Myth: You MUST do pulling exercises to develop the back!?

December 11, 2022 by VAHVA Fitness

You MUST do pull ups and rows to develop the back, right?? Let's debunk this myth once and for all.

When it comes to understanding the human body and how to build the body, a lot of framework and understanding for this comes from the sport of bodybuilding and exercise science.

Although bodybuilding exercises are great for targeting many weak points in the body and even building strength and size, they are not everything there is to developing the human physique.

For example, people think that pulling exercises are the only way to develop the back muscles.

If you don't do any pulling exercises like pull ups and rows with weights, you are sure to become imbalanced and weak - right?

Although all of these exercises are good and great to build the back area, the back will get developed in many other ways without any particular conventional pulling exercises as well.

You can find lots of examples of balanced and strong physiques from dance, yoga and qigong of people who never go to the gym and never do pull ups. Yet, they can have amazing postures and even nice back development with visible traps and bulking lats.

But why?

You see, weights are not even always needed to stimulate the muscles. To develop a muscle, you don't necessarily even need external resistance. The contraction and stimulus is everything - that's what we teach in Athlete 20XX Method.

Qigong whether it's soft qigong or hard qigong for example has lots of exercises that strengthen and mobilize the upper back and even rear deltoids. You conduct mind-muscle connection to stimulate the muscles.

Surprisingly, many qigong exercises are done with such a good form that a lot of people would actually get better results with these exercises for their rear deltoids and smaller muscles of the back compared to the poorly used weighted exercises.

A lot of yogis also spend a great deal of time down on the mats and tend to have structurally balanced postures as well.

What people are missing is that the back muscles do a lot more than just "pull" and "row". One of the main functions of the back muscles is to stabilize the shoulder girdle and stabilize the spine.

By learning how to stabilize your scapula (shoulder girdle), you will develop your back even when you are doing push ups which may sound contrary to the conventional wisdom.

Animal movements also train the back and spine muscles incredibly well. Why? Because your scapula is constantly moving and supporting your bodyweight in different angles and postures. 

The middle back muscles in general are the most engaged when they need to hold the scapula in place (stability) or when they need to move the scapula in different articulations.

The lower back and muscles around the spine (erector spinae) also get heavily worked during animal movements, static holds and qigong movements. Without any deadlifts or heavy rows.

But what is the point of all of this? The point here is to educate people that although pulling exercises and pull ups are great for developing the body, there are countless other ways to work the back muscles. 

The conventional framework of understanding just lacks the capacity to see movement and human development in a more detailed manner.

If you want to take your understanding of the human body to the next level and learn the ancient technique called mind-muscle connection and master the mechanics of stability, Athlete 20XX Method covers everything in detail. 

The method provides a high level of understanding (Sports Science Master level) that would normally take 5 years to acquire.

Stay strong. 


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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