During his tutelage with Glass in 2013, Rhoden finished his back workouts with back extensions, done Glass-style, which focuses only on contracting the spinal erectors over a limited range of motion. The hamstrings and glutes are removed from the liﬅ . Think of them as back crunches, while traditional hyperextensions are more like back situps. For 2014, Glass is adding another exercise to the regimen: rack deadliﬅs.
“The supports are set just below the knees,” Flexatron says, pinpointing where each rep will begin. By doing them near the end of his workout, he doesn’t need to go as heavy. Both Yoda and his Jedi Knight feel the inclusion of deads will thicken up Rhoden’s rear shots from the top of his glutes to the base of his head.
The Glass style of doing low-cable rows can look peculiar, but the feeling it imparts is no joke. The master trainer lowers the rows by making his clients sit higher. Specifically, he has them sit on a heavy dumbbell, which rests upright on the cable station’s bench. “This is one of Charles’ favorite exercises. He’ll walk halfway across the gym just to carry a heavy dumbbell for me to sit on,” Flexatron says with a laugh. “Being up higher, you’re forced to pull into your lower abdomen all the time. And you get a longer stretch. You can’t come up short on reps, because it pulls you forward where you have to get that stretch.”
Whether or not you perch on a dumbbell, Rhoden explains that a full range of motion is paramount to cable or machine-rowing success. “You need to lean forward slightly to get a full extension at the beginning, but then don’t lean back as you pull as most people do. Force your elbows back. Focus on pulling with your elbows and not your biceps and then get a full contraction, squeezing your shoulder blades together.”
BACK AT IT
Next time you're training, know that Shawn Rhoden is there too - grinding out those final reps of pulldowns with precise form and pulling deads of the rack, building the legend, and all the while dreaming of the next time he unveils his physique at center stage, the next time the stunned hush turns into a roar as everyone realizes he somehow transformed himself yet again. He’s still climbing, plotting out new routes, mastering new techniques, and plodding ever upward, climbing. FLEX