In the past when ever I’ve started going stale on Hanging Scapula Rotations, I added weight with a weight belt. But I seemed to lose the feel of the exercise when I added weight so I watched real carefully in the mirror while I was doing the exercise.
I noticed a slight difference in my form when I had weight hanging on me. Mostly, I didn’t arch my back nearly as well. So I tried leaning back farther. It was better. I then tried to go even slower without weight. It was even better. I soon found if I really slowed down, I couldn’t get all the way up.
Up meaning touching my chest on the bar. I began to sense the very best part of this exercise was the total flexing of the back right at the top of the movement. But it had to be done without using inertia to get to the top.
I went over to the chin, dip assist machine. If you’re not familiar with this machine, briefly it has a knee pad you kneel on that is attached to a weight stack that actually lifts you throughout the exercise be it chins or dips.
I set the weight to give me 30 lbs of assist, strapped myself to the chinning bar knelt down on the pad and slowly pulled myself to the very top of the exercise until I hit the stops.
Man what a low lat movement. I did only 3 reps, walked over to the mirror and looked at my low lats. They were pumped better than I ever got from doing Scapula Rotations and I thought Scapula Rotations were the king of lower lat builders. I had found a new winner.
So if you like the idea of not just a wedge shaped back but that beautiful heart shape to the back, try this exercise. These are the key points.
1) Arch the back and keep it arched all the way up and down. This is critical. As soon as you lose the arch the stress transfers from the lats to the biceps.
2) Use chinning straps so your hands don’t give out before your lats.
3) Wrap your hands around the bar as far as possible.
4) Use a false grip thumbs on the same side of the bar as the fingers.
5) Go very slow up and down (10 sec each way).
6) Don’t cheat one tiny bit. Slowly pull from the very bottom all the way up in a steady continuous pull.
7) If you don’t have one of these machines have a buddy give you just a little assistance.
Note: This also works on the lat machine but the hold down pad gets in the way and makes it hard to hold the arch.