THE ULTIMATE UPPER BODY

Our 2006 Men’ Health poster series s delivers the results you want in the time you have— with workouts from the world’ top experts. s This month: Chisel your back. BY M YAT T M U R P H Y
YOUR GOAL: A BIGGER, S TRONGER BACK YOUR TIME : 25 MINUTES
When it comes to back exercises, most men favor pullups and lat pulldowns. It’s no wonder, since these two movements primarily target the latissimus dorsi (a.k.a. lats), your largest back muscle. And that probably explains why the average guy’s back workout rarely consists of anything else. Trouble is, “largest” doesn’t mean “only.” Think of it this way: Focusing solely on your lats is sort of like working your chest but skipping your abs; and you’d never treat your “front” that way. “Training the muscles surrounding your lats, particularly your rhomboid and trapezius muscles, will quickly add strength and size to your upper body,” says C.J. Murphy, owner of Total Performance Sports, in Everett, Massachusetts. Your rhomboids and trapezius stabilize your shoulder blades, which allow your shoulder joints to move your arms in every direction. By developing these muscles, you’ll add mass to your upper back and rear shoulders, and see improvements in every upper-body lift. Complete Murphy’s routine once a week.

2006 POSTER SERIES BUILD A BETTER BODY

THE PAYOFF
BIGGER MUSCLE This workout trains your rear deltoids, rhomboids, and trapezius—all commonly neglected muscles of your upper body. By shoring up these weak spots, you’ll pack on muscle and build a more symmetrical physique. A WIDER UPPER BACK The pullup and lat pulldown in this workout are slightly different from standard versions. You’ll initiate each move by sliding your shoulder blades down. This allows your lats to contract through a larger range of motion, so they develop fully. TOTAL-BODY STRENGTH The deadlift is more than just a muscle builder for your lower back and hamstrings. It strengthens your back from top to bottom and conditions your “posterior chain”—all the muscles on the back of your body—to work in coordination.

2006 Poster Series Build a Better Body
WORKOUT 1 (WEEK 1)

T HE ULT IM AT E UP P E R B ODY
WORKOUT 2 (WEEK 2) WORKOUT 3 (WEEK 3) WORKOUT 4 (WEEK 4)

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1 DEADLIFT
See the deadlift in Workout 1 for an exercise description and photos. The plan: Do three sets of five repetitions using the heaviest weight that allows you to maintain perfect form. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.
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1 DEADLIFT
Stand with a barbell on the floor in front of you, with the bar over your toes. Bend your knees and grasp the bar with an alternating grip (one palm toward you, the other facing away), your hands just outside your knees. Keeping your head and back straight, stand up. Keep the bar close to your body as you lift it. Slowly lower the bar. The plan: Do three sets of three reps using the heaviest weight that allows for perfect form. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

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1 FACE PULL 1 SCAPUL A PULLDOWN
Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grab the bar overhead. Keeping your arms straight, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then down. This movement is very slight. Pause, then allow your shoulder blades to rise to return the bar to the starting position. The plan: Do 10 reps. Move to the next exercise without resting. Stand facing a lat-pulldown machine and grasp the bar above with an overhand grip. Stagger your feet and place your front foot on the seat in front of you. Lean back as far as you can without arching your back. Pull your shoulders back, then pull the bar toward you until it’s in front of your nose. Allow your arms to straighten slowly to return to the starting position. The plan: This is the first move in a circuit. Do six reps, then move on. Do eight reps when you repeat the circuit. Do 10 reps the third time around.

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2 INVERTED ROW
Sit under a Smith machine or squat rack with your legs straight and a bar set a few inches higher than arm’s length. Grab the bar overhand, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body straight, pull your chest to the bar. Pause, then lower yourself. The plan: Perform this exercise and the next (the lat pulldown) as a superset. Do 10 repetitions of each.

2 L AT PULLDOWN
See Workout 2 for an exercise description and photos. The plan: Do eight repetitions, then move to the next exercise in the circuit (the back raise). When you repeat this move, do 10 reps. In the third circuit, do 15.

3 BACK R AISE
See Workout 1 for technique. The plan: Do 10 reps, then rest for 90 seconds. Repeat the series two more times, resting 90 seconds after each circuit. When you repeat this exercise, do 12 reps. Do 15 reps for your final set.

2 PULLUP
Grab a chinup bar with an overhand grip (palms forward), your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Hang with your arms straight, then pull your shoulder blades down. Pull your chest to the bar. Pause, then lower yourself to the starting position. The plan: Do six to eight reps. Perform this move and the next as a superset. That is, move from one exercise to the other without rest.
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BENCHMARK OF SUCCESS 2 BARBELL SHRUG
Stand holding a loaded barbell with an overhand grip in front of your thighs. Keeping your arms straight, raise your shoulders toward your ears. Pause when your shoulders are as high as they can go, then push them down as far as possible. That’s one repetition. The plan: Do 12 reps. Move to the next exercise without resting.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?
The inverted row tests the strength of your back and rear shoulders, and also requires a solid grip—a key factor in upper-body pulling movements. See Workout 2 (at left) for an exercise description and photos. Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, but don’t sacrifice technique for speed. If at any time your form falters (for example, if your butt sags, your back arches, your chest doesn’t touch the bar, or your arms fail to straighten fully), stop and record the number of reps you were able to complete with good form.
Photographs by

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Record the number of repetitions you performed in the inverted-row test. Then follow this workout and retest yourself every week. Go to MensHealth. com/poster for more fitness tips and workouts.

3 L AT PULLDOWN
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3 BACK R AISE
See Workout 1 for an exercise description and photos. The plan: Do 12 repetitions, then rest for 90 seconds. Repeat this circuit (scapula pulldown, barbell shrug, back raise) three more times, for a total of four circuits, resting for 90 seconds after each circuit.

Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your head and back straight, pull your shoulder blades 4 down, then pull the bar to your chest. Slowly let the bar rise. The plan: Do 10 to 12 reps, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat the superset two more times, for a total of three sets.

START

[REPE T I T IONS]

WEEK 1

[REPE T I T IONS]

WEIGHTS & MEASURES

3 BACK R AISE
Position yourself in a back-extension station, and hook your feet under the leg anchor. With your upper thighs resting on the pad, lock your hands behind your head and bend forward at the hips until your upper body is just short of perpendicular to the floor. Slowly raise your torso until it’s in line with your lower body, then lower it. The plan: Do six to eight repetitions, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat the superset two more times, for a total of three sets.

P ER C EN TAG E O F M EN W H O W O U L D L IK E TO DOUBLE T H E IR U P P ER- B O DY MUSCLE MASS

16

Percentage of men who spend more time training their chest and abs than their back

42

PERCENTAGE OF GUYS WHO HAVE NEVER PERFORMED A DEADLIFT

29

Most weight (in pounds) deadlifted in competition, by Andy Bolton in 2006

971

WEEK 2

[REPE T I T IONS]

WEEK 3

[REPE T I T IONS]

FINISH

[REPE T I T IONS]

B E T H B I S C H O F F,

grooming: Melanie Harris/Oliver Piro