Upper Back Training With Yet Another New Venuto Twist

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2005. I added yet another level to my back workout today… a wicked new tri-set. Check this out…

BACK

A1 Seated Low cable Row
3 sets X 190 lbs X 14, 12, 11 reps, last set, drop to 140 lbs X 8 more reps
B1 Straight Arm Pulldown
3 sets X 130 lbs X 10-12 reps
B2 high pulley rope rows, elbows close, pull to stomach
3 sets X 150 lbs X 10-12 reps
B3 High pulley rope rows to face, elbows out
3 sets X 120 lbs X 15 reps
no rest between tri-setted exercises B1, B2, B3, 60 seconds rest between tri sets
C1 T-Bar Rows
Set 1: 100 lbs X 15 reps
Set 2: 125 lbs X 12 reps
Set 3: 150 lbs X 10 reps, drop to 125 lbs X 6 more reps, drop to 100 lbs X 8 more reps

TRAPS

A1 Barbell Shrugs
Set 1: 315 lbs X 12 reps
Set 2: 335 lbs X 12 reps
Set 3: 355 lbs X 10 reps
Set 4: 375 lbs X 9 reps
A2 Dumbbell Shrugs
4 sets X 65 lbs X 12 reps X 1013 (hold 3 seconds top of every rep)
10 seconds rest between supersetted exercises A1 & A2, 60 seconds rest between supersets

CALVES

A1 calf press (on Icarian 45 degree plate load leg press)
4 sets X 450 lbs X 15-20 reps
B1 one legged Donkey calf
4 sets X 250 X 12-15 reps
C1 Seated calf machine (Cybex)
3 sets X 115 lbs (2 plates + quarter) X 20-25 reps

Workout Commentary

I worked mostly in the 12 rep range on back today, although I am still doing my best to keep some heavy or at least moderate weights in there to keep as much size as possible.

I added a new twist to the workout today with the tri-set routine. I do the straight arm rope pulldowns quite often, as this works the portion of the lats that you can see from the front (in a front lat spread, a front double biceps or a relaxed symmetry round pose).

To add more intensity to it, I was previously doing a new exercise I came up with called high pulley rope rows. After the rope pulldowns, without resting, I switch from straight arm pulldown into bent arm rope row, keeping my elbows tucked in real close to my sides.

Today, I added yet another level by turning this into a tri set. The third exercise was the high rope row to the face. These were performed with the elbows high and wide to target the upper back between the shoulder blades and even the rear delts. Great detailing exercise, and doing it last in a tri set worked out fantastic.

I’m back to doing traps on back day rather than shoulder day. Reason being, I’ve been prioritizing and specializing on delts lately with focus only on the front, side and rear deltoid heads respectively in one single workout session (usually training with Richie Smyth on those days), and I want to FOCUS only on delts on those days. I find that traps work well on either day.

I changed up the calf routine today except for seated calves which stayed in the routine. Sometimes when I don’t have access to a lot of calf equipment (depends on which gym I’m training at),or if I get bored or stale with the usual standing calf, calf press or donkey calf, I just go to one legged movements, which is what I did today on the donkey calf.

I remember back in the day when there were no donkey calf machines (at least they weren’t common as they are today), and the only way to do the donkey calf raise was with a weight belt (hard to get enough weight, though), or a training partner or two sitting on your back. Remember those great photos of Arnold with Franco Columbo and a couple other behemoths sitting on his back? Classic! Can you imagine the looks you’d get doing those in a club like Bally’s or 24 hour fitness today… LOL!

Anyway, I digress…

The scale ticked downward yet again today… 184 lbs., down from 185.5 just a couple days ago. No surprise there with only 100 grams of carbs a day and 2500 calories (somebody FEED ME!) Yeah, I’m “suffering”, but I don’t have to do this for long. For the short term (peaking), it really knocks the fat off, as well as takes the water out and gives you a “drier” look. Only trouble is, you can’t do this type of “severe”, “hard core” dieting for long because even if you can hack it, before long, your body REVOLTS and says “screw you!” LOL! Then down goes your metabolic rate along with your lean body mass. Anyway, I bet I’ll be 182 by Monday at this rate.

Still, I have to say, I want to get even leaner. I’m going for that REALLY FREAKY RIPPED LOOK this year. I’m already super lean, but I’ve looked like this before. I want to go into new territory. I want a new look. The look I’m talking about is where the skin is so tight it’s “shrink wrapped” to your abs and seems to just “cling” like saran wrap… and there are veins criss crossing your stomach (you KNOW you’re ripped then)… the obliques are all sliced up like little “fingers” running diagonally on each side of your waist, framing your abs… the tie ins and separation between muscle groups is CRISP, CLEAR and DEEP…. The quads are striated… the striations in your deltoids ripple and seem to “dance” with the slightest movement of your arm… the veins almost seem to lie ON TOP of your skin… and everything is just razor sharp. Yeah, that’s it. Gotta KEEP GOING until I get that look. Just not satisfied til I get that look.

So I guess I’d better go do more cardio huh???? And more low carbs tomorrow, then I’ll take a high day Saturday. Then it looks like another 3 days very low carb after that before carbing up again. Saturday is chest and back, so I’ll blog again then. CYA.

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October 13, 2005

Marc @ 5:14 pm #

Tom,
Killer back workout. Interesting concept on the rope lat pulldowns.
But today, my traps are sore! I’ve never really thought to do that particular combination of a super-set. Heavy shrugs, followed by slow, squeeze-n-feel shrugs with dumbbells.
All day I’m doing anything I can not to shrug.
This was a good workout for the traps.

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