AN UNSTABLE GRIP CAN KILL THE MIND/MUSCLE CONNECTION.
BIG BACK GRIPS USER PROFILE INTERVIEW: JUSTIN HAYWARD
JUSTIN HAYWARD SHARES HIS BACK WORKOUT.
Justin Hayward is a 23-year-old Boston native who started training for competitive bodybuilding when he was 16. He takes bodybuilding very seriously and has the muscle gains and physique contest results to prove it. In 2008 he took 3rd Place, Teen Division, in the Bev Francis Atlantic States Bodybuilding Championships. He also took 2nd Place, Teen Division, in the 2008 NPC Long Island Bodybuilding Championships. Justin is 6’2”, and considers 210 a good competition weight – for now! Off-season he can carry upwards of 250 lbs. Justin’s immediate goals are improving his own physique and helping other competitors with their bodybuilding careers.
Justin graduated from Hofstra University on Long Island in the spring of 2010 with a degree in business and communications. He has worked at ShreddedRx, the sports supplement retailer, and Big Back Grips dealer, in East Meadow, Long Island. He also worked three years as a rep for Anabolic Xtreme. He now manages a chiropractic office and provides personal training. He was one of the founders of Shredded-RX. You can find his personal training services through www.newstarathletics.com.
Justin is also a fan of Big Back Lifting Grips. “An unstable or uncomfortable grip on the bar can really kill that mind/muscle connection,” he says. “I found Big Back Grips on Facebook and liked them as soon as I tried them.” He tells us Big Backs grab the bar better than anything else he’s tried so he’s not constantly adjusting his grip throughout his set. Why doesn’t he use one of the fancier solutions like lifting straps or weightlifting gloves?
“Weight lifting gloves don’t grip weights. They slide right off. And lifting straps strangle and pull at the wrist joints. You see a lot of bruised wrists among strap users. Not good. And bare hands sweat and calluses from lifting tear. Big Back Grips are a pretty simple way to go, but they work better than anything I’ve tried and let me focus on the muscle I’m training. That’s all I really need.” We also asked Justin if he has an approach to working back he’d like to share. This is what he sent us.
My Back Workout by Justin Hayward
There are so many issues that people have in developing the perfect looking back. Their waists could be too big which takes away from their taper; or they don’t have the valleys and mountains that great detailed muscular backs possess; or they just don’t have enough mass!
What makes training back different?
The challenge you face is the number of different muscles that create the width and thickness of a really muscular back. Plus all the secondary muscles that activating the back’s complex machinery requires. The basic movements of upper back training involve pulling the upper arms, from any angle, in toward your torso, and pulling the shoulders back (the “squeeze.”) Yet just counting the superficial back muscles – just the ones that show – you’re working the trapezius, the rhomboid major and minor, the infraspinatus, the teres major and minor and the latissimus dorsi. You’re also involving the rear deltoids and biceps and the muscles of the forearms, palms and fingers as your hands wrap around whatever you’re grasping to pull that weight toward you. And your back includes your lower back, a fact many lifters seem to forget.
With all these muscles to think about when doing your back workout, form, focus and maintaining that “mind to muscle connection” throughout the entire set is key. The “distraction point” for many people is their grip. There is nothing more counterproductive to working back than slippery palms, torn calluses and constant grip readjustments when all you’re trying to do is work your back. If “grip fatigue” sets in before genuine lat, trap and rhomboid fatigue, you will simply not have the great back workout you need for real muscle growth. So a solid, comfortable grip on the barbell or lat handle is essential. One thing I recommend doing is taking a “thumbs over-the bar” grip (thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers, not wrapped around like an “O”) on many exercises to take pressure off the biceps and forearm muscles. Image captions: