Is your Christmas tree up in your living room in your house? Do you want some tips on how you can grow your very own Christmas tree that you can take with you wherever you go? I'm not talking about an actual tree itself, instead I am talking about the muscles you have on your back that when worked hard enough will resemble a Christmas Tree. Look at the picture below and check out the back muscles on this guy that make up a Christmas tree at the bottom of his back, can you see it? I want to give you some great exercises which will enhance your back muscles and give you this type of look.
You should know that when you are performing your back exercises it is important that you vary your grips, reps, sets, tempo and weight so that you work it hard enough. The back is a huge area with lots of muscles and you need to make sure you are hitting them to create your very own Christmas tree. Make sure you squeeze every repetition that you put your body through, no cheat reps and use good form at all times. A final tip is it is always good to arch your back during certain exercises where you can contract the muscles a bit more. During exercises such as a seated row or a pull up will require you to recruit a lot of your back muscles and if you arch your back slightly you could get a better contraction of these muscles. Take on board these tips when you next work your back.
The back muscles which help give you the Christmas tree effect are working the lower lats and performing different types of rows and pulldowns which will target the muscles around the spine. Working the erector spinae muscles will also encourage good growth around the lower part of your back. Separation is key, and you are only likely to see your very own Christmas tree with low body fat, so if you are like myself and keep relatively lean all year round, you will light up your back with your own tree.
The Exercises - 8-12 reps / 3-4 Sets / Include SuperSets
Use a narrow grip v bar and perform a seated row. Sit with your back straight and when you row the bar into your mid drift, slightly arch your back so you work the muscles further. I want you to squeeze each rep and imagine if there is a pencil in between your shoulder blades and you are squeezing this pencil. Every rep I want you to squeeze so that you work your muscles to their maximum. Yes, the seated row hits your upper back, but if you arch the lower back and squeeze, you will work the lower part of it too.
V bar Pull Ups
Use the same apparatus that you used for you seated row and place this on a chip up bar. I want you to perform a narrow grip pullup and as you reach the top of the bar, yet again I want you to arch your back so that there is more of a focus around the lower part of your back. You could even superset these two exercises together and really feel the burn in you back.
Under Hand, Close Grip pull downs
Use the Lat pulldown machine and use the long straight bar. Instead of using a wide, overhand grip, use an under hand, close hand grip when performing each repetition. When you pull the bar to the top of your chest, again I want you to arch your lower back and squeeze those muscles in your back. Bring the elbows down passed your back and this will ultimately work the lower lats and develop more thickness in the lower part of the back.
T Bar Row
Yet again I want you to use the v bar which you have used for your seated row and pull ups. Use an Olympic barbell and put the v bar through the bar and adopt a squat over the bar holding it by the v bar. Load the bar with your weights and row the bar into your mid drift. Arch your back slightly again and really squeeze your elbows together as you bring the weight into your chest. Why not super set these two exercises again for a greater impact on your body.
These four exercises alone will work your back muscles like never before, just by making small adjustments. Arching the back and squeezing the muscles makes a massive difference that is sometimes forgotten. It might not sound like much and reading this you might think you are squeezing each muscle. I want you to really focus in the gym and concentrate fully on what you are doing. Arch, squeeze and reap the rewards. You never know, doing these small things could be the difference in having your very own Christmas tree muscle definition. Give it a go the next time you train your back muscles and don't forget to have a pose in the mirror :)