Coach Keith Keppner | November 14th, 2018

Whether you’re working out at a CrossFit Gym in Athens, a Martial Arts School, a Big Box Gym or one of the many great boutique fitness gyms in Athens, GA it can be easy, especially if you train by yourself, to neglect one large and complex muscle group. Think of the stereotypical guy for instance that comes in a gym, if he’s going to do weights, what lift is he probably going to do? You guessed it! …The Bench Press. If you’re in any throwing sport or activity like Martial Arts or Boxing you are often stuck in the world of largely only activating your extensor muscles that make your arms project from your body, and you are only marginally stimulating the vitally important muscles of your back.

Your back muscles also often get neglected because you don’t see them in the mirror much, and what you don’t focus on you won’t increase or strengthen. If you neglect them, you are hurting your ability to be more powerful and more importantly to prevent injury.

In our Boxing Classes at our Boxing Gym in Athens, GA we make a focus to supplement in some form of pulling exercise to counteract all the fun of throwing literally thousands of punches a workout. So I’m going to give you my top 2 Back Exercises for Boxing and Martial arts that you can do during open gym or at any gym in Athens.

Pull-up/Lat Pull Down

This is a no brainer when it comes to back exercises. A couple things to note about the pull-up is the importance of contracting your back and Lats when doing it. When I was 19 years old, I got up to doing Pull-ups with plates hanging between my legs and while this can be a nice accomplishment, I was doing my pull-ups wrong and therefore not getting proper muscle recruitment. I wasn’t contracting my Lats, I was only using my arms. So my arms were strong, but I didn’t have the strength and tone of my lats that I would of had if I had done it right. So remember, when you’re working out at a gym in Athens or a Martial arts school in Athens, sometimes less is more. More weight isn’t the answer most of the time, it’s better form and muscle recruitment. Because if you jack up the weight and let the wrong muscles take over you are not getting the benefits you could and setting yourself for injuries like I’ve had.

I put in Lat Pull Downs, because often a bodyweight Pull-up is too much for someone to really learn to contract their Lats instead of only using their arms. Remember that a Pull-up or Pulling motion will give you good enough Bicep stimulation. So don’t worry, your arms will still benefit, but so will your back!

Reverse Flys

Again, there are a ton of people who Fly their hearts out at Gyms in Athens because they can see their chest in the mirror, but if they really wish to have great physical health and be an effective Boxer/Martial Artist or just physically fit, they must do the opposite.

Reverse Flys can be done many ways; Laying on a bench, with cables, or just grabbing two Dumbbells and bending over at the waist. This exercise targets the Posterior Delt and assists with good shoulder health. So if you want to increase your power in your Hooks and keep your shoulders safe you must do this exercise! Again. Remember less is more. For this one especially, do very light weight 3 lbs – 10 lbs, and do high reps (15 – 30) to really get the most out of this exercise.

The Final Bell

Alright! Now you got my top 2 Back Exercises for Boxing and Martial Arts… Now make it part of your routine! We can’t benefit from something if we don’t do it consistently. So start today on dialing these into your workout and do them a couple times a week. Focus on form and muscle contraction not weight and you will have great effects on your performance and how your back looks!