The back is the most utilized yet under appreciated muscle group of the body. In the sport of powerlifting it is active in all three lifts, much to the not knowing of many. When properly employed, it contributes to a nearly immediate addition of weight to the squat, bench, and deadlift.
The Squat - A lesser know or addressed cue in the squat is to ‘keep it (the bar) locked down’. This is in reference to both he high and low bar variations of the straight bar squat and is targeted toward contracting the lats down to lock the back into the upper back.
The Bench - Many coaches talk about using the back to bench. To activate the lats, imagine while your re lying on the bench bar in hand, bending the barbell with tight pinky fingers.
The Deadlift (sumo AND conventional) - Keeping the back close is key, to achieve this, keep the arms loose and long while using these straight arms to ‘pull’ the barbell into the legs. Additionally, focus on reaching the lower sternum up during the set-up. This will cue in the upper back and middle erectors to the proper position which in turn keeps the bar close to the pocket.
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