“Bulk back. Get ready to fly! We are gonna get your lats so huuuuuuge that you’re going to see them coming from far away!”
That’s Sagi’s personal message at the start of this Body Beast: Bulk Back session.
I really do enjoy working out the back. I always have. Back in the mid-1990s when I was working out with a vengeance and training with a soon-to-be NABBA Junior Mr Universe, we were slamming some serious poundage in the ‘big back attack’ sessions.
The squeezing movements in the back and the amount of weight that can be lifted make it second only to legs.
So, having trained through the Build: Back & Bis sessions, I was looking forward to focusing purely on the back in this session.
It is a tough workout, but at just 29 minutes I was able to dig in and power through it with the effort and determination that it deserves.
Yup, as with all the Body Beast workouts, we start with a very quick warm-up, a little more than two minutes of jogging, arm circles, deadlifts, rows and flys.
And then we’re off!
What You’ll Need
For this session you’re going to need a bench, your dumbbells and a pull-up bar. You can also use an E-Z bar if you have one. I don’t, so I just used my Orbus adjustable dumbbells throughout the workout session.
Pull-Over And Pull-Up Superset
We’re straight into the firing line with supersets of pull-overs and pull-ups, three sets of them in total.
For the pull-overs, lay crossways on a bench with a single dumbbell at arm’s length above your head and lower it down behind you without bending your arms (too much).
For the pull-ups I turned to my over-the-door chin up bar. These are wide pull-ups which I used to have no problem grinding out, but times have changed.
It’s been a long time since my original gym rat days and after just a few reps I need to enlist a little bit of help from my legs to take some of the weight off. I still make it as tough as I possibly can, while still managing to carve out the required 10 reps. Every session I will try to use my legs less and less, until I can manage the full 10 unassisted.
- Superset 1: pull-overs: 15 reps
- Superset 1: pull-ups: 10 reps
- Superset 2: pull-overs: increase weight: 12 reps
- Superset 2: pull-ups: 10 reps
- Superset 3: pull-overs: increase weight: 8 reps
- Superset 3 drop set: pull-overs: decrease weight: 8 reps
- Superset 3 finale: pull-ups: 10 reps
After this workout block my back is already feeling charged with blood.
Reverse Grip Rows
Now we’re into the progressive sets. Six sets of reverse grip rows, starting with 15 reps, down to 12, down to 8. A minute or so rest, then we’re heading back up the reps: 8, 12, 15.
For this workout block, Sagi uses an E-Z bar, but I stick with my dumbbells. They actually work very nicely for this move and I can get a great squeeze in the centre of my back as I pull the weights up towards me.
Starting with a light weight, then increasing the weight as the reps come down to 8. Then I’m increasing the reps back up from 8 while reducing the weight.
During the onslaught, Sagi says
“’Come on! Get on the bus. Drive it hard!”
…which is a bit weird, even by Sagi’s standards!
Here it is. There’s always a force set of some description in the Body Beast Bulk programmes. For back it’s the one-arm row.
5 sets of 5 reps, with just 5 seconds rest between each set. This is the big one. And because it’s a one-arm exercise, we have to repeat it all over again on the other side.
Holding a single dumbbell in one arm and the edge of the bench in the other, it’s: up, squeeze, down.
The killer on this section, as always with the force sets, is that after the set of 5, you need to keep everything tensed for 5 seconds as you hold the dumbbell at the lower position, rather than just letting it dangle, then straight into the next set.
After five sets my lats are seriously fried.
Sagi’s words of wisdom for this one:
“We’re not increasing the weight. We’re not dropping the weight. We’re holding it. We’re hugging it. We’re lovin’ it.”
Great motivational words that keep me digging in and squeezing out the last of the nasties.
Now we’re into the 4 single sets of deadlift, which really blasts the entire back. We’re doing sets of 15, 12, 8 and another 8, increasing the weight each time. This is a solid exercise that I enjoy. You need perfect form to ensure you stay safe and don’t injure that back.
“My back is so huge that I have to buy a new t-shirt. New airline. Body Beast Airline. Fly with me.”
Reverse Fly And Plank Rotation
In this super set we do a set of 15 reverse flys, followed immediately by a 30 second burnout of plank rotations.
For plank rotations, start in a plank position with a weight in one hand, turn your body to that side and bring the weight up to your chest, allow your legs to turn and your back knee to bend. Then press the weight up to the sky and bring it back down to your chest. Then bring the weight back to the floor and go back to plank.
This is pretty tough and the balancing act takes some getting used to. Try not to overextend your arm as you raise the weight to the roof.
From there, we’re into set of 12 reverse flys with heavier weight, followed again immediately by a 30 second burnout of plank rotations to end the main workout!!.
The Cool Down
This is 1.5 minutes of stretching out the arms, back and chest. It’s the exact same cool down from the Build Back and Bis session. With some Sagi quips thrown in for good measure:
“No funky business with The Beast!”
“We worked the lats. We worked the traps. We worked everything to get to this part. The fun part. Find. A. New. Shirt. Every workout.”
At the end of the session, they all walk out and Sagi jokingly turns sideways so he can get out of the giant doorway!
This is one of my favourite Body Beast workout sessions. It is a total Beast and it certainly hurts, but it’s over with quickly and it definitely feels like I’ve hit my back from a whole load of angles. I know that if I work hard in these sessions, over time they are going to give me a nice v taper. It’s all about consistent, incremental improvement. Keep going, keep gaining!!
Did You Find This Post Useful?
Have you done this workout? Let me know how you got on, I’d love to hear from you. What was your favourite exercise and was there anything that got the better of you? Let me know!