The somewhat elusive “V” shape taper is one of the hallmark characteristics of an outstanding athletic physique. This taper arises from a wide upper back that narrows to small, tight and narrow hips and waist. Most of us are not gifted with such a structure, but with some concentration on the upper back, it is still possible to achieve this V-taper, even if your hips are not particularly narrow.
The fibers of the latissimus dorsi muscle extend from the lower thoracic vertebrae and the iliac crest of the hip, to converge on the upper portion of the humerus bone of the upper arm near the shoulder. The fibers in the latissimus dorsi muscle have several different angles of pull, depending on which part of the bones the fibers attach. When they act together, the latissimus extends the humerus by pulling the upper arm backward and adducting the humerus by bringing the arm toward the center of the body. The lower part of the latissimus dorsi muscle has a direct line of pull when the shoulder is flexed and the upper arm is raised to above a line that is parallel to the floor. Working with the arms directly over the head tends to activate the middle and lower parts of the muscle more effectively.
The teres major muscle provides most of the width of the upper back near the axilla (armpit). It begins on the inferior angle of the scapula (shoulder blade), and it is anchored on the humerus bone very near the attachment site of the latissimus dorsi. Similar to the latissimus dorsi, it extends the humerus when the arm starts in a flexed position (i.e., with the arm forward). Because it begins on the scapula (shoulder blade), it is more completely activated with the arms stretched directly overhead. Therefore, the wide-grip pulldown is perfectly suited to activate this muscle.
The teres minor is really one of the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, but it makes up part of the upper back musculature. It is located just above the teres major muscle and provides the last bit of width in the axilla, just below the shoulder joint. The teres minor begins on the upper part of the lateral border of the scapula bone. It anchors on the inferior part of the greater tubercle of the humerus (the larger bump near the head of the humerus). Contraction of the teres minor rotates the humerus laterally, and similar to other muscles in the rotator cuff, the teres minor helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. Finally, it helps to pull the arm backward into extension, which is its primary role in wide-grip lat pulldowns.
Wide-Grip Lat Bar Pulldowns
Pulldowns on the lat machine stress the extension and abduction functions of the humerus. The extension of the humerus activates the latissimus dorsi and the teres major, teres minor, as well as part of the pectoralis and deltoid muscles.
1. Take a wide, pronated grip (palms facing away from your face) on the lat pulldown bar. Each hand should be about six inches wider than the corresponding shoulder. If you choose an even wider grip, you will improve the stretch of the teres major and minor, and this may assist in developing some additional upper back width. Many studies have shown that muscle stretch under resistance will induce muscle hypertrophy and thickness, so having a wide grip is important. However, the latissimus dorsi may not shorten as much during each contraction with extremely wide hand positions. If you want a good upper back width and good tie-ins to the latissimus at the axilla, then stick with the wide grip; if you are after overall latissimus dorsi development, then a narrower grip may better suit your needs.
2. Sit in the chair of the lat pulldown machine and position the thigh-stabilizing pad across the anterior section of the middle region of both thighs, above the knees. The pad should fit snugly on the thighs and prevent your body from lifting from the seat when doing the exercise.
3. Pull the bar down to the top of the chest as you exhale. Make sure your head is pulled backward enough to avoid a collision of your chin with the bar. As the bar is approaching your chest, arch the upper back slightly while you draw your elbows back as far as possible. The extra arch will increase the elbow movement and this will more fully activate the teres muscles by increasing the range of motion.
4. Hold the lat bar at the chest level and squeeze the scapula together for two to three seconds. This position emphases the arm extension, and the squeeze (abduction) functions will fatigue the upper back muscles quickly.
5. Slowly return the bar to the starting position over your head as you inhale. Keep tension on the muscles by preventing the weight stack that you are lifting from touching the remaining stack at the top of the movement.
6. Pause two to three seconds at the top of the movement. The upper back muscles will be fully stretched in this position. Do not allow the weight to “jerk” your shoulders upward at the end of each repetition, otherwise you may overstretch the rotator cuff muscles and destabilize your shoulders. After this stretch-pause, continue to the next repetition by pulling the bar to the chest and repeat the rest of the set in the same manner.
The stretch-pause at the top of each repetition will quickly transform a good, basic exercise into a superb exercise for building upper back width. The wide-grip lat pulldown directly targets and provides greater width to the top part of your “V.” With persistence, your upper back will widen enough to force you to do some wardrobe shopping to properly fit your enhanced V-taper. And this summer, your new wider back-to-hip taper may cause more than a few heads to turn at the beach.
Moore KL and AF Dalley II. Clinical Orientated Anatomy. Fourth Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1999 691-720.
Inoue T, Suzuki S, Hagiwara R, Iwata M, Banno Y, Okita, M. Effects of passive stretching on muscle injury and HSP expression during recovery after immobilization in rats. Pathobiology, 76:253-259; 2009.
Snyder BJ, Leech JR. Voluntary increase in latissimus dorsi muscle activity during the lat pull-down following expert instruction. J Strength Cond Res, 23:2204-2209; 2009.
Tanimoto M, Sanada K, Yamamoto K, Kawano H, Gando Y, Tabata I, Ishii N, Miyachi, M. Effects of whole-body low-intensity resistance training with slow movement and tonic force generation on muscular size and strength in young men. J Strength Cond Res, 22:1926-1938; 2008.
Lehman GJ, Buchan DD, Lundy A, Myers N and Nalborczyk A. Variations in muscle activation levels during traditional latissimus dorsi weight training exercises: An experimental study. Dyn Med, 3: 4, 2004.
Signorile JF, Zink AJ and Szwed SP. A comparative electromyographical investigation of muscle utilization patterns using various hand positions during the lat pull-down. J Strength Cond Res, 16: 539-546, 2002.
The post Get a V-Taper With Lat Pulldowns appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Get a V-Taper With Lat Pulldowns
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/get-a-v-taper-with-lat-pulldowns/
Published Date: Mon, 24 May 2021 18:16:20 +0000
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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.
Active Muscles in Leg Extensions
The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1
Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.
The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.
The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.
The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.
1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.
2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.
3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).
4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.
5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.
6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.
7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.
8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.
The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6
Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.
This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.
1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.
2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.
3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.
4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.
5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.
6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.
7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.
8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.
9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.
The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/ripped-leg-blast-for-carved-thighs/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000
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The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/nutrition/supplements/preworkout/primal-preworkout/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000
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