By IFBB Pro Jamie Christian, Aka’ The Giant’
Photography by Simon Howard
It’s a tough shift at the beginning!
Turning up to the gym daily – putting in the hard work, suffering the DOMS – and then doing it all over again.
If you’re kicking off your bodybuilding journey, your motivation might be dwindling – you’re searching for the light at the end of the tunnel – and luckily, there is some.
Working out will always feel hard, so it’s a workout.
But the good news is that our muscles adapt to the stress or exercise over time, making it more accessible. Not only will you feel more robust, but your confidence will grow, and you’ll be able to push yourself to the next level.
And to get you on the right path Jamie Christian aka ‘The Giant,’ is sharing one supercharged workout targetting your back muscles.
We aim to arm you with the motivation to push through the early stages of bodybuilding to a more successful (and enjoyable) training regime.
How does the body adapt to exercise?
The human body is an incredible machine!
As you push it to extremes, its resilience is designed to adapt to the ever-increasing demands you place it under.
Think about what weight you could lift when you first started – the chances are it’s featherweight now – it might even be your warm-up weight.
As you become a better bodybuilder, the need for excess volume diminishes.
Because, like anything, we become better at, we develop a stronger connection with our muscles, and we grow stronger, which in turn applies more stimulus to the muscle. As we progress through our bodybuilding lifespan, we can accumulate more fatigue from less work.
One rep may eventually become the equivalent of four reps compared to a beginner.
Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of confidence. Once your body has adapted, you can ramp up the effort and intensity until that becomes easy too. Challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to push to the next level when ready.
You’ll find that your progression will help you not only physically but also make you mentally stronger.
A bodybuilder’s back with this ‘giant’ workout…
The IFBB’s tallest Pro athlete Jamie Christian Aka ‘The Giant’, takes us through this giant back workout.
To optimize your workouts as you progress, scale back the volume a touch. This may mean performing 2-3 sets per exercise instead of 4-5.
Find your training sweet spot.
EZ Bar Cable Lat Pullover
An exercise predominantly for the lats. I typically warm up with this exercise to engage the lats and stimulate that mind-muscle connection.
This is imperative to ensure we reap maximal stimulation and response. Starting with some light sets of 20, I’ll do five total sets, with the final 3 sets becoming progressively heavier while I lower the reps each time.
Try a rep range of 12/10/8 as each set’s weight increases.
When executed correctly, this will give a nice stretch in the lats as you lengthen. You should feel the stimulus in the mid-back as you draw the elbows back and pull the bar in.
The key here is elbow drive and pulling through the elbows, not the biceps.
The aim is to get the elbows past the line of your torso or as far back as possible while squeezing the hell out of the mid-back.
I usually perform 3 sets of 12/10/8, increasing the weight and adding in a final drop set for which the weight is lowered by 25%.
I complete as many additional reps as possible to drain the muscle for this set.
A staple exercise for back thickness. You’ve likely heard the term ‘row to grow’, which couldn’t be more accurate. If you want a thicker back, you must row!
Anything that allows you to plant your feet or chest for back rows is optimal, as this limits body movement and allows you to lock into the exercise.
I use the same format as above because it’s simple and effective. Ensure you lift a heavy enough weight for a varying volume with good form to inhibit muscle damage and stimulate a recovery response. The muscle will grow thicker and larger if a solid diet and recovery regime is in place!
Perform a rep range of 12/10/8, increasing the weight and adding a final drop set for which the weight is lowered by 25%.
Push through to become a bodybuilder…
Becoming a bodybuilder and gaining an enviable physique doesn’t happen overnight – it requires dedication, discipline and perseverance.
But the good news is that as you push through the tough workouts, your bones, muscles, tendons, heart, and lungs will adapt to the stress, and the same activities will feel slightly more effortless in the future.
So don’t give up; keep pushing, feel the burn and gain the long-term benefit of working out confidently like a pro!
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