Building a big strong back should be on everyone’s training agenda. Most of us spend the day hunched over a computer, with rounded shoulders and back. Correcting this posture is essential for long term health, and a strong back is the foundation for stronger body all over. The back plays a key role in almost every exercise, stabilising the shoulders and supporting the upper body. Want to bench more and get a bigger chest? Build a bigger back. Don’t just take our word for it, this advice comes from the World’s Strongest Man: Eddie Hall.
Pull ups are undoubtedly a great exercise for building a strong, big back. But most people can only do a handful of pull ups, if any. Not only this, most people perform pull ups with incorrect technique, failing to retract their Scapula properly. This means losing full engagement of the Scapula Retractor muscles, Lats and Traps and ultimately not maximising gains.
Here’s how to perform Ring Rows, and why they are one of the best exercises to build a big, strong back.
The Easiest variation: Standing almost upright, away from the anchor, with most of your bodyweight on your feet.
The Hardest variation: Completely inverted, right underneath anchor, feet elevated on a box, with most of your bodyweight on your arms.
- Take hold of the Rings, placing your feet in your preferred position.
- Ensure your arms are fully straight and locked, scapula retracted so your chest is pointing to the sky and your lower back arched.
- Row your hands to your upper ribcage, keeping your elbows tucked at your side and not flared outwards. Pull your elbows back as far as possible, maintaining the contraction of your lower back and keeping your shoulders back and chest to the sky.
- Hold the top position. Reverse and lower to the bottom position, keeping scapula retracted.
Why it is important to keep your back arched
Keeping your upper and lower back arched maintains maximal muscular activation and tension. The Lat muscles originate in the lower spinal vertebrae and sacrum. This means the lower muscle fibres work in conjunction with the lower spinal erectors to arch the lower back. In order to receive the most muscular benefit from this exercise this is key.
How to change the muscular focus
By rowing your arms to your chest, you will focus more on the Traps, Rhomboids and Rear Delts. This will build a bigger, thicker upper back.
To focus more on the mid-back, lower Traps and Lower Lats you must bring your arms lower down, towards the ribcage and abs. This will build a wider, thicker mid and lower back – giving you that wide V-taper.
Get yourself a pair of our Power Rings right here