In the Thick of Things
At the ’05 Mr. Olympia the most talked-about improvement was Jay Cutler’s back. Until then not one man in pro bodybuilding could stand next to Ronnie Coleman, the king of freaky backs, and compare. But Cutler showed a rugged landscape of dense muscle from traps to waist that few ever would have thought he was capable of building. What was his secret?
“For the entire year leading up to the show, I focused 100 percent on back thickness,” Jay explained. Knowing he had all the width he’d ever need, Jay eschewed chinups and pulldowns and instead went with deadlifts, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, T-bar rows and seated cable rows. “Except for the cable rows, it was all free weights,” he added. The results speak for themselves, as Jay’s rear double-biceps pose was arguably just as good as, or perhaps better than, Ronnie’s.
Some of you already have all the back width you need and could benefit from more thickness. If that’s your situation, why not take a few months and try Cutler’s thickness-only back regimen? The back is a very large and complex muscle group, and training it from every angle can be a long and arduous undertaking. Redirect some of that energy by doing only deadlifts and rowing movements for a time, and see if it doesn’t pay off for you the way it did for Jay Cutler.