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Upper-Body Mass From the Back

Q: In the Positions-of-Flexion exercise matrix [in 3D Muscle Building] you don’t have any midrange moves listed for midback. Instead you say, “covered with lat midrange work.” But I know I’ve seen behind-the-neck pulldowns in some of your workouts as a midrange exercise. Should I not use it? Is it dangerous?

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #705:
Upper-Body Mass From the Back


Q: In the Positions-of-Flexion exercise matrix [in 3D Muscle Building] you don’t have any midrange moves listed for midback. Instead you say, “covered with lat midrange work.” But I know I’ve seen behind-the-neck pulldowns in some of your workouts as a midrange exercise. Should I not use it? Is it dangerous?

A: Doing pulldowns behind your neck can be dangerous–if you train heavy and pull the bar too low or jerk the bar down.

We usually don’t recommend it, but we DO use it every so often. But for extra safety purposes we do it at the END of our back workout.

When you save behind-the-neck pulldowns till the end, you have lots of fatigue in your back and even arms, so you have to use a lot less weight. For shoulder safety, keep these performance tips in mind…

1) Never relax your shoulders at the top–that means don’t lock out our elbows and extend your arms

2) Do not jerk the weight down–from an arms-slightly-bent position, pull down smoothly, head tilted forward

3) Stop the downward pull when the bar is at ear level–not all the way to the base of your neck

4) When you’re in that “double-biceps” position, squeeze your scapulae for a count

5) Once again, do behind-the-neck pulldowns as one of your LAST back exercises in your routine

As you can see from this shot of Mike Mentzer, the middle trap fibers do run downward, so any pulldown or chin-up will involve that muscle. While a behind-the-neck version may allow for better fiber activation, if the exercise hurts our shoulder joint, do NOT do it. Period.

By the way, if shoulder pain is “hurting” your workouts–and possibly disrupting your sleep–we highly recommend Rick Kaselj’s program…

Fix My Shoulder Pain <== Go here to check it out.

You may even want to use Pre-Ex 3X to help limit the poundage on behind-the-neck pulldowns even further…

In that case you could use bent-arm bent-over laterals first, then immediately go to behind-the-neck pulldowns–with the form recommendations above.

If your shoulders don’t feel out of whack, it’s a focused midback mass attack.


Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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Latest Release–> The Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout—Plus Drop-Set 4X, Rest/Pause 4X and the Perfect Mass-Building Split. This e-book merges the pre-exhaustion muscle-size method with 4X style mass training. 3 complete programs, including modified Pre-Ex 3X, no supersets required. Also, how Mike Mentzer used pre-ex and how you can alter it to get massive gains WITHOUT anabolic steroids or overtraining–just BIG-MASS gaining.


To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.


This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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