Have you always wanted to achieve that thick, diced, lower-back? Say no more!
We will present to you a few workouts which will target the back with a focus on the lower portion.
Anatomy of the Christmas tree
The lower back Christmas tree look is achieved by properly developing the lower portion of latissimus dorsi and the erector spinae, pictured below.
To target these zones, the workout will be oriented more towards rowing movements and a moderate pace, which will allow for optimal stretch and contraction.
As we mentioned in our ‘Mountain Back Workout‘ article, you need a deep mind muscle connection in order to engage the back musculature properly, simply because it is a muscle group, which you cannot observe during the exercises.
|Pull-ups- 2 sets of 8, 2 sets until failure|
|Lat pulldowns- 3 sets of 12|
|Middle and Lower Back|
|Lying bar row- 3 sets of 10 repetitions|
|Seated cable rows- 3 sets of 10 repetitions|
|Rack pulls- 4 sets of 10 repetitions|
|Straight arm cable pulldown- 3 sets of 12 repetitions|
|Lower back hyperextensions- 3 sets of 15 repetitions|
As this is an intermediate/advanced workout, pull-ups should be a routine exercise for you by now, which is why we use them as a first, bodyweight exercise to warm up the back musculature.
- Jump up and grab the pull-up bar at shoulder width
- Let your body hang freely
- Keep your feet together
- Lift your chest up to tense the back muscles while hanging
- Pull yourself up, until your chin reaches the bar
- Go down slowly and fully and stretch out the back
- Grab the lat pulldown bar as wide as possible and sit down, tucking your legs under the pads
- Lift your chest up and look forward
- Pull the bar down to the lower portion of your chest
- Hold the contraction briefly
- Let the bar to its original position slowly and stretch out the back before proceeding to the next repetition
Lying cambered bar row
Now that we have warmed up the back and loaded it significantly, we can proceed to smashing the middle and lower section, which is the targeted zone for this workout.
The lying bar row exercise is done with a cambered bar.
Due to the lack of leg support in the movement, this exercise allows for an optimal overall contraction of the back musculature.
- Load the bar and place it below the bench
- Lie face down on the bench, lifting your legs up on the bench as well
- Grab the bar as wide as possible
- Pull the bar up explosively, contracting the back musculature (avoid hitting the bench with the bar)
- Let the bar down slowly, keeping the tension on the back
If possible, lift the bench up on disks, in order to be able to extend your arms fully during the exercise.
Seated cable rows
- Sit down and place your legs on the platform
- Grab the pulley and pull your body back, so that it is at a 90-degree angle
- While looking forward and keeping your body straight, pull towards your lower abs with your elbows as close to the body as possible
- Hold the contraction and feel the lower portion of the lats working
- Let the weight go down slowly, stretching out the back
This exercise is essentially a deadlift, which excludes the lower portion of the movement, where hamstring and glute activation dominates.
Instead, it is a deadlift, done from a higher point, by placing it on safety bars in a rack, or a pile of disks.
- Load the bar and place it higher than ankle level
- Bend over with your knees bent and grab the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width
- Keep the back straight and look forward, lift the bar up slowly and extend your back at the top, contracting the whole back musculature
- Let the weight down slowly to the safety bars, but don’t let it rest completely, keep constant tension on the back
Straight arm cable pull-down
- Stand a couple feet away in front of the cable machine and grab the straight bar
- Keep your body straight and legs at shoulder width stably
- Keeping your arms straight (no elbow lockout), pull the bar down slowly, contracting the back musculature and holding the contraction briefly
- Let your arms go up, stretching the back completely
Lower back hyperextensions
This last exercise directly targets the spinal erectors.
- Place your heels under the pads
- Set up the pad so that its edge is at hip level
- Place your legs on the pad comfortably
- Place your arms behind your head
- Keep your body straight
- Let your body go down slowly
- Move up explosively, extending your body and contracting the spinal erectors
Tips and conclusion
This workout is perfect to include in your weekly schedule, if you follow a 3-days on 1 day off workout regimen. The workout is designed to significantly beef up your lower back musculature and give a “Christmas tree” look.
It is recommended that you use heavy weights as possible, which, however, will still allow you to execute each exercise properly.
To further gain mind-muscle connection with your back, which will grant better workouts, try and include a 15-20 mins posing session after each workout, during which, you will essentially contract your musculature and hold the contractions.
To learn more, read our article on Bodybuilding Posing.
Just another interesting read on How to Make Your Own Pre-Workout Drink (Cheap and Easy)