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The Best Exercise For Supporting Back and Total-Body Strength

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Looking to build the supporting strength of your entire back? I've got an exercise that will do the trick and, surprise, it's not technically a back exercise! What is it? It's the Barbell Squat Support and it's easily described.

Basically, you pile as much weight as you can handle on the bar, using a power rack of course! Do a lockout partial squat and just hold it there for as long as possible. That's it! All you're doing is supporting that weight across your back for as long as you can hold it.

lockout partial squat

lockout partial squat

For this exercise, I HIGHLY recommend using the Manta Ray. Click here for more info on the Manta Ray. It's a plastic molded device that snaps onto the bar and more evenly distributes the weight across a larger area of the back. This thing is a MUST-HAVE for any serious trainer, especially if you're interested in doing very heavy squatting, lockouts or partials.

When doing this exercise, be sure you have a bar rated high enough to take the weight you're using. Most cheaper bars will only go to 600 lbs without bending. You may bend a gym bar permanently if you go higher with this (I've done that so I know it can happen!).

This exercise not only builds all the support structures in your back, the hormonal effects of supporting such a tremendous load can't be emphasized enough. It's really THE best weight-bearing exercise a person can do. Even if you can't do full squats, you'll develop great total-body strength by doing this one. Be sure you're using a good power rack for this with the safety rails set so you only have to squat up a an inch or two to get into position.

This exercise will develop the erector spinae, traps, and every minor spinal supporting muscle all the way down your spine. The load is so great, everything has to contribute in order to support the weight.

When setting the rails, keep in mind that when you go very heavy, the bar will bend (if it's a good bar, it won't be permanent, though). You may need to take this into account when setting safety rail height.

Want to see what this can do for your back development? These are two pictures of my back...I show these not to show off but to show you what kind of solid back development you can get with extremely heavy supports!

Nick Nilsson Back Nick Nilsson Back

 

 


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