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Back Development

Articles by Vince Gironda

The lats are the second largest muscle in the body (the thighs being number one), and they show under the armpits even when the body is viewed from the front.

It is the lats which give you that wide-back appearance. Well-developed lats mean a super taper.

No Chins
(Musclemag Magazine April 1985)

I am a woman bodybuilder who has been training for just under two months. I became inspired when my brother, who is a bodybuilder, took me to the Ms. Olympia bodybuilding show in Montreal. I really enjoyed myself. Everything about the show was first class.

My only training problem is that I cannot do the chin exercise. My arms are just not strong enough.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a competent chinner? I need to widen and thicken my back.

I have the answer to your chinning problem right in my gym here in North Hollywood. It's a special attachment that will help anyone in their chinning exercises. In fact MuscleMag's Bob Kennedy was down at "Vince's Gym" the other week and using this helper he managed ten one-arm chins non stop.

Until you come down to my gym (11262 Ventura Blvd., N. Hollywood) to use my apparatus I suggest you try doing partial chins from a high stool or chair. Gradually you will be able to do a complete chin on your own. Another method would be to have a workout partner hold your knee and assist you as you pulled upwards.

Lat Thickness
( Musclemag Magazine February 1987)

Vince, I have to tell you that you are the greatest trainer ever. After spending three weeks at "Vince's" I learned more than I would have in a lifetime training in my hometown. Thank you for helping me get on the right track. I am still improving almost every workout, but I need a little advice about back building. I notice that I neither have width or thickness in my lats. Any help would be appreciated.

Glad you enjoyed your stay. I liked working with you because you listened so diligently. With regard to your back I suggest you train the area twice in a week but use three different back routines (rotating them in order).

Workout No. One. Wide grip chins (to front), T-Bar Rows, Long Floor Pulley Rows

Workout No. Two. Racing-dive lat pulls, Close grip chin, Dumbbell Rowing

Workout No. Three. Medium grip chin, Close grip pulldowns to chest, Hyper extensions,

Start with three sets of each exercise (eight reps) and work up to five sets of each. As you get into the program decrease the rest time between sets as much as possible but not so much as to allow deep breathing to interfere with exercise performance.

Sternum Chin-Ups

These have been dubbed by many as the single best lat exercise ever invented! Hold on to your lats!

Implementation: This involves leaning back throughout the entire movement. In this variation, the lower portion of the chest should touch the bar.

(A) Begin by grasping the pull-up bar with an underhand grip, approximately shoulder width apart. Now hang with your arms fully extended. (B) As you pull yourself to the bar, have your head lean back as far away from the bar as possible and arch your spine throughout the movement. At the upper end of the movement, your hips and legs will be at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. You should keep pulling until your collarbone passes the bar and your lower chest or sternum area touches it. By the time you've completed the concentric portion of the movement, your head will be parallel to the floor. This is the king of back exercises! It not only works the lats, but the entire lower back!

1. The beginning of the movement is more like a classical chin.

2. The midrange resembles a pullover motion.

3. The end position duplicates the finishing motion of a rowing movement.

This is an advanced exercise to say the least!

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