A.S.S. Book Excerpt – Training your back

One of the things that sets apart the ASS method from many others is the frequency of back work. You train your back four times a week on this program. Some people may think this is too much, I think they are full of shit because the back is designed for work.

The entire posterior chain of your body: hamstrings, glutes, back and even triceps are designed for strength, power and stability. If you expect to have a strong, powerful, well balanced physique, you need to make sure those areas are being trained effectively, especially your back.

There isn’t one major lift that isn’t helped greatly by having a strong back. Not one. You can get away with having weaker legs and having a strong bench press. You can have a terrible bench and have an amazing deadlift. You can curl 10 pound DB’s and still have a squat that is awe-inspiring, but you can’t do a damn thing with the weight if your back is lagging behind.


One of the first things to go on people as they age is the back. Knees as well, but it has been said that 2% of the population has a herniated disc and by the age of 50, half the population shows signs of degenerative disc disease. While these may or may not be directly related to the musculature of the back, they are a sign that the back is a terrible thing to waste.

Along with the hamstrings and glutes, the back is a part of the posterior chain. These are not the glamour muscles that some misled trainees prefer to train; you cannot have a strong push without a strong back. It is a shelf for overhead lifts in the way that you activate your lats to help drive the bar upwards.

In the bench press a thicker back will shorten the bar path from chest to lockout and a proper bench technique always includes activating the lats and squeezing the back together as you actively pull the bar to your chest.

There has been debate as to how much the lats help the bench press. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to train them, it just means they aren’t primary movers of the bench. Nobody ever said the lats aren’t needed for a big bench, it is just a debate as to how much they are used for benching as far as the actual act of pressing the bar from your chest.

A strong back supports all lifts, from the squat to the deadlift and the upper body pressing lifts. All you have to do is perform a squat with a back that isn’t tight and you will see for yourself how quickly you fail at weights you can do for reps with a tight back, same as for the deadlift. It’s a no-brainer, building a strong back is essential to lifting progress.

Too many people in the gym push back training off in lieu of training more glamour muscles. I do not have a stat for that, but I know you’ve seen this as well: How many people are doing rows compared to bench or biceps. Furthermore take a look at the “rows” being performed; is anyone really doing them correctly? Hell, are YOU doing them correctly, or are you jerking the bar into your chest like you are performing self CPR

Training the hell out of your back means a stronger, healthier back and bigger lifts. Period.



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