Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Questions & Answers
By Davey Dunn
Q.  I have seen guys with awesome looking "V" shaped backs. What can I do to develop my own back so that I have a "V".
A.  In order to develop a "V" you must develop your Latissimus Dorsi muscle, or as they are commonly referred to, your lats. For some reason this muscle group is probably the most neglected muscle group of most people that train with weights. Look around the gym the next time you workout and I will bet you see at least a couple of guys who have neglected their backs so much in favor of their chests that their shoulders have literally pulled forward to the point that they look ridiculous. I often wonder if these guys ever look in the mirror.
The way to avoid this fate is to do two exercises that will in time give you an awesome "V" shaped back. The first and most important exercise is the plain old pullup. The key in doing pullups is to perform them like any other barbell exercise, which means increasing the intensity as much as possible. You do this by using a dip belt and hanging weights around your waist. Do as much weight as you can for the number of reps you are training. Avoid doing more than 12 reps in a set since this will only increase local muscular endurance and not contribute to size or strength gains. Also avoid an excessively wide grip. Joe Blow in the gym will tell you a wide grip will bring your lats out best. He is wrong. Just take a look at his back development if you do not believe me. A shoulder width grip is perfect for stimulating maximum growth in the lats when performed with a full range of motion.
The second exercise that works well for developing the lats is bentover rows with a reverse grip. The best way to perform them is to find an incline bench that you can lean over and support your chest. Grasp the bar with a reverse grip and pull toward your midsection. Once you get use to this setup it is almost like doing a reverse benchpress. After a couple sets of either of these exercises you will feel the difference and never waste time again with the lat pulldown machine. Down the road people will start referring to you as "Mr. V".
Q.  Hi, I am Mike. I am 14 1/2 years old and weigh 125 pounds at 5' 6". I am currently using protein and was wondering if taking Andro would help me. Will it stunt my Growth and does it have any side effects?
A.  My advice to anyone who is still growing in height is to stay away from Andro and the other pro-hormones. Excess testosterone can cause the early maturation of bones and keep you from growing any taller. This has definitely occurred in teenagers who used steroids so it is highly probable that Andro and some of the other pro-hormones can cause the same effect.
Actually you have plenty of hormones at your age anyway. The biggest problem most high school athletes face is that their diet is terrible. Big Macs and cafeteria food will not build a champions body. The most important thing you can do is start eating six meals a day with each meal containing about 25-30 grams of good quality protein (which means whey or egg). What most of the athletes I deal with do is mix up their protein in the morning, pour it into a container, place it in a cooler and drink a serving every 3-4 hours along with a small portion of food.
Another thing I would encourage you to do is to try to workout twice a day with maybe one short workout before school and a second workout after school. Research has shown that the largest growth hormone release will occur during heavy exercise and between 30 and 60 minutes from the time you fall asleep. By having two short intense workouts a day instead of just one you can double the amount of natural growth hormone your body produces during training.
The other benefit of working out twice a day is that it gives you a chance to knock out two of your meals. You should always take in a post-workout meal within 30 minutes of finishing. This meal should consist of complex carbs, simple carbs and high quality protein (Whey or Egg). Mix some of Universal's Ultra Whey Pro with some milk and you have the perfect post-workout meal.
Give this program a try and see if you do not start growing like a weed. If you also want to try some supplements like Creatine, Branched Chain Amino Acids, or a good vitamin pack like Animal Pak they will also do you some good. Just stay away from the Andro till you reach full height. Without eating six meals a day Andro would not do you much good anyway so start with what is most important.
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