How Did Big Ramy Build His Monstrous Wide Back

Big Ramy’s Mammoth Back Workout
Big Ramy’s Mammoth Back Workout

Big Ramy’s Mammoth Back Workout

Mamdouh Elssbiay, known in the world of bodybuilding as “Big Ramy”, has been a serious competition to all big rivals in the IFBB Pro League since earning his pro card by winning the 2012 Amateur Olympia.

This 33-year-old, 5 foot 10 inches tall and 300lbs heavy giant is known for his massive wide thick back. It looks like this Egyptian-born bodybuilder improves his form constantly as the time goes by.

Here is the list of his Mr. Olympia results: eighth place in 2013, seventh in 2014, fifth in 2015, fourth in 2016, and the second in 2017. Maybe it is time to become the champion! Big Ramy also has five pro titles under his belt – 2013 and 2014 New York Pro, 2015 Arnold Classic Brazil, 2016 Kuwait Pro, and Arnold Classic Europe on September 23, 2017, in Barcelona, Spain. One thing is obvious – he climbs higher and higher!

Big Ramy will be looking for a rematch and victory over Phil Heath at 2018 Mr. Olympia. The heaviest on stage bodybuilder was waiting for six long years and his time is coming. At least when their back is compared, Big Ramy dominates with extraterrestrial dimensions or upper and middle back muscles that impress even the most demanding judges.

Big Ramy vs Phil Heath Back Shot

He has settled in Oxygen Gym in Kuwait City, where he trains on a daily basis, preparing for the biggest success of his career. Big Ramy met his coach Ahmad Alaqi three years ago, and they were maintaining the simple routine since then. It looks easy, but it takes you everything. He is a fan of progressive approach for chest, back, legs, and shoulders.

According to Ahmad Alaqi, the rep range varies from 15 to 6. In the first week, it starts with 15 repetitions. During every week, they decrease the number of repetitions. The second week is reserved for 12, third for 10, fourth 8, and fifth 6. As the number of repetitions decreases weights increase progressively.

Training Split

  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Legs
  • Wednesday – Delts
  • Thursday – Back
  • Friday – Arms

Big Ramy’s Back Workout

Here is the idea this world-class Egyptian-born bodybuilder sticks to. Of course, never even question performing warm-ups before and stretches after the training session is completed. Alongside these exercises, Big Ramy sticks to stiff-arm pulldowns, deadlifts, Hammer strength pulldowns, and barbell rows.  When the fifth week is over, Big Ramy does the first again continuing the cycle!

Exercise NameSetsNumber Of Repetitions (Weeks 1-5)
Machine Row3-415-12-10-8-6
One-Arm Dumbbell Row3-415-12-10-8-6
Front Lat Pulldown 3-415-12-10-8-6
Rear Lat Pulldown3-415-12-10-8-6
Seated Cable Row3-415-12-10-8-6


Big Ramy – Back Workout Details

Big Ramy tries to balance properly between five exercises for world-class looking back. Here are his routine and tips. The use of straps is something this legend does on a regular basis!

Machine Row

This is a tremendous exercise for your rhomboid muscles, teres major and teres minor, and lats. It will also activate traps and biceps if done properly. The best Egyptian-born bodybuilder focuses on long contractions during this exercise, using the full potential of Hammer Strength machine. His secret is related to pulling elbows behind his body and striving for additional repetitions all the time.


Adjust your seat properly – when handles are grasped, your arms have to be straight out from your shoulders, while your upper abdominal muscles and chest should be resting against the pad and remain firm. Grab the handles with a pronated grip (palms down), lifting the weight slightly up for the starting position.

Start pulling handles evenly. As the handles pass the plane of your back, shift your shoulder blades to the inside at the same time. Hold the contraction at the top position and exhale. Return through the reverse movement pattern with control, making sure to extend your elbows, and inhale. If you feel stretching of your middle back and lats, the execution is proper. Continue until the remainder of the set.

Mistakes and tips:

  • When you want to maintain tension throughout the movement, stop the weights few inches before the down position – this is one more secret of Big Ramy.
  • Handles must be pulled evenly or you might hurt yourself or create a disbalance between left and right side of your body.
  • Seat height is an extremely important factor.
  • Optionally, you can use palms facing (neutral) grip, when you reach advanced levels. This is good to activate internal rotators.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

When you have one side a lot stronger than the other one, this exercise saves your day! It targets traps, lower back, lats, and rhomboid muscles. Big Ramy never over twists the upper body, disabling the momentum and excluding bouncing benefits. We also recommend keeping your head in a neutral position with your back – don’t look up as you perform the repetition.


Big Ramy keeps both hands on the floor and places a free arm on a knee pad which is placed on the pulldown machine for maximum balance. Put the dumbbell in your working hand and wrap the strap around the handle to get as strong grip as possible. Keep your back flat, torso 45-degrees angled, dumbbell hanging down. This is your starting position.

Flex through your back lifting the dumbbell towards your flank. Make sure the elbow passes behind the level of your back, and rotate the shoulder blades to the inside as you reach the top of the movement and exhale. Lower the weight through the same path and inhale, not letting the dumbbell touch the floor between your repetitions.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Rotate the dumbbell to the inside to include more muscles.
  • No bouncing, your body stands flat like an arrow.
  • The dumbbell goes towards the side of your body, not stomach or far away from your body – it is irregular technique.
  • Try to perform it at moderate speed for maximum effect.

Front Lat Pulldown

For this exercise, use an overhand grip, few inches wider than your shoulders. It will target your lats as a natural, and biceps will also work. Big Ramy carries a belt in this exercise, claiming the reason is keeping lower back and abdominal muscles tight during the exercise.


Grab the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Sit in the seat, tucking your thighs under the kneepads. Make sure your feet stand firm on the ground to provide additional stability. Your elbows have to be opened in the sitting position, and pull the weight down for few inches. This is your starting position.

Keeping your core muscles tight, pull the bar towards your thighs, bringing its center in the level of your pectorals, bending your elbows. Shift your shoulder blades back and down, and exhale as you reach the down position. As the bar touches your chest, squeeze your lower and middle back muscles, slowly return the bar to the starting position, and inhale.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Try wrapping your thumbs around the bar or even adding straps for very big weight.
  • The proper leg height setting is extremely important.
  • Weight stack mustn’t touch down between your repetitions.
  • The bar has to cross the line of your chin and shoulders, or the execution is incorrect.
  • Do not bounce or lift your glutes off the seat.

Seated Cable Row

This multi-joint exercise targets the muscles of your whole back – rhomboid muscles, teres minor et major, lats, traps, and even rear part of deltoids.


Before you start, make sure a close-grip V-bar handle to the seated row cable machine is attached properly. Sit upright with your face pointed towards the weight stack. Put your feet against the platform with your knees slightly bent, and grab the handles. Lean back until your torso stands upright and your arms are completely extended – this is your starting position.

Pull the handle towards your chest flexing your elbows and keeping handles as close to the body as possible. Shift your shoulder blades backward squeezing them together and exhale. Hold a little bit, then flex your lats and middle back muscles to return to the starting position and inhale. Continue until the remainder of the set.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Weight stack mustn’t touch down between your repetitions.
  • Do not bounce or lift your glutes off the seat.
  • Your back and head have to be perfectly flat.
  • Do not return elbows away from your body.
  • Do not release the bar suddenly, you will risk back injury.

Rear Lat Pulldown

It is also a tremendous exercise for your lats and biceps. We recommend the use of straps here since better grip might lead to more effective back workout. Your forearms could limit the movement and the bar could slide due to sweating.


Grab the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, few inches from the place where the sides angle downward. Sit in the seat, tucking your thighs under the kneepads and keeping your feet on the ground. Slightly pull the weight stack down – this is your starting position.

Keeping your core muscles tight, torso slightly angled forward and chin down, start bringing the center of the bar towards the rear part of your neck and exhale, bringing your elbows downward and to the sides. Squeeze muscles of your upper back as soon as the bar touches your neck, return to the starting position with control, and inhale.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Your chin isn’t tucked, it is only pointed down.
  • The proper leg height setting is extremely important.
  • Weight stack mustn’t touch down between your repetitions.
  • Do not bounce or lift your glutes off the seat.
  • The bar must touch your neck otherwise the execution is incorrect.

Final Word

Big Ramy is probably the most perfectly built bodybuilder when it comes to the look of the rear side of the body. Pretty much similar to the comic character Hulk by look, Ramy is the worst nightmare of the best names of this sport. We believe he has serious chances of winning Mr. Olympia 2018 if he can bring the right balance and conditioning on the Olympia stage.

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Vladimir Vlad
Vladimir is an educated fitness coach with a master degree in Sports And Physical Education, and more than 6 years of working in the fitness industry. A strength and conditioning coach of soccer superstars David and Dorian Babunski. An open-minded coach who is always ready to study and improve his skills. A man who really understands the mechanics of weights and exercises. He thinks that everybody can make a training program but only an educated coach can fully understand it. He also likes to write controversial topics from the world of powerlifting, strongman, and weightlifting. Vladimir discovered his passion for martial arts in the early age. He is the owner of Taekwondo black belt and trains kickboxing on a regular basis. He got his first journalism job when he was recruited by The first topic was related to Diaz brothers’ controversies. Since Nate Diaz is a member of his top five fighters, it was a real piece of cake. Vladimir then started writing about fighters’ profiles and later made a transition to MMA news. He describes himself as a man who is a real lover of MMA with an endless passion for it. This writer is extremely grateful to this amazing company for letting him express his full potential. Vladimir is a serious and dedicated martial arts lover. During the fight, he even has the ability to predict the incoming strike or submission attempt. Vladimir is a writer who really and honestly loves his job. He enjoys sharing his passion on his Youtube channel.

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