If you don’t think you can work your back muscles at home without weights, you thought wrong.
Top trainer Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. over at Athlean-X has been sharing a series of resistance band exercises that can be used to help build strength and muscle in specific body parts, either in conjunction with or as an alternative to weight training.
If you want to perform an easier, assisted pullup, looping the band around the bar and then stepping into it will remove some of the bodyweight you need to lift. However, if you want to perform a heavier, more difficult version of this exercise, you can simply load up a backpack, attach it to the band and hang it around your neck while doing your pullups.
Anchoring the band around your feet, assume a wide stance to increase the tension on the band before performing these rows.
“Don’t just grab one band,” advises Cavaliere. “Reach down and grab both of them; with the anchor point dramatically shortened, the resistance increases considerably. Is it a complete replacement for a barbell row? No. But when all you’ve got is a band, it’s an incredible way to create overload in that horizontal direction.”
Anchor the band in a low position and grab it with one arm, rowing it back until you reach isometric contraction. Then use your other arm to grab onto the upper end of the band and pull that back into the same position. “This is a great variation for building up that mind-muscle connection which oftentimes is missing when it comes to back training,” says Cavaliere.
Banded Straight Arm Pushdowns.
“Your only goal is to drive those elbows down to your sides as tight and as hard as you possibly can,” says Cavaliere. “Resist the tendency to bend the elbows and turn this into a tricep pushdown. Keep the elbows locked out, and do all of the driving through the lats.”
While Cavaliere has recommended this banded move as a chest builder, when targeting the back muscles he recommends keeping your elbows facing outwards on this exercise. “If they’re flared out, you’re moving your focus towards the lats as the main driver of the movement,” he says.
This move hits the lower and middle traps. Anchor the band high, and then from a kneeling position, angle your body forward. Maintaining a narrow grip minimizes the engagement of the lats, and lights up the rhomboids and traps.
Starting from the same position as the band-bell row, widen your stance and assume a crossed-over grip, then uncross your arms as you row the band upwards.
Another move which shortens the anchor distance of the band, this shrug variation creates maximum tension, Cavaliere explains, and can be an ideal way to “actually grow the upper traps when you don’t have dumbbells or a barbell.”
Laying Face Pulls
“This gives you an opportunity to do build up the muscles of the upper back, and the rotator cuffs and scap area, but it gives you a good target. A lot of times, people will struggle getting their hands back far enough; what you do here is you simply drive them down towards the floor as far as you possibly can. It gives you an end point for proper contraction of these muscles.”
Banded Good Mornings
When performing this move, remember to hinge at the hips rather than just bending over. “If you do this right, with the band anchored across the back of your neck, you get great engagement of the glutes and the lower back working in concert to fortify the lower back and help you stay injury-free,” says Cavaliere.
This exercise targets multiple areas of the back at the same time. Anchor the band around your feet, and then crawl yourself out and forward. Lift your whole body up; thighs off the ground, chest off the ground, to activate the lower back and the glutes. Then reach your arms out forward to engage the posterior chain.
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