Back Day Without Free Weights
Everyone knows the best way to build a huge, thick & strong back: Lots of heavy sets with barbell and dumbbell free weight work. You use exercises like deadlift, barbell row, dumbbell row, and bent-over barbell rowing, and you get thick quick. The workouts are never enjoyable, and training in this manner does take its toll on your joints and central nervous system. But you will attain some serious muscle mass training in this style while enjoying adequate protein & carbohydrate consumption, along with plenty of rest.
There are going to be times when all-out free weight training just isn’t the way to go. Your joints might be inflamed from heavy workout sessions. Perhaps you just competed in a bodybuilding show and you’re way down in body weight. Maybe you had the flu, and you’re coming back from being 12 pounds down. Life throw all sorts of curveballs at us – and it’s our responsibility to adjust to it by changing up our gym workouts to accommodate these changes while still making good gains.
Start your free weight-free back day with any of the variety of Hammer Strength machines. You can use the overhead or front pulldowns. You’ll be moving 45 pound plates, but the machine will be controlling the balance and arc of the movement. Knock out 4 sets of one movement, then 4 sets of another movement, for a total of 8 sets on these exercises.
Next it’s cable work. Use the lat pulldown bar with 2 different attachments (4 sets each) for a total of 8 sets. The wide grip for the first, then the close-grip parallel grip bar for the second group of sets, will allow for a wide variety of stimulation to your back muscles, without the use of free weights!
Finally you will move on to the hyper-extension machine. This will stimulate the muscles of your lower back without giving them the raw pain and torture they enjoy (?) from the use of barbell deadlifts. Four sets is all you need of this movement.
There you have it – a solid way to stimulate the muscles of the back without resorting to the much more effective free weights. You’ll want to stick to moving the heavy iron as much as possible. But for times in your life when your muscles or nervous system just cannot handle an all-out workout, a back day without free weights is the way to go!