LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — How to Build Upper-Back Strength For a Bigger Squat and Bench Press

TAGS: Upper Back, table talk, ss yoke bar, dave tate

COACH columnist

Your upper back can never be too strong for powerlifting.

While there are many different areas of the upper back, Dave Tate gives you his best overall recommendations. First, if your upper back strength starts lagging behind, you can put upper back work in every single day you’re in the gym. You can do lots of light work before every session and you will probably start feeling more stable in your big lifts right away. Rear delt work, facepulls, and band pull aparts can be implemented in your warm-up but can also be used as your accessory work at the end of a session. However, doing this work before your main lifts make it a lot less likely you will skip it, which might be what got you in this situation in the first place.

For heavier work, the SS Yoke Bar in a close stance to a low box will have a ton of transfer to your squat and deadlift. Whether for max effort work or as a supplemental movement done in the 3-5 rep range, this can be really pushed for two weeks of this theoretical four-week plan. As a second aid for learning to hold an isometric position in your upper back, Dave Tate says he will have a lifter hook a band up to a power rack and hold his arms like he’s in a back squat position. He will isometrically resist the band tension for 10 to 15 seconds.

Combine all three of these for 3-4 weeks and you’ve got a plan to build high rep, low rep, and isometric upper back strength.

Text By Mason Nowak

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