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Fouad Abiad's Project Inferno Day 44:Back

I got to the gym later than usual today because I was tired, and I took a nap. That doesn’t mean you skip your workout. You just change your daily schedule. Today is back day, and I’m including both rowing and pulldown moves. You guys know at this point that this means I’m training for both width and thickness today. That also means I won’t include another back-training workout this week. We’ve trained back twice the past couple weeks on Project Inferno, so we’re going to emphasize other body parts in this week’s training.

The first exercise is close-grip cable pulldowns. I like to start with a pulldown move to open my back—it doesn’t really matter that much which pulldown exercise I start with, I just like to begin a workout when I’m training back for both width and thickness with a pulldown move. They can be close-grip or wide-grip. Today, I’m trying to emphasize my lower lats, so I’m going with a triangle handle.

After my pulldown warm-up move, I switch to a rowing move—today I’m targeting lower lats more than thickness or width, so I’m hitting them with both types of move. I begin with barbell T-bar rows from the floor with a triangle handle to hit both sides of my lats at the same time. In earlier weeks, I’ve used a similar move performed unilaterally, where I gripped the barbell directly with one hand.

For this move, I’m using both hands and a dead stop at the bottom of the rep. This allows you to activate your target muscles better with a lower weight because you aren’t using momentum. It’s similar to the rest-pause technique but it’s a little different. You allow the weight to touch the ground with every rep, but you don’t let it bounce. Don’t release the tension in your back between reps, make sure you maintain that, but avoid using momentum. By starting the rep from ground zero you’re also building strength even though you’re depleted. Don’t forget that you can ultimately increase your strength on Project Inferno by using these techniques. While you may not be able to lift more during this Trainer, you’ll be surprised by how much stronger you are after you begin to re-feed after this program because you’re creating an environment to take advantage of explosive power when you reintegrate that.

My third exercise is also a rowing move—Platform T-bar rows. This is a completely different rowing exercise even though it’s similar to the previous one. This one allows me to pull with a reverse grip to target the lower lats even more. My hand placement is a little wider—about shoulder distance apart.

Next up is decline EZ-bar pullovers. I have my bench set at a slight decline to add more stretch to my lats. Then, I’m using a cambered bar with my hands close together to really target my outer lats. If you place your hands closer together you end up using more shoulders and triceps. So keep your hands close together to target lats and extend all the way without bending your elbows. You should reach the top of the move around eye level. If you go past this, then you’re bringing in your chest and removing tension from your back.

The finishing exercise for today’s back workout is reverse-grip pulldowns with a cambered bar, which is easier on my wrists than a straight bar. I’m doing these with extreme form on purpose: I’ve included a lot of continuous tension moves earlier in the workout; so, for this one I want to pull deep and emphasize the contraction at the concentric/positive part of each rep. This drives more blood into the target muscles to stimulate better growth. Note that the other pauses have been at the negative/extension—not the contraction—part of the exercise. That’s another element that makes this move different.

My form is extremely strict. I hold my body upright and I pull straight down. It’s good to vary the techniques you’re using from one exercise to another. That includes rep schemes, grips, dead stops and forced contractions. The way to grow is to change these techniques from one workout to another. That way you’re working both your slow- and fast-twitch fibers, and you’re attacking the muscle from every angle.

 

Download the Workout

 

Morning cardio

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Perform 55 minutes before consuming food

 

CLOSE-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN 6 sets x 12 reps
T-BAR ROW 4 sets x 8-10 reps
PLATFORM T-BAR ROW
6 sets x 8-10 Reps
Decline EZ-Bar Pullover 3 sets x 10 reps
REVERSE-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN
3 sets x 10-12 reps

Post-workout cardio

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Perform 40 minutes immediately after weight-training or add this session later in the evening

 

TAKEAWAY:

Today’s back workout included both rowing and pulling movements to target the back for both width and thickness. We’re deep into Project Inferno, and that means making training sessions more efficient during a calorie deficit. This back workout hits lats from every angle for full back development. Note that I also like to stretch my back between my sets to activate and open up these muscles. I’m not just sitting on my ass during these 30-second pauses between sets. I’m making the most of every second I’m in the gym.


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