When I sat down to interview rising superstar Mark Dugdale about his back-training a few weeks before he became the overall 2004 USA bodybuilding champion, I was somewhat shocked by the first words
out of his mouth. “My back sucked,” the normally soft-spoken Dugdale told me. “I feel as though it still needs to improve, but the gains I’ve made in the last two years have been incredible. I did heavy deadlifts for years and just went nowhere. I was frustrated by the fact that I was busting my butt and training heavy, as I did for my legs with squats, but my back continued to lag behind. Finally, I decided I couldn’t continue training the same way and expect a different result, so I radically changed my back-training. I dropped the deads and started to focus completely on feel, not simply moving as much weight as possible from point A to point B. The results have been phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong. I still train as heavy as I can, but my focus is on feeling the back muscles through the entire range of motion. So I guess you could say I made one major change … I switched my focus from poundage to feel. I still think my back needs to be better, but I’m confident that I’m on my way.”
Training his back and legs taught Mark a valuable lesson … that what works for one bodypart doesn’t necessarily work on every bodypart. “It’s funny,” he said, “but when I train legs I don’t have to focus much on feel. It seems the heavier I squat and leg press, the more my legs respond. But when I applied that philosophy to my back, the results just weren’t there. Learning that lesson allowed me to fine-tune my back-training and open myself up to experimenting with a different approach, and that has made all the difference.”
Tags: back, Mark Dugdale
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