Episode # 24

Upper Back Training Secrets to Avoid Shoulder Injuries & Increase Power!

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Released on August 13, 2015

In this weeks episode, Joe shines the spotlight on a neglected group of muscles that need a lot more attention than they receive. You may not be able to see the muscles of your upper back when looking in the mirror, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them!

In this episode you’ll learn: 
  • Why so many athletes (regardless of sport) have shoulder injuries
  • How most personal trainers and strength coaches contribute to their clients shoulder problems
  • How you should be training your upper back in order to correct/prevent shoulder issues and improve your posture – while simultaneously improving power output!
  • Why you should adopt “bodybuilding” methods into your program – even if you’re an athlete
  • How WWE superstar Triple H packed slabs of muscle onto his upper back without ever touching a weight!


  • The explanation of the “tension effect” and it’s importance in developing super-human strength & power
  • Joe D’s Top 6 “Uncommon” Back Exercises that you rarely (if ever) see being performed at your local health club. (You NEED to  incorporate these into your training.)


*After listening to this episode, you will undoubtedly have a new perspective on how to train this group of muscles, as well as a new-found respect for their importance.


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  1. Hey Joe,

    This was my favorite episode so far. I can’t tell exactly how you set up the double bands when doing the face pull and the face pull with the Y press. Would you be able to explain a little further or put up a quick video? Secondly I have bands from EliteFts bands and have worn them out. I need to get more bands. Will your Savage Bands be available soon? Thanks Joe for everything.

  2. Joe,

    Awesome podcast, very informative and interesting! I just have one question? What do you recommend for training the lower body to avoid joint injuries and to strengthen the smaller muscles in the lower body? Joe thank you for this great wealth of information. I am a 59 years old meathead that enjoys training and outdoor activities very much!

    Thank You and Best Regards,

  3. Thanks,

    great info about upper back and nice confirmation that I, as a starting PT, have been doing right things partly subconsciously.
    You have great podcast and this and earlier episode about mixed energy system training were excellent.

  4. Awesome podcast. Starting to run out of words for these podcasts might have to make some up?

    Keep them coming Joe D!

  5. Yo JOEY – quick question, do you typically have your athletes perform these exercises as warm ups or after working your larger muscle groups? I would think if you trained these smaller muscles and then went to something like heavy bench or push press, you would risk injury? Great stuff as usual.
    much appreciated,

  6. Brian,
    You’re never too young for YWT’s or band pull-aparts. My girls get on the floor and mimic me whenever they see me doing YWT’s and they’re only 4 lol.
    (If a regular band is too tough for the pull-aparts, you can purchase a “micro mini band” so your son is able to get more volume in.)

  7. Thanks Joe. I have a 10 year old son plays hockey,soccer and lacrosse. Is he too young for the Y W T’s and the band pull aparts?

  8. Awesome Joe!
    Thanks for the quick response and advice. I know you are busy. I Love the podcast. Hands down the best Exercise/ Performance Enhancing Podcast out there!!. Love the detail you put in explaining things.
    Thanks again.

  9. Raul,
    Great question.
    The answer is, “Yes!” You can do some kind of upper back work every single day.
    Don’t get me wrong, you wouldn’t want to do a full, “gym” workout every single day. But you could (and SHOULD) incorporate 1 or 2 low intensity upper back exercises each day.

    Here’s an example just to give you a general idea of what I’m talking about:

    Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Perform 2 sets of ISO-Hold Y-W-T’s (hold each position 10-30sec). Perform 1 set when you get to work and 1 set before you go home.

    Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: Complete at least 50 total band pull-aparts throughout the day. You can do 10 first thing in the morning and then 10 when you get to work and another 10 after each hour you sit at the desk, etc.

    Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what I’m talking about.
    FYI, these don’t replace your gym workouts. These are just an addition to your daily life/routine. If you train Upper Body twice a week, you would still perform your normal Back exercises in those workouts. Many times, you will be doing exercises like Band Pull-aparts & Y-W-T’s during your gym workouts as well (which is fine). In my opinion, you can’t really overtrain these low-intensity “postural type” exercises.

    Hope this helped!
    Joe D.

  10. Joe,
    Love the nerds sound bite. Add the Chant. Nerd, Nerds, Nerds. Lol
    I wanted to ask
    You mentioned high volume high tension to really hit the small muscles in the back. You also mentioned if we sit at a desk in front of a computer, doing 20 band pull aparts. I would like to know, would you recommend doing band pull aparts and or hitting the upper back every day or as much as we can?

  11. Gret podcast again Joe and awesome companion video with the uncommon back exercises. Thanks very much.

  12. NO ONE educates, motivates and entertains the way Joe D does. Another remarkable show coach. Great topic. Great delivery. Great value.
    Its actually quite shocking to me that u haven’t been offered a real radio show or at least a gig with one of the big podcast producers like Podcastone (or maybe u have?) Personally I don’t care where or who u do the show with just as long as I can hear u talk training every week.

  13. Another awesome podcast episode Joe and I love the nerdy stuff. We do lots of upper back work with our member’s which thanks to your sharing of knowledge both for free and your DVDs I have collated over the years includes your top 6 exercises you talked about. These exercises and attacking the upper back is so important in fact it saved a rugby player I work with from having an operation. He did his AC joint in a game and the specialist said you don’t go to a ‘normal’ gym do you and asked what exercises he did. After our members told him the specialist went onto say if it wasn’t for that training you would need an operation. Thanks for all the knowledge you share Looking forward to the next episode.

  14. Joe,

    I was curious about the Airdyne. I’ve seen a lot of people use it. Have you ever experimented with it in training. Is there one great use out of it? i.e. sprints/distance. Does it serve a better purpose in a certain category or style of training?


  15. Another awesome podcast. Love the variety of topics you come up with each week!
    Hands down best fitness podcast with the most diverse yet PRACTICAL information. Cant thank u enough coach. JC

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