Every athlete playing at an elite level has someone who’s had their back all along. Parents that spent a decade or more sitting in parking lots waiting for practices to be over. Coaches who drove you harder then the other guys on the team because he saw something special in you. Close friends who gave you a hard time about not going to the Friday night parties but knew that you had bigger & better things to do like take batting practice, work on hitting receivers, take 1000 free throws, and hit the gym… HARD! All the greats have someone who has their back. Rocky had Mickey. Nuke had Crash. Danielson had Mr. Miyagi. Rudy had Notre Dame & Notre Dame had Rudy. I’m sure that right now you are thinking about who had/has your back. But do you have your own back? Huh? When you get into the weight room to crush a workout do you have your own back? It’s not really a trick question but if you are confused you are probably guilty of neglect. How many times have you been asked how much you can bench or squat? I’m going to guess it’s been more times then you can count. You might have been asked how much you can deadlift a time or two. And I bet you’ve never been asked how much you can row, right? When you check out your muscles in the mirror (and yes, you know you do) what do you flex? Chest, Bi’s, Tri’s, Abs, maybe Quads, right? What about your rhomboids & hamstrings? Yeah, I didn’t think so. So it’s a good thing I’ve got your back because you sure don’t! I have a very simple rule for my athletes. If you can see the muscle in the mirror I don’t care about it. The muscles that are out of sight when you look in the mirror are the ones that are going to take you from an average athlete to an awesome one. When you are planning your workout do yourself a favor and plan twice as much work for the muscles in the back of your body as you do for the muscles on the front of your body. If you are going to do 4 sets of bench press make sure you are doing 8 sets of back work. If you are doing 3 sets of flys add in 3 sets each of rear flys and face pulls. Three sets of “ab work” needs 6 sets of glute/low back work so hit your back extensions and hip extenstions. It’s really a pretty simple solution to a serious problem that shows up in every gym across the nation. Here’s a sample back workout to get you moving in the right direction… I told you I had your back ;-) Chin Ups 4 sets of max reps (wear a weight vest if you can get more then 8 reps) Wide Grip Pull Downs 2 Sets of 15-20 reps Superset with Band Pull Aparts 2 Sets of 15-20 Reps 3 Giant Sets of 10 Reps of Each Of The Following: Barbell Bent Over Row Barbell High Pull Supermans Bent Leg Hip Extensions Face Pulls Not only will this workout increase your athletic ability, it will also set your shoulders for better rotation in their socket for all of your other lifts. So even if you don’t care about being an athlete anymore, training your posterior chain properly will help you increase your bench press & squats so you don’t have to lie about them anymore when the gym rats ask, “What’s your bench/squat?” Dan Huff is a NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a YMCA Strength Training Instructor. He is in his 10th year as a head strength and conditioning coach at the NCAA Division I level. Aside from all that, he’s a husband, a father to two kids and a dog.