Generally speaking – wide grip back exercises normally work the inner part of the lats and narrow grip exercises normally work the outer part of the lats. There is some overlap with this principle but a good back routine should include a combination of wide and narrow grip exercises.
Wide And Narrow Grip Pulley
For the inner and outer lats respectively. A cable pulley machine with weight stacks and foot plates usually with a seat on the floor. For maximum effect allow full extension of the lats when lowering the stack to start position. Use tip toes on foot plates if you need to gain extra movement in the cable.
Overhead Wide And Narrow Grip Pulley
Similar to above but the cable will be pulled down from above and usually with a seat and probably thigh supports pads to keep you firmly in the seat – even when using heavy stacks. Using a narrow grip with this will allow for maximum extension of the outer lats. Using a wide grip will allow for the bar to come down either in front of or behind your head. Mix this last one up in your routines to keep your lat growth from becoming ‘stale’.
Wide And Narrow Grip Chins
Using a wide grip overhead bar pull yourself up to touch your chin on the bar. Alternatively you can tuck your head into your chest and pull up to the back of your neck. Take care not to bang your neck on to the bar though. Depending on what type of narrow grip bar you have in your gym will determine how you perform this one. If it is fixed on a proper arm/bracket with grips facing palms in, you can do the chins as normal, however some gyms will have a narrow bar fixed to an overhead beam or pole. In this case you will have to pull yourself up and move your head to one side and then the other in an alternating fashion. this one is not ideal but it’s better than not doing it at all. You can add weights to yourself over time by using a purpose made weight belt.
Bent Over Bar Bell Row
With a wide grip on the bar, bend over slightly so your upper body is almost parallel with the floor. Then bring the bar up to touch your chest bringing your elbows right back. This one puts a big strain on the lower back so is not advisable if you suffer from lower back weakness.
Bent Over T Bar Row
Similar stance to above but using a narrow ‘T’ bar pivoting from a fixed point to the floor. With weights or pulley applied to the open end of the T bar. Again this one puts a strain on the lower back.
Bent Over Dumb-Bell Raise
Similar to stance above using dumb-bells starting with dumb-bells together palms facing in. With elbows only slightly bent bring your arms up so that the dumb-bells end up level with the lower part of your lats
One Arm Dumb-Bell Row
Put one knee on a bench and lean over so that the hand of the same side supports your upper body weight. With the opposite hand use a dumb-bell starting at the floor position and pull it up to your side bringing your elbow up high. For maximum effect, use a relatively high bench to allow full extension of the lats on the downward movement.
For the traps. Standing upright with the bar-bell in front of you, grip the bar with an over-hand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Your arms should be straight down in front of you and the bar touching the front of your thighs. Now rotate both your shoulders lifting up and back and shrug your shoulders as high as you can with as bigger rotation as you can. Try to imagine that you want to touch your ears with your shoulders. Then change the direction of the rotation. You may need to use wrist straps to help your grip with this one because it is an exercise which can be done with heavy weights.
Need more ideas? Here are some successful Body Building Techniques
The most successful body building techniques incorporate proven weight routines. A weight routine is a set of exercises, done in repetition, that develops specific parts of the body. For example, to build chest muscles, a body builder may use a weight routine that incorporates flat bench press (3 repetitions), bench dumbbell (2 repetitions) and inclined bench press (3 repetitions). The other important function a weight routine serves is to split a training program so different muscle groups are used.
Dumbbells are a common piece of equipment used to build bigger biceps. The most popular technique to get the desired result is to hold the dumbbell closer to the inside of the plates. Routines for building biceps include dumbbell curls either inclined or standing, or both.
Building Chest Muscle
Good chest muscle building exercises are routines that incorporate bench presses and flyes. An even more effective way to build chest muscle is to split the chest into 3 zones – upper, middle and lower. By working each separately, using exercises that specifically target that area, you can build up some impressive chest muscle fairly quickly.
For instance, do your upper chest exercises on a 30-45% incline bench. Incline barbell and incline dumbbell flyes are excellent for working upper chest muscles. On the other hand, the lower chest muscles are best exercised using a 30-45% decline bench. You would use decline barbell and decline dumbbell flyes to build these muscles. A flat bench works best for the middle chest muscles. So you’d do flat barbell and flat dumbbell flyes on a flat bench.
Moving Onto Shoulder Training
The shoulders are made up of 3 main muscles – the lateral, anterior and posterior deltoids. Effective shoulder training to get big shoulders requires working all 3. The anterior deltoid usually gets some work in chest workouts. To build up the lateral and posterior deltoids requires additional exercises targeting these two muscles. Generally the best way to do this is with heavy barbell and dumbbell pressing in short reps as opposed to a lot of rep work with lighter weights. You should also focus on shoulder exercises that work effectively with progressive overload, a technique used to progressively add more weight to what is being lifted.
Matching Up The Back With Back Exercises
The back is one area many body builders overlook. But if you want your back to match up with those impressive chest, shoulder and bicep muscles, you will need to include back exercises in your bodybuilding routine.
Good workouts for the Lower Trapezius or lower back muscles include stiff-legged good mornings and hyper-extensions. For the middle back muscles or Rhomboids, you can do a seated cable row and bent-over barbell rows. Your Latissimus Dorsi will benefit from wide-grip lat pull-downs and pull-ups. And last but not least, try upright rows and barbell shrugs for your Trapezius.
But before starting any body-building workout, be sure to warm up properly. This will reduce the risk of damaging muscles and tendons. Stretch the muscles you’re going to be working. Also avoid lifting more weight than your body can capably handle to avoid serious injury.