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Old 05-25-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
Emily Mattes
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Default Favorite mid-back exercise (isometric focus)

My upper-back is pretty developed, my lower back is pretty strong, but when pulling off the ground I buckle in the middle.

What are your favorite exercises to fix this? Should I focus on isometric stuff, like snatch-grip RDLs, good mornings, and back extensions? Kroc rows? Everything at once? I'm hearing and reading a lot of different things on whether I need more isometric work, hypertrophy, pulling off plates, or what.
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:20 AM   #2
Geoffrey Thompson
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What's your goal here? The answer is different for powerlifters and weightlifters. The powerlifter might want to consider using roundback deadlift form (embracing the buckling rather than fixing it). But I think you're a weightlifter. How bad is it? Only for max cleans?
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:17 AM   #3
Brian DeGennaro
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I like rows, DB or BB, and deadlifts to the knee (snatch or clean grip) with a BIG focus on big chest and set back. Repetitions are good to build the endurance, I like to do upwards of 5-10 reps on the deadlifts and sometimes 20 on the rows. They've definitely helped me with the same exact problem you have.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:23 AM   #4
John Alston
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Big fan of db rows here. Lots of ways to do them. The one heavy long set, ala Kroc is a great finisher, you feel it right away. I also like the run the rack, where you start with light weight and move up, lowering the reps along the way, until you finish with some singles, minimal rest along the way. Done at the end of a workout it's solid.
Also, honestly, if you've already done a squat/push/pull intensive workout, I have found the hammer seated low row hits the middle back perfectly. Yes, a machine, but after squatting, pulling, and pressing I don't always feel the need to hit my lower back with more isometric work as it would get during a barbell row.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
Dave Van Skike
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Big fan of db rows here. Lots of ways to do them. The one heavy long set, ala Kroc is a great finisher, you feel it right away. I also like the run the rack, where you start with light weight and move up, lowering the reps along the way, until you finish with some singles, minimal rest along the way. Done at the end of a workout it's solid.
Also, honestly, if you've already done a squat/push/pull intensive workout, I have found the hammer seated low row hits the middle back perfectly. Yes, a machine, but after squatting, pulling, and pressing I don't always feel the need to hit my lower back with more isometric work as it would get during a barbell row.
+2 for the hammer row machine. doing them rest pause style gets a lot of work done quickly...wake up call for the midback, i walk around very aware of my posture after doing them.

if you were a powerlifter, i'd suggest heavy sloppy barbell rows. those are great.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:40 AM   #6
Alex Bond
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I also like machine rows, especially ones where the bar path of the machine is similar to the bar path of the bench press. The guy who owns my gym is a 500# raw bencher, and he swears by these for helping out the bench. Obviously, a weightlifter doesn't really care about carryover to the bench, but it's not nothing. I like to do the machine rows fairly strict and for 5s, then do sloppier DB rows for high reps.

Frankly, though, if you are buckling in your pull off the ground, then pull off the ground more. Deadlifts, snatch grip deadlifts, etc. A good trick might be to find out at what height the bar is at when your back buckles, then deadlift the bar to that height and just hold it there for a second or two.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
Ian Gallimore
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Nothing has ever given me back strength like heavy, high rep (30-50) dumbell rows, using straps if necessary, with the opposite hand resting on the knee rather than on a bench and making sure you retract the scapulae at the top. The end result is being able to pull my max deadlift (210kg) off the ground with an upper back that's just as flat as if I was pulling 60kg. As an added bonus doing them with the opposite hand on the knee also gets in some decent ab work. Last year that was the only upper/mid back work I did, and I put 30kg on my dead in that time.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:40 AM   #8
Brian DeGennaro
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That's how I do all my DB rows too. The Chinese apparently like them in that fashion as well.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:07 PM   #9
John Alston
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That's how I do all my DB rows too. The Chinese apparently like them in that fashion as well.
yeah, Chinese row is high and way back I think, more rear delt even? Kroc row is more mid back and lower, but heavier.

Both have their fun. When at home I do the Chinese style with my 60lb db.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:28 PM   #10
Donald Lee
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If lower back fatigue is an issue, you could also do them while lying face down on an incline bench. I know some powerlifters do something like that (with barbells) when they run out of weight on the machines and don't want to fatigue their lower backs.
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