Another Doozy Of A Back Day (Compliments Of The M.O.P.)


Wednesday, August 3rd. Back day. Another Richie (“Master Of Pain”) Session. After he kicked my butt last week, I was ready for this one… mentally and physically. It was a doozy, once again, but I felt really good today and kept up with everything he dished out…


A1 Wide Grip Pullups
3 warm up sets on lat pulldown
Set 1: bodyweight X 12 reps with pause to stretch after every rep in bottom position, change angles during reps (spotter holds my crossed ankles and walks backward in stretch position, and
forward in contract position
Set 2: 45 lbs X 10 reps with spot
Set 3: 45 lbs X 10 reps with spot
A2 Rope Straight Arm Pulldowns
Set 1: 110 lbs X 10 reps
Set 2: 120 lbs, 130 lbs, 140 lbs X 6, 6, 6 reps (ascending sets)
Set 3: 140 lbs, 150 lbs, 160 lbs X 6, 6, 6 reps (ascending sets)
No rest between exercises A1 & A2, approx 2 minutes between supersets
B1 Lat Pulldown to Rope Straight Arm Pulldown (Giant Drop Superset)
a) Wide grip pullup 45 lbs X 10 reps with 4 sec hold in stretched position between every rep
b) Straight arm rope pulldown 150 lbs X 8 reps with 4 second hold in stretch position
c) Wide grip pullup X bodyweight X 10 reps with spot
d) Straight arm rope pulldown 120 lbs X 8 reps with 4 second hold in stretch position
C1 One Arm Dumbbell Rows (one hand support)
Set 1: 105 lbs X 10 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
Set 2: 105 lbs X 8 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
Set 3: 105 lbs X 8 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
C2 One Arm Reverse Grip (supinated) Dumbbell rows (one knee, one hand support on bench)
Set 1: 75 lbs X 8 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
Set 2: 75 lbs X 8 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
Set 3: 75 lbs X 8 reps, strict, stretch at bottom, pull from dead stop (no momentum)
D1 Seated Cable Row
Set 1: 150 lbs X 10 reps, 3 part rows (part a = the pull from full stretch to stomach without leaning backwards, part b = extend arms without leaning forward, part c = lean forward and stretch)
Set 2: 150 lbs X 10 reps, 3 part rows then drop to 120 lbs X 8 reps full stretch rows, lean and stretch ALL the way forward
Set 3: 150 lbs X 10 reps, full stretch rows, lean ALL the way forward


A1 Cybex Rotary Calf Press Machine
2 warm up sets
4 sets X 4 plates (180 lbs) X 20, 20, 18, 17 reps
B1 Streamline Front Squat Machine Calf Raise
1 warm up set X 3 plates
Set 1: 4 plates per side X 30 reps
Set 2: 5 plates per side X 25 reps
Set 2: 6 plates per side X 30 reps
C1 Seated Calf Machine
3 sets X 180 lbs (four plates) X 15-20 reps

Workout Commentary

This workout was very similar to the last back workout where Richie had me superset back and forth between lat pulldowns and straight arm rope pulldowns. This time, he had me do wide grip pull-ups first instead of wide grip pulldowns. It was harder than last time, but I was more prepared this time mentally (for the pain and intensity… I was expecting it), so I took whatever he dished out (hope he’s not reading this… or he’s going to slaughter me next time, LOL!)

After the pullup/rope pulldown combo we did some dumbbell rows… richie’s way – pulling 105’s from a dead stop at the bottom – not swinging and heaving up the 120 or 130 pounders (which I confess, I’ve been known to do). We then supersetted regular one arm rows with supinated grip rows and Richie had me “track” to the inside (toward the bench) on the stretch, then pull out wide to the side on the contraction.

The clincher was the seated cable rows. One set like last week (3 segments), then two sets with an extreme stretch and forward lean (while keeping tension on the lats… I did NOT go slack). I could literally feel lat belly and mid lat fibers that were working when pulling back from that position. It was the “middle of the fan” fibers all the way into the spine. You can produce some pretty neat effects and target different areas just by changing your form on the
same exercise. I’ve definitely never felt low cable rows so “deep” into the back like that before. But then again, you can’t heave the stack and feel it like that. This type of form requires that you swallow your ego and use 100% lat strength and no momentum. I do like heavy “semi cheat” rows sometimes, but man, you are missing something if you cheat a lot or if you never do “no momentum” reps and full stretch reps with a poundage you can control completely.

The burn was almost as intense as last time, but not quite… either that or my pain tolerance was higher. I was really ready for this session today. I was focused and “mentally tough.”

These last two workouts, it was no ordinary “BURN.” The only way I can describe it is like this: It was as if my entire upper body were a thermometer (filling up with acid). After each rep, the burn intensified and the acid rose higher from my lower lats into my upper back and chest, into my shoulders, up into my neck into my face like a hot flush and all the way to the top of my head like the “thermometer” was about to explode out the top on the very last rep, and then I let go of the bar (rope) and there is instantaneous relief as if the acid suddenly drains right out from top to bottom.

I honestly don’t know if I would be able to (or is that “want to”?) duplicate this workout by myself. It’s your body’s natural reaction to get out of the pain, and this was simply pushing
further into the burn than I’ve ever experienced before. If you’re expecting this type of workout in advance, it’s the type of workout that can give you an anxiety attack!

The only feeling of preworkout anxiety (anticipating the pain) that can compare is the (legitimate) 20-rep squat routine, at the very end of your cycle when you are one or two workouts away from your peak and you are already into new territory, doing 20 reps with a weight you formerly could never do more than 10 reps with, staring at that loaded bar, and wondering how the heck you got 20 reps – with 10 lbs less – last time. Get “Super Squats” by Randall Stossen to
read more about that. (Arthur Jones used to put some of his “victims” through that as well. Some of the stories about Jones putting Casey, Sergio and company through those sessions are legendary.)

Friggin awesome calf workout! All I did was change exercises/equipment. My “home base” gym, Empire Fitness Club is awesome, but a little bit limited on calf equipment. I did calves at
Supreme Fitness and had access to some different machines which totally did the trick. First I used a Cybex plate loaded rotary calf machine (first time I ever used that machine). After a couple warm ups, I threw on four plates and repped out three sets of 20 reps.

Next, I used the front squat machine and did calf raises off the edge of the platform. Because of the leverage factor, I had to pile on the plates with each set (up to 6 plates each side), and it hit em’ good! Nice contraction at the top without that “crushing your spine” feeling you get when you go super heavy on a regular standing calf machine.

The last exercise was the seated calf machine. Four plates (180 lbs) for 15-20 reps per set. After that, my calves were more pumped than they have been since I can remember. They were sore the next day too, and looked visibly improved. Goes to show that you must continually shock your calves, use a lot of variety in exercises, hit them as hard as you do any other body part, and pile on the plates. Calves can be stubborn buggers, but if you hit em’ hard, and take them as seriously as any other body part, they WILL grow.

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Comments on Another Doozy Of A Back Day (Compliments Of The M.O.P.) Leave a Comment

August 8, 2005

Kev @ 4:09 am #

Hey Tom
The last lot of entries are coming in thick and fast, looks like you’ve been catching up on them 😉
These last lot of entries have been an excellent read, looking back on the history of your blog, this will no doubt be something to have printed off for future reference for some superb workout ideas and motivation and an account for a period in your life you have shared with others!
Tom do you use milestones in your 12 week contest preperation period where you review what you have done and how your progressing at each mark?
Seeing as you have done this many times you have an idea of exactly how you need to look and feel each week or period of weeks so I would have thought you would be measuring this somehow?
Also do you checkout the competition of who is competing in the classes you will be entering and at what stage?
Do you even look at training with any of the other guys in the competition or dont you allow yourself to have that sort of contact until competition time?
A few questions I know, but ones that I feel do merit part of the mental and physical preparation ready for the contest.
really looking forward to seeing your results from the gruelling sessions, you’ve been covering yourself up 😉 so no doubt you will leave us with our jaws dropped when we see you at the end of the cycle 🙂
Keep up the good work Tom!! 🙂

August 19, 2005

Chris @ 10:54 am #

What a back workout! Did it today and thought I was going to fall over afterwards. I was hurting all over and my cardiovascular system was worked. Thanks a lot for helping add size to my physique. Cheers,

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