It’s 2017 and what better way to distinguish yourself as king of the gym than by building a freakishly massive back to rival the best?
The program below will enable you to do just that.
A massive back is what sets the superior bodybuilder apart from the weekend warrior.
Unfortunately, few lifters achieve their true back building potential.
The following, designed and used by master trainer and ALLMAX Nutrition athlete Andre Rzazewski, is big on intensity and volume.
Its heavy emphasis on unilateral movements, multi joint exercises, and inclusion of chains provides more intensity than any back workout you have encountered.
Provided your nutrition, supplementation, and rest are tailored for maximum recovery, the amount of effort needed to make it through this grueling workout will force your back to adapt and respond by becoming larger and stronger than ever.
Up until now, Andre’s patented back-blasting workout was used strictly to transform his own phenomenal wings. Now you have access to this unique plateau-buster of a workout.
Give it a shot, chart your progress, and share your results in the comment section below.
The Increase Your Wingspan Workout Overview
For each exercise do:
- Three straight sets of 15, 12, 10 reps with a weight that you will struggle to get to 15 reps.
- Perform one, two-increment drop set where you will drop the weight by 25% (1/4) and complete as many reps as you can, then drop by another 25% (1/4) and rep out to failure.
1. Narrow Unilateral Lat Rotating Pull-down
One of the secrets to building a big back is to fully develop it from top to bottom and side to side. This requires isolation, complete focus, and multiple movements. To fully flesh out his lats, Andre uses the seldom-employed unilateral lat pulldown.
Using one arm at a time, Andre begins this movement with a full stretch and palm facing in (a neutral grip). As the weight is lowered the palm is gradually supinated (turned toward the floor) so that it touches the chest upon full positive contraction.
The lats are notoriously difficult to develop as secondary muscle groups can take over on most back movements. By training unilaterally, more focus can be placed on the lats.
Momentum is also limited and a greater range of motion can be achieved on the downward phase. This ensures that every pound of weight is felt in the lats (from extension to contraction) and that proper isolation can be achieved.
2. Wide Unilateral Lat Pull-down (Pronated Grip)
Keeping the upper body fixed in place, a slight elbow bend at the beginning of the movement and palm facing down, Andre pulls the shoulder blade back to achieve full lat activation.
He brings his elbow as far as possible behind his body for a full positive contraction. Immediately upon contraction, Andre lowers the weight to a full stretch. With continuous tension in mind, he controls the weight back to the starting position while feeling the lat muscles contract every inch of the way.
3. Wide Pronated Grip Pull-ups with Chains
Nothing beats the pull up for adding massive slabs of meat to the entire lat complex. One problem with the pull up is once a certain level of strength is reached, it becomes more of an upper body endurance builder than a pure mass movement.
Andre does his chins weighted. Many aim to optimize the chin by front loading with a weight belt. Unfortunately, this creates a gravitational pull that places downward force on the pelvis. Doing so tilts the pelvis and unduly extends the lumbar spine.
Upper body mechanics are thus compromised, the potential for lower back pain and injury is increased, and the lifter must work extra hard to prevent the pelvis from tilting anteriorly.
Andre addresses these concerns by draping chains around his neck for added resistance. With palms facing forward, Andre pulls his body skyward until his chin clears the bar. Once full range begins to falter, he adds a few partial reps to finish the job.
4. Deadlifts with Chains
With lats fully thrashed, it’s time for Andre to hit all of his back muscles with the most effective upper body mass-builder, the deadlift. Andre enlists multiple muscles of the posterior chain to properly control the loaded bar and stimulate extreme back size and strength (from lats to traps to erectors, rhomboids and the rotator cuff complex).
By using chains to increase the difficultly of the deadlift, Andre provides variable resistance to ensure a consistently high level of force through all ranges of this movement. As he lifts the bar from the ground, each additional link of chain increases the load, making the bar heaviest at the top of the movement.
To counteract the increased weight, Andre must maintain maximum force on the working muscles at all times.
5. Rope T-bar Rows with Chains
As with the deadlift, the addition of chains to the T-bar row ensures that the load is heaviest in the contracted position. Therefore, as the weight increases Andre must work harder to achieve optimal compression, range of motion, and contraction.
With a narrower grip than, say, the barbell version, this movement allows for maximum of core stabilization. Using a rope attachment, thus allowing for more of a neutral grip and a greater range of motion, Andre pulls the weight into his midsection, forcefully squeezes his scapula together and slowly lowers the weight for a full stretch.
As with all back movements, continuous tension is kept on the targeted muscles.
6. Wide Unilateral Dumbbell Row
An underrated movement for hitting the lats, Andre performs the wide unilateral dumbbell row with torso fixed in place (remember no twisting as the weight is pulled to the hip).
He is extra careful not to bounce the dumbbell up from the bottom position. Rather, he exaggerates the lat stretch and seamlessly transitions from this position to a full positive contraction at the top.
Though pulling the weight closer to the body is easier, we are going for extreme lat stimulation, so keep the elbow as wide as possible at all points in the range of motion. Again, Andre uses wraps to keep tension on the lats from the first rep to the last.
7. Unilateral Barbell Row (Meadow's Row)
Next up is the unilateral barbell row from the side. While many prefer the dumbbell version of this movement for adding mass, Andre finds the bar works best to target back thickness while stimulating the lats all the way across.
The two-handed barbell row has traditionally built more back mass than probably any other movement. So why do this movement one-handed, as Andre does?
As with several other movements featured in this workout, the unilateral nature of the barbell row forces the recruitment of more muscle fibers than when performing them two-handed. A muscle working alone must work harder to move the weight through a full range of motion.
In addition, when rowing unilaterally there is no counterbalancing weight to keep the torso in its correct alignment. This causes the upper body to twist to one side. To remedy this twisting, the lifter must forcefully contract the obliques to produce the intra-abdominal pressure needed to stabilize and protect the spine from excessive rotational force.
The core is thus strengthened and this added core strength is vital when it comes to powering up impressive poundage on the deadlift and other multi-joint back movements.
Unilateral work also helps to correct muscular imbalances and ensures that each side of the body is worked equally hard (when working two-handed, one side of the body inevitably takes over when the weaker side begins to falter).
One arm rowing provides the perfect opportunity to shift some serious poundage while also isolating the back complex in strict fashion. To fully stimulate maximum muscle fiber recruitment, Andre uses wraps and pulls with the back (again leading with the scapula) rather than the biceps.
It’s also important to remember that any degree of trunk rotation will negate the effectiveness of this movement by forcing the opposite side of the body to kick in mid rep.
Instead, Andre keeps his body stationary at all times and uses only the targeted lat to pull the weight. He also raises the hip on the working side slightly (and keeps it fixed) so as to achieve a better stretch and ultimately more growth.
Andre's Back workout
|1. Narrow Unilateral Lat Pull-down||3||15, 12, 10*|
|2. Wide Unilateral Lat Pull-down (Pronated Grip)||3||15, 12, 10*|
|3. Wide Pronated Grip Pull-ups with Chains||3||15, 12, 10*|
|4. Deadlifts with Chains||3||15, 12, 10*|
|5. Rope T-bar Rows with Chains||3||15, 12, 10*|
|6. Wide Unilateral Dumbbell Row||3||15, 12, 10*|
|7. Unilateral Barbell Row (Meadow's Row)||3||15, 12, 10*|
*Perform 2 drop sets to failure, the first decreasing the weight by 1/4 of the initial weight, the second by 1/2 of the initial weight.