HOW to Build Big AND Athletic Back Musculature


August 27, 2012

Many athletes get caught up in the allure of “mirror muscles”.  Big biceps and a big chest are what get you on the cover of some magazine in the grocery store checkout line, but the real performance muscles are located on the back side of your body. For an athlete, calves, glutes, hamstrings, lats, and traps are the real difference makers.

Big and strong back muscles start with heavy lifts, and lots of them!  As a result, the upper body program at Sparta is focused around pull up variations and barbell row variations to develop the raw musculature needed for functional strength.

While strength is the foundation, there is a step by step progression (see Sparta Point) to be sure that you are still athletic and not just big.

  • Soft tissue release provides improved tissue quality
  • Mobilizations put your body into better positions
  • Movements train the musculature to work in coordination with the rest of the body (see Sparta Point)

Today’s movement - The Lateral Reach - Trains the back to work in coordination with the rest of the body for improved efficiency and greater rotational power (see Sparta Point).

We have started to talk a lot lately about the “Keys to Athleticism”

  • Controlling your center of mass
  • Controlling your center of mass in relation to the angles at which you are connected to the ground
  • Producing GRF at proper angles (see Sparta Point) in order to efficiently accelerate your center of mass

Unless you are training your back for strength AND performance, you might end up being the guy on the sideline with "TV Arms" and an empty stat line.  Don't be that guy.

Train for quality not quantity

Brace yourself: ankle braces hurt knees

Keep away from simple, use complex movements