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             FITNESS TIPS FOR 8/8/2001                  
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So You Want A Back To Fly With?
by Bill Piche

When I saw the picture of Franco Columbo many many years ago 
doing a back lat spread, I could have sworn that the guy could fly
with a back like that! I figured he must have the ticket for
ultimate back development. I saw pictures of him deadlifting 
over 700 pounds and lifting up the backs of small cars. It didn't 
take long for me to correlate his back thickness to being able to
deadlift over 700. The deadlift became my mainstay for back 
development. To this day, it is still my main exercise for back. 
You can't beat it in my opinion for back development. 

Deadlifting is tough, no doubt about it. But, once you start, you 
won't want to stop because it gives RESULTS! The back is one 
of the main areas to focus on for increasing overall body mass
(legs are the other) and no other exercise hits all areas of the 
back like deadlifts; from the traps down to the lower erectors. I 
am not going to talk about how to actually set up and perform a
deadlift, there are plenty of good books that describe the 
movement, but I will give you some tips: 

1. I recommend deadlifting once every 10 to 14 days. When 
just starting the movement, you can deadlift every 7 days. Go 
SLOW when you start doing deadlifts. Don't get greedy and
make big weight jumps. Make sure you have the form down so 
you don't even have to think about it. 

2. Never jerk the deadlift. Your arms must not have any slack 
and should be held tight. And there is no need to do a shrug 
or bend the arms at the top of a deadlift. 

3. Don't overextend the back at the top by leaning back too far.
 Stand erect, period. 

4. Keep your back flat and never round your lower back during 
a deadlift. 

5. I recommend using a belt, but not as a crutch. 

6. Use an inverted pyramid for warming up - check out the 
Training Tip of the Week Archive on how to warm up. 

7.Don't go lower than 6 reps unless you are going to enter a 
powerlifting competition. 

Just like with the arm routines in the magazines, I am not going
to list every exercise in the book. I WILL tell you what other 
exercises besides the deadlift I have found to be effective for 
back development. First let's start with the exercises I 
don't recommend. 

Bent Over Rows - The problem with bent over rows is that 
you have to lean over and the weight has to be held away 
from the body. This puts tremendous stress on the lower 
back! I NEVER felt comfortable doing these and I am glad I 
didn't because my lower back is better off. 

Pull Downs - Pull downs are not the same as chins. "But, I 
can't do any chins!" someone might complain. Well, one
way to start is to have someone spot you and really 
concentrate on the negative movement. I have started 
many people on chins this way when they could not do 
even one chin and pretty soon they are up to reps in a 
short period - both men and women! Oh, I almost forgot 
to mention, I get a BIG KICK out of watching macho men 
load up the pull down and jerk their whole bodies down 
and throw the weight down and have it fly back to the top.
Maybe they are doing it for entertainment value...because 
I think it is FUNNY! bbbbbbaaaaaahhhhhhhaaaa! 

Since we are on the subject of chins, yes, chins are one 
good back exercise! When you can do 10 with your 
bodyweight, strap extra weight around you. NEVER over 
stretch in the bottom and let your shoulders rotate! You 
are asking for a shoulder injury if you do. Always be under
control and don't try and explode in the bottom - squeeze
 it up. Don't go below 6 on these. 

The next exercise I recommend is one arm dumbell rows. Do 
both fist parallel and perpendicular to the body. Again, don't
jerk these, squeeeeeeezzzzze. Don't rotate your trunk
either. I really like these because with a knee up on the 
bench, there is no stress on the low back. Also, I found these 
to be second to deadlifts for thickness. I always like to vary 
my rep scheme. After all, variety is the spice of life! So 
what is an example back workout? Well, here is what I
did for a recent back workout. 

Deadlifts - warmups, top set 10 Reps - rest a few minutes

One Arm Dumbell Rows - 12 Reps - rest a few minutes

Chins - 7 Reps

THAT'S IT! And believe me, it hurt so good the next day! 

So there you have it, some tips for developing a back you 
can FLY WITH! Training back is simple and straight forward 
(just like all the other body parts). Don't let the "experts" in 
the magazines convince you it is complicated! 

Good Luck getting lat muscles like Franco Columbu! 
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