If you want a great looking back, then it needs to be strong. And one of the best ways to get a strong back is to train it in a variety of ways. Let’s look at one of Mike Chang’s solutions for training your back in a variety of ways.
Video Title: How to Workout to Target LOWER BACK vs UPPER BACK
Video Description (summary): “When you want to work upper back you squeeze in and end your pulling motion at the top of your chest. But if you want to work lower back you pull towards your stomach. It doesn’t matter what exercise it is… pull ups, lat pull downs, etc… you can adjust it to work different parts of your back… Advanced Strategy: The way you work different parts of your upper back all depends on the angles that you’re pulling. This principle is universal, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing…”
If you believe everything Mike says in this video, then I’m sorry to have to break the news to you. But you are gullible. It’s okay, though. Most people are ignorant about such things. But hopefully anyone with half a brain knows that your back is meant for more than just pulling things. Because if you believe that your back is only meant for pulling, then you are sadly mistaken. I’m not sure if Mike is mistaken, or if he misspoke, or something else. But a lot of what he said in this video is flat-out wrong. So, don’t believe everything you hear from anyone (even me). Do your due diligence. Think critically. You know the drill.
Now, Mike does demonstrate the point that changing how you move (e.g. changing the direction or angle of a pulling exercise, for instance) will change how your musculature is used, and thus, stimulated. And it’s true that pulling towards your chest/shoulders/neck area is generally going to target your upper back musculature a little more than your mid-back musculature. And if you pull towards your ribs/stomach/waist area, it’s going to target your mid-back musculature a little more than your upper back. But to think that the back is only meant for pulling is very narrow-minded, indeed.
That said, it’s certainly beneficial to use a variety of pulling exercises. You don’t want to specialize in just one or two. And you want to make sure that you train your whole back – not just focusing on one or two areas. We get the best results when we train systemically. That is, when you train the whole body – not just certain areas of certain muscle groups. So, Mike isn’t totally wrong in his recommendations. It’s just important to understand the big picture. Carry on.
Note: the following question was left on this post, and I thought I’d answer it here.
Question: “Hi mike i want to ask u about bicep muscle difference how to make left bicep is perfect my right is fine plz help” -Tahir
Answer: So, if I understand you correctly, one of your biceps is bigger/better than your other bicep. This is totally normal and very common. Most people have a dominant side and this will result in disparities in your muscle development all throughout your body. For example, if you’re right handed, it’s likely that your right arm is bigger and stronger than your left arm.
The simplest way to correct an imbalance like this is to train with unilateral exercises (e.g. doing bicep curls with dumbbells instead of a barbell). If you train each arm independently, you’ll weaker muscle will be more likely to catch up with your dominant side. On the other hand, if you’re always training with bilateral exercises (i.e. using both arms at the same time or with the same tool, etc.), then your stronger side might take over more of the workload.
So, here are some ideas for different exercises you can do to help your biceps even out…
- One-arm dumbbell rows
- One-arm cable rows
- Assisted one-arm chin-ups
- One-arm standing or seated dumbbell curls
- Alternating dumbbell curls
- Dumbbell concentration curls
- One-arm dumbbell preacher curls
- One-arm cable curls
I’d recommend swapping out some of your current bilateral arm exercises for some unilateral ones. You don’t have to replace all of them, necessarily, but doing some focused unilateral work will definitely help.
Also, don’t make the mistake of adding even more training volume and intensity on top of your current program. You don’t want to run the risk of over-training your under-developed arm. Keep your training volume and intensity in line with what you’ve been doing recently. Just change the types of exercises and the focus of your training.
While you’re performing your exercises, try to strengthen the mind-muscle connection of your weaker arm by focusing on the contraction on that side. Think about performing each rep smoothly and slowly, and squeezing your biceps hard during the most difficult portion of the ROM. For example, during a dumbbell curl, squeeze your biceps hard in the top position, when your elbow is fully flexed. This will help to improve the neural efficiency of your bicep muscles, which will help them activate more muscle fibers and contract harder (which equals more strength and size down the road).
Most people can self-correct major disparities in muscle size using the strategies above. But in some cases, additional help may be needed, especially if you’re noticing pain or an injury developing on your weaker side. And that’s when it’d be a good idea to enlist the help of a competent professional.
Note: if you have any further questions, feel free to Contact Me.
I have been watching all of your videos and love everything you have to say. I am currently 240 lbs and am 5’11 – 6’0 tall. I want to cut down fat and get lean muscle, just like your body. I am just confused at what I am supposed to do. When gaining muscle I know you have to eat more calories than you burn, but when you lose weight you need a calorie deficit. What is a good workout schedule? I talked to somebody named Chet Yorton (ex-body builder in the 60’s) but his workouts seemed very intense and would last me upwards of 2 hours.
Basically this is my workout so far…every workout includes 30-45 minutes of raquetball and 8-10 minutes of core.
Incline Bench Press
Decline Bench Press
Tricep Pull Down
Bent Over Row
Wednesday Push workout
Thursday Pull workout
Friday & saturday off
Also for every workout I do 3 sets of 8-10 reps
I want to, if possible, to get in and out of the gym within 60-75 minutes would be ideal of an intense workout.
Also as for eating I am eating at a deficit (online it says I need 3800 calories to maintain my weight so I eat anywhere between 2800-3000)
My goal is to get my weight to 190lbs and add 20lbs of muscle to make it 210 lbs if that makes any sense..
Thank you so much and I hope to hear back from you as soon as possible!
Building muscle is an extremely challenging goal. In fact, many would consider sustainable hypertrophy to be the most difficult of all body composition goals. So, it’s a good idea to focus on the weight loss first. In comparison, it’ll be a lot easier. So, at the very least, I recommend that you get down to your goal weight before switching to hypertrophy. You’ll have to maintain the calorie deficit – 2800-3000 calories per day is a good general range if 3800 if your maintenance level, and I wouldn’t go much lower than that for very long. But pay attention to how your body responds. You may be able to play around with the numbers to improve your results. And with the right training and nutrition, you can ensure that most of the weight you lose is fat.
The workout program you’re using will absolutely help you lose fat if your nutrition is up to par. The key is that you’re continually trying to make progress in the gym – getting stronger, doing more total work, resting less, etc. The racquetball will help with the fat loss, too, but some other cardio training wouldn’t hurt either (walking, running, cycling, skipping rope, etc.). Ideally, you’ll work your way up to doing some form of cardio training almost daily (i.e. six days per week is a good rule of thumb to maximize fat loss).
After you get down to the 200ish range, I’d say it’s time to start focusing on muscle building. And yes, you’ll need to be in a calorie surplus for that to happen.
Keep in mind that your program will work for awhile, but eventually, you’ll need to change some things to keep making progress. You could change the exercises you do, the sets/reps you use, or what kind of split you perform (e.g. upper/lower split, or 3 full body workouts per week, etc.), among other things. The point is that nothing will work indefinitely, and you’ll need to pay attention to your results to evaluate when it’s time to change something.
If you’d like a complete body transformation program to help you build muscle and get six pack abs, check out my review of the Six Pack Shortcuts program.