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A Back Workout for the Ages

The training routine that built one of the world’s thickest and densest backs in the IFBB Pro League.

Per Bernal

CLOSE-GRIP PULLDOWN

This version emphasizes the lower lats.

The final move is at the pulldown station, this time switching out the long bar for a close, hammer-grip style. The duo tends to decide on the fly which variation to do on any particular day: The standard style where you sit facing the stack, knees nudged under the support pads, or seated backward, leaning way back so as to still be able to pull the handle toward the upper pecs. “That way totally opens up your lats,” Jackson says simply of the latter option.

Today, it’s face forward, three sets of 15 reps, pulling the entire stack, struggling through the last few reps—as is perfectly understandable after the onslaught he just unleashed on his rear guard.


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“You know what they say, the show is won from the back,” he reminds. “So you always want to improve its width and detail.”

Per Bernal

 JOHNNIE JACKSON'S BACK WORKOUT 

  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown | SETS: 2 (warmup) | REPS: 15
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown | SETS: 4 | REPS: 15 
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
  • Seated Cable Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15
  • Plate-Loaded Machine Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15
  • T-Bar Row | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
  • Close-Grip Pulldown* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15

*Sometimes this is done in the standard way to the front, and sometimes seated with the back to the weight stack, leaning backward and pulling the handle down to the upper chest. 

 FLEX 

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