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Arnold Schwarzenegger back workout

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Broad Back building tricks

Arnold Schwarzenegger had a variety of different tricks to build his body better than anyone else. Arnold never really did hide what he was doing, either, it was just that most people focused on the wrong thing or couldn't figure out what he was doing, and why. Fortunately once Arnold quit competing he revealed many of his insights.

One of Arnold's tricks for building a broader back was to stretch and pose between sets of chin ups. Chin ups are designed to get as much width as possible from the back muscles, particularly in the lat region. Arnold would take it a step further and perform stretching and posing during the middle of the workout, between sets. Most guys rest between sets, but not Arnold. He was quite active and gave his back more reason to grow.

The best between set stretching is moderately dynamic in nature. That's because a totally static stretch can impair the workout itself. You want the stretching done between sets to be movement oriented. Arnold would grab a bar or support structure like a power rack and pull, stretching the back muscles deeply. He would then also perform a wide lat spread in a posing movement and really fan out the lat muscles. You an actually help the lat muscles to widen with this style of posing. Hold both the stretching and the posing points very briefly, but repeat frequently.

The more you start stretching and posing between sets of chin ups the more proficient you will become at being able to really flare your back out wide. Focus on both single side and dual lat flare outs.

Another technique from Arnold's era was mixed upper torso training - to perform a set of bench press and then follow up immediately (basically a super set style) with a set of chin ups. This bench-chin super set builds a tremendous pump up in the upper torso as all of the training action is directed in this area. Many lifters from this era noted that this particular combination acted like a super charger, pushing strong gains in both the chest and the back.

There seems to be a synergistic action going on, with antagonistic muscle action creating a great back and forth effort, with the upper torso the beneficiary. And something about supersetting chin ups with bench seems to help the lifter get more weight up in the bench press as well.

The next time you perform a bench press workout, mix in chin-ups superset after each set of the bench. This dynamic training routine may soon become a permanent part of your workout.

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