Friday, September 2, 2011

Bow and Arrow for Rear Delts and Lats

Got a new move for ya. I put it in my Circuit Sculpt class this morning, and at first I wasn't too convinced, but then I felt the burn. And ultimately ended up liking it. It's rather easy, only in the sense that you can do it anywhere so long as you have an exercise band. Got access to a cable machine? You can do it on a cable machine, too. Enough delay, let's get to it:

How-To: Bow and Arrow for Rear Delts and Lats
1) Grab an exercise band with a suitable degree of tension. Handles are awesome, but not necessary as evidenced by the photo at right.

(Thanks for letting me borrow it, Woman's Day.)

2) With the handles in your right (pulling) hand, grab at the middle of the band with your left hand and raise your left arm straight out to your side. Hold it there throughout. Bring your right hand up to chest height, keeping your elbow in line with your shoulders. Start with your right hand in your left armpit.

3) Pull with your right hand directly across your chest, creating tension while keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders. Don't let them sag or move toward your back.

4) Repeat until you've reached your desired number of repetitions, then switch sides. (Stay even!)

5) If, after one complete set on each side, you feel as though the band isn't challenging you enough—try another band with more tension, or simply create an extra loop in the band that will ultimately shorten it. This creates additional tension, too.

6) To set this up at a cable machine, secure the cable itself at shoulder height and hook up a single handle. Hold your stationary arm up in the direction of the anchor point as if you were actually holding the anchor point, pulling with the other as described above. Adjust the weight as necessary and keep your shoulders perpendicular to the anchor point (in other words, don't face the cable machine).

It's really important to maintain the form described above. Our shoulders are very sensitive to improper technique. And trust me, shoulder injuries are not fun nor do they go away easily. I speak from mild experience.

Just to refresh: Your deltoid muscles sit right atop your shoulder joint. That cap of muscle that pops when you do shoulder exercises (or wear tank tops). Therefore, your rear delts are simply the back portion of this muscle. Your latissimus dorsi, on the other hand, can be found in your back. They're the big muscles that, when you look at a map of back muscles, look much like wings. Imagine these muscles working as you move through the above to really assure yourself that they're being engaged.

Speaking of engaging, if you're looking for a light lunch that really get the taste buds, try this:

I sauteed some zucchini with a bit of shallot and garlic, then dusted it with fresh black pepper and crushed red pepper. And since I definitely wanted to eat my leftover Sweet Italian chicken sausage, I chopped that up and threw it in the mix, too.

So good. And so easy.

Question: How are your shoulders these days? Do you train them regularly? What's your preferred method of doing so?

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