This 10-exercise workout targets every muscle in your back. But it’s not for the faint of heart. See if you have what it takes. This back workout for Abel Albonetti is gonna hurt.
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MuscleTech-sponsored athlete Abel Albonetti is coming at you again, and this time he’s after your back. As usual, he’s going at it with a vengeance so you can build some serious muscle. Over 60-90 minutes, you’ll suffer through some highly demanding double—and triple—dropsets, inter-set stretching, and supersets. Albonetti will have you making slight adjustments, mostly in hand position, to ensure you hit every back muscle.
After several exercises, you might be wondering if the workout will ever end. It will…but not until you’re lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, wondering what size truck just hit you.
Think about that later. Right now, it’s time to top off your tanks with the best pre-workout you can find, swallow your fear, and get started. (It might be a good idea to have wrist wraps and a weight belt nearby.)
| Overhand Wide-Grip Pull-Down |
Albonetti likes to start with a pull-down warm-up to turn on the lat muscles and prepare them for the work ahead.
Focus on squeezing your back muscles as you do this exercise. Pull your elbows as far down as possible, pause for a second at the bottom, and then go straight back up.
Use this warm-up to pre-exhaust your back muscles by increasing the weight until you’re hitting failure around 12 reps. On the fifth set, add a double dropset and try to keep hitting failure around the 12-rep range. Once you finish your 12 reps, drop the weight by about 20 percent, do another 12 reps, drop the weight 20 percent again, and do 12 more.
| Bent-Over Barbell Row (Overhand Grip) |
The meat of Albonetti’s workout begins with this big compound move. He’s got you using the overhand grip to help you develop the width of your back. Keep your back straight while you’re bent at the waist. Albonetti says he sees too many people turn this into a trap row.
| Bent-Over Barbell Row (underhand Grip) |
Albonetti likes the reverse, or underhand, grip because he says it engages his lats more than the overhand grip. Plus, the underhand grip makes it easier to keep your elbows in at your sides. As with the overhand version, pull the weight all the way back, and then pause for a good squeeze before letting it back down.
| Close-Grip V-Bar Pull-Down |
The close-grip version of the pull-down helps with building back thickness. On the downstroke, pull down your elbows as far as possible. Squeeze at the bottom and then get a good stretch on the way back up. Maintain continuous tension on your back muscles throughout the exercise.
| Underhand Cable Pull-Down |
Albonetti likes to position his hands about shoulder-width apart.
“I don’t like to get them too far out,” he says. “Just enough where I feel a great squeeze in my lats.”
You’re doing 4 sets of this exercise. The third set adds a dropset; the fourth, a double dropset. Piece of cake, right?
| Dumbbell Row |
Feel torched yet? Good, because now you can relax with some gentle dumbbell rows. Just kidding. These will feel like you’re trying to row a suitcase full of gold bars (which would weigh about a ton, in case you’re wondering). As you do these, make sure you’re pulling your arms back far enough. Too many people limit the pull, turning a back exercise into a trap row. Don’t go there. Bend over, squeeze as you pull back, stretch forward, and then pull back again.
On the third set, you’re going to do a triple dropset. As you do them, keep tension in the muscle the entire time: Don’t let it rest at any point!
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