Of his form, he explains, “If I’m pulling to my chest I tend to throw more traps and rhomboids in it, hitting more of my upper middle back rather than my lats. So when I pull down, I pull down to my chin.” And on the straight-arm pulldowns: “I think about standing onstage and throwing my lats out. So I throw my lats out at contraction and squeeze.”
I MEET THE BAR
Before each set of low-pulley rows, Lewis leans all the way back so that he is nearly flat on the bench. This is all about getting his number. “Basically, I’m psyching myself up for the lift and I’m focused on how many reps I’ll go for.” He hits 15 with 200 and follows this immediately with a set of 20 high-rope pulls. He slips on his iPod Shuffle, listening to Disturbed and blocking out Hardcore Horton’s camera and my notepad during his last two supersets, using first 260, and then the whole 300-pound stack on the low-cable rows, pausing when necessary to hit 15 and tacking on 20 reps of high pulls to both sets.
On the low-cable rows, Lewis employs a V-handle and stays relatively upright. “A lot of guys cheat and throw a lot of momentum into it,” he states. “What I do is I keep my back at 90 degrees [to the floor], and as the bar comes in, I throw my chest up and elbows back, and I meet the bar.”
Lewis does sets of rack deadlifts with 315 and 405, and a set with 495. The bar begins each rep from power-rack supports set just above his knees. He uses straps, chalk, a belt with FLEX LEWIS on the back and his iPod. “Deads off the floor is a different exercise, and it works glutes and hams, too. Deads off a rack works lower back. I’ve always done them explosive. I psych myself up so much that I go completely blank. I don’t know what I do with reps. I have my training partners tell me.” I count for him. He knocks out 11, plates clattering, banging each rep off the supports.
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