Summer has arrived. School’s out and you’re ready to make a meaningful change this year. Often, you have focused on relationships, schoolwork, career… but not this year! Your goal this summer is to pack on some serious back mass, the old fashioned way: hard work! Check out six changes you can make this summer to build a noticeably thicker back in just three months.
First off, you should accept the fact that you’re going to gain some weight this summer. Nobody ever added ten pound of beef to their back without adding ten pounds to what the scale reads. It’s inevitable and a standard part of the beefing-up progress. Your abs may blur out for a few weeks as you stack on the calories, but if you’re working hard enough, the muscle you gain will be well worth it. Don’t add on the calories by adding junk food, however. “Bulking” is so 1992. Rather, work to IMPROVE your current diet by adding progressively larger servings of the right kinds of foods. That means heaping servings of beef, chicken, potatoes, skim milk, brown rice, yams, and lots of eggs. Toss in 1 to 3 protein shakes each day as well. A surplus of 500 calories each day will equate to a gain of 1 pound of pure muscle each week, provided you are training hard enough. Speaking of that…
It’s time to train heavy. It’s time to use cast iron weights and body weight and avoid those cable-based stations as much as possible. That means you’ll be mainly working with movements such as deadlifts, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, T-Bar rows, and pull-ups. You will be using heavy weights which only allow you to complete 4 to 8 repetitions before your muscles fail you. Never fear, you can still place the higher repetition cable and machine work at the tail end of your workout, after you’ve endured 12 to 15 sets of heavy metal torture. Cable rowing, pulldowns, and the myriad of back machine movements can be placed there. Train with 3-4 sets per exercise in a slow, deliberate and controlled manner, working to feel each repetition.
Supplements will never do the job for you. There will still be a great deal of training, nutrition, and recovery that you must face on your own. Supplements will, however, give you an added boost for training, a bit more size when lifting heavy, and a touch of assistance when it comes to recovery. They may only add 3% to the mix when compared to the larger factors. However, as you grow from beginner to intermediate to elite, you’ll quickly discover that progress arrives slower ever year and that added 3% can be the difference between 1st and 5th place in a bodybuilding or physique competition. Do your research, buy quality and record your results so you can learn what works best for you and your body!
Many athletes will attempt to add a heavy, complex training system to their already packed life. After facing the daily grind of work, school, house duties, family, children, relationships… there often isn’t much gas left in the tank to endure 60 to 75 minutes of brutal back training, or any other muscle group, for that matter. For this reason, you should only attempt to add an intense back training system to your daily schedule once you have planned your weeks, giving yourself not only the time to train, but to recover as well. In addition to the 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep you will require each night to recovery, your body will also enjoy some “down time” to just relax and heal the central nervous system so your energy levels stay high and you don’t get sick. Keep your immune system strong with lots of rest and you’ll never miss a gym session!
You will want to monitor your progress throughout the summer to see just how much improvement you’re actually making to your back. Take pictures twice a week. Flex for 2-3 minutes at a time to pull out detail before doing so. You should also be measuring your torso thickness around the nipple area. The scale will show some gradual upticking. Keep an eye on your waistline to ensure you aren’t gaining fat. If you start adding fat in that region, you can scale back the calories and perhaps add a bit of cardio to your week. You can’t change the world in a summer, but you certainly can change the way your body is perceived by everyone around you. Good luck!