Back Training Tips!

Back is one of the hardest body parts to train correctly in my opinion.  It is easy to use too much weight and “swing” it around without directing the majority of the overload to the back muscles.

I was like a lot of people and I got caught up with the amount of weight I was using until Paul Cribb “connected the dots” for me.  At one of the Max-OT camps Paul was explaining back training techniques and he said a simple phrase that really stuck with me and improved my back training 100%.  He said, “always initiate each back movement with your lats.”  It sounds simple but often times people don’t do this and I was one of them.  They either initiate the movement with their arms or with their lower back.  If you make a concentrated effort to initiate all back movements with your lats, you will improve your execution and thus improve your back development.

In addition to initiating each movement with your lats you need to make sure at the top of each rep you are able to contract your shoulder blades.  If you are not able to do this you are likely using too much weight.

With Max-OT we are always striving to increase overload but NOT at the expense of solid execution and sometimes you need to take a step back in order to improve.  I actually reduced all my weights on back day and made sure I was executing each movement effectively and then moved my weights up over time only when I could maintain the proper execution.  As a result my overall back development improved greatly over the last couple years of my career.

Along with initiating each move with your lats and making sure you contract your shoulder blades at the top of each rep you want to also keep these other important Max-OT principles in place when you design your back workout:

  • Keep the frequency low:
    Train back one time per week only.
  • Keep the volume low:
    6-8 total sets.
  • Keep the intensity high:
    Use heavy weights in a 4-6 rep range.

You can see a detailed explanation of exercise execution plus in-depth discussion of the Max-OT principles in my “Natural Way” Training DVD Series.


  1. There is one thing i don’t get about the warm up. When i train back and biceps shall i do warm up on to biceps when i start or just start directly to pump?

  2. avatar

    Thanks man,
    nice tips! hope I’m now able to implement them and consequently get the back I dream of!

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