice deep stretch in your lats. Then as you come back, instead of stopping with your arm by your side, I actually want you to rotate, so you can get that extra little bit of activation by pulling your arm back as hard as you can, before returning back to the starting position, and repeating.


It all comes down to little tips and tricks to help make your workouts more intense – this is the kind of stuff that is going to help you bust through a muscle building plateau. You don’t have to change your entire program if you stop seeing gains. Try stuff like this first, and remember, you’re only doing this in-between sets, and before the set starts. Do you have to do it for every single exercise? Probably not, probably just for the first couple. But still, it’s a tool now in your arsenal to ensure that when you’re training back, you’re hitting those lats as hard as you possibly can!

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Man, even I felt a difference after filming this video!! Haha love it!!