Legendary Backs: Joel Stubbs

These workouts built the widest back we've ever seen
When, after his pro debut, FLEX put a then-unknown airline pilot on the December 2005 cover with the provocative question “Best Back Ever?” many balked at the alleged heresy of even asking. The bodybuilding community has now caught on to what we first saw. The 6'3" Walking Wall has bodybuilding’s all-time broadest back and perhaps its most phenomenal pose when he unfurls (and unfurls and unfurls) his rear lat spread. Best back ever? It’s open to debate.
Joel's big-back tip: “I like doing chins first and with different grips, because this really warms up the various back muscles and stretches them out. When I change my hand positions, I feel different muscles working in different ways. I feel more of my upper lats and rear delts working with the wide forward [overhand] grip. With the hammer [palms facing each other] grip, I feel more of the traps tying into the rhomboid area. With the reverse [underhand] grip, I feel more of my rhomboids and the lower part of my lats.”  

Now you can try Joel's double back workout for yourself...


  • 1. Pullup (overhand): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 2. Pullup (parallel): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 3. Pullup (underhand): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 4. Deadlift: 5-6 sets of 15-6 reps
  • 5. Barbell row: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • 6. 1-arm dumbbell row: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • 7. Back extension: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • 1. Pullup (overhand): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 2. Pullup (parallel): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 3. Pullup (underhand): 2 sets 10 reps
  • 4. T-Bar row: 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • 5. Seated cable row: 4-5 sets of 15 reps
  • 6. Pulldown (overhand): 4 sets of 15 reps
  • 7. Pulldown (underhand): 4 sets of 15 reps
  • 8. Back extension: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Note: In the off-season, Stubbs alternated between a heavy workout one week and a light workout the next week. For the final month before a contest, he did both weekly.

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