How controlling your upper body pull movements with a 1-2-3 tempo builds a diesel upper back and provides structure to keep your shoulders healthy.
Not all muscles are created equal…
Some are built for power and some are built for stability.
The muscles of the upper back and posterior shoulder provide the arms and neck with what I call a ‘Coat of Armor’. This region is critical for shoulder health, producing anterior power, and the overall posture of an athlete.
One thing I truly pride myself on is that my athletes have very well developed upper backs. You see, when working with high school aged athletes our job as strength and conditioning coaches is to develop athletes in a manner which will set them up for long term success. That is why it is so important to focus on the upper back and other postural muscles before you begin to develop the chest and other larger muscle groups.
“The Wider the Base, The Higher the Peak”
I know it is sexy to just bench and do upper body pressing movements, however, it is not what a 14-18 year old athlete needs most. What they need is structure, posture, and the foundation required to be successful in a college strength and conditioning setting.
Knowing that the muscles of the upper back respond best to time under tension and higher reps I have developed the 1-2-3 Method for Upper Back Development.
Again, this is not sexy, and your athletes will look at you a little sideways at first. That said, if you are strict with them and require that they use this method you will see quick results in both upper back size and posture of your athletes.
The 1-2-3 Method is simple…
For all row movements simply have a 1 second concentric, 2 second isometric, and 3 second eccentric.
Make sure that during the isometric phase the athletes is squeezing the upper back tight and during the eccentric phase the muscle remains contracted with a ‘packed’ shoulder.
By using this method, you will see that the athlete is actually using the desired muscle group rather than having a bicep dominate pull movement.
Of course, over time you will want to return back to a more traditional row tempo. However, the slight isometric phase and a controlled eccentric movement should always be emphasized.
Give it a try with your athletes and let me know what you think!