When it comes to building strong and defined muscles, the view from behind is not all about the glutes. Having a strong back and shoulders is not only attractive it is an essential part of feeling and performing at your best.
Putting It Together
OK, now that we understand the movements and exercises, let’s make a workout out of them, including a good warm-up and cool-down.
Check out the article called What is the Best Way to Warm-up for some good advice on this. Since we are focused on the shoulders, back, and arms, make double sure that you focus on mobilizing and preparing those areas.
Since we want to maximize our time in the gym, let’s make a "superset circuit" out of these exercises. That means you will do three sets, with each set containing two exercises that you will go back and forth between three times before moving on to the next set.
Set 1: Bent-Over Barbell Row to Subscapular Pull-ups
Set 2: One-Arm Arc Dumbbell Row to Seated Rope Rows
Set 3: Standing T-Bar Row to Narrow Grip Chin-ups
The amount of reps you choose is up to you. I prefer to lift heavier weights for fewer reps (5-6) but science says that you can get approximately the same gains from listing a lower weight with higher reps (12-15), as long as you are lifting to failure. Failure is when you can barely complete the last one or two reps and they require maximum effort.
The first time you do this workout, be conservative with the weights you choose. Write down what weights you used and whether or not you feel like you should or could have chosen heavier or lighter. This takes the guesswork out of it in the future and minimizes the chances of you overdoing it and needing to take a few rest days to recover.
Make sure you check out the article called Cooling Down After Exercise: 6+ Helpful Tips, but after the workout is over, you ideally would continue some general movement but begin to perform it at a slower and slower pace, until you are moving at a normal non-workout pace. This can often take at least five minutes, but can definitely last a lot longer. Since you worked your back so specifically, I would spend some time on the foam roller at the end of the cool-down. And then make sure you write some detailed notes that you can refer to next time you want to blast your back.
Since you worked your back so specifically, I would spend some time on the foam roller at the end of the cool-down.
There are of course myriad more exercises that are effective for the back and shoulders than these six listed here, and by making any of them a regular part of your training regimen you'll ensure that you fully develop these muscles to not only look good at the beach but to stave off back pain in the future.
For more back info, lat tips, and to join the shoulder conversation, head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy or twitter.com/getfitguy. Also don't forget to subscribe to the Get-Fit Guy podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play or via RSS.