IFBB Pro bodybuilder Breon Ansley recently shared his back workout. Ansley is one of the greatest Classic Physique competitors of his generation and has won the Olympia crown two times. The year 2018 marked the most successful year of his career as he won the Classic Physique championship in both Olympia and the Arnold Classic. The 42-year-old last competed at the 2022 Arnold Classic and finished fourth. He is set to return to the stage for the 2022 IFBB Tampa Pro and has revealed the plan to move to the 212 division in 2023.
Fourteen weeks out of the show, Breon Ansley’s prep for the Tampa Pro has started and he recently shared an impressive back workout on his YouTube channel. At the beginning of the video, Ansley gave insights into his training schedule and said:
“These next two weeks specifically we are not gonna go too heavy, really focus on a lot of volume and a lot of pace and then that third week is gonna be… We’re going to maybe lower the reps and get a little bit more heavier and really grind that out on the heavy side a little bit.”
“There is many phases throughout the prep. So you’ve got to be in tune with what’s going on, you got to really check the balances a lot on a day-to-day basis because things change…”
Although the workout did not involve heavier weights, Breon Ansley clarified that building up the muscles was still the primary goal. However, the training camp right now is focused on fine tuning the diet, rest as well as cardio at this stage.
Breon Ansley’s back workout
Pull-ups are an advanced but ridiculously simple bodyweight movement to build upper body strength and activate nearly every back muscle. In addition to pre-exhausting the back muscles, it is also an effective way to warm up the arms and elbow joints as both are important in nearly every back workout. Breon Ansley started the back workout session with traditional bodyweight pull-ups and performed four sets with minimal or no rest periods in between.
Bent-over dumbbell rows
Immediately after, Breon Ansley took to bent-over dumbbell rows. This movement is effective in working the muscles in the upper and middle back. Ansley wore a lifting belt to perform the movement. The 42-year-old completed three sets with slow and controlled movement. Keeping the core tight is important while performing this exercise to reduce the chances of injuring the lower back. Breon Ansley shared a tip to keep the core tight. He said:
“Keep that core tight when you bend it over like that guys. Compromising movement, bending over… So keep your core tight and breathe up here in your chest. Don’t breathe down your stomach because then your stomach is directly in line with your lower back, okay? So you don’t want to let that stomach loose. Then the lower back gets loose.”
Lat pulls are probably the most recognized back exercise in the gyms around the world. The movement is a staple for bodybuilders to get that desired v-shaped back that fans out at the top. Breon Ansley performed three high-rep sets of lat pull-downs and jumped onto the next movement.
Bent-over rope pull-downs
Latissimus Dorsi or simply lats are again the primary target muscles of bent-over rope pull-downs. It is a compound movement that involves almost all of the upper body muscles. Learning to engage the abs while pulling down the cable / rope during this exercise helps you develop core stability. Breon Ansley performed the exercise with slow and controlled movement in the eccentric phase.
Wide grip seated cable rows
Seated rows are a beneficial movement to improve and maintain a perfectly erect posture. When performed with a close grip bar, seated rows primarily target the lats and the other muscles in the upper back. However, performing this exercise with a wide grip bar has an added benefit for competitive bodybuilders.
Using the wide grip bar for seated cable rows increases the range of motion by a few inches than a close grip bar. This helps activate the rhomboid muscles that are located in the center of the upper and middle back to a greater extent and helps achieved a more defined back. Breon Ansley performed this movement with moderate weight and jumped onto the finisher of the day.
Incline back extensions
Breon Ansley finished the back workout session with a few sets of incline back extensions with weight plate. One of the primary muscles this exercise works are the erector spinae. These muscles run along the length of spinal cord. Their function includes extending and flexing the vertebral column to maintain optimal posture of the spine during exercise.
Overall, the workout consisted of:
- Bent-over dumbbell rows
- Lat pull-downs
- Bent-over rope pull-downs
- Wide grip seated cable rows
- Incline back extensions
Roster information for the Tampa Pro show is not available at the time of writing. Those who are interested in getting a comparison to the classic physique legend may be tempted to participate, or perhaps go to another show to earn Olympia qualification points.
Courtesy of Breon Ansley’s YouTube channel, you can watch the full workout video here: