Dorian Yates dominated the IFBB Pro League Men’s Open division with grainy back detail during his Mr. Olympia reign. In a recent post made on Instagram, Yates shared his favorite exercise for building a bigger and wider back.
Dorian Yates dominated the bodybuilding stages in the late 1980s and 90s. He made a name for himself on the regional circuit before finding his way to the Mr. Olympia competition in 1991. He made a statement in his Olympia debut with a runner-up finish but fell short of eight-time winner Lee Haney.
The next year, Yates returned with vengeance and scored his maiden Sandow trophy in 1992. He proved to be a commanding champion as he added five successful title defenses on his way to becoming a six-time Mr. Olympia.
Besides a jacked back and stellar conditioning, Yates was renowned for his high-intensity workouts where he liked to push himself to the limit or near failure in every session. He used this strategy as opposed to following a traditional regimen of using a set number of sets/reps. He kept a low profile even at the height of his popularity, which earned him the nickname, ‘The Shadow.’
Yates hung up his posing trunks decades ago but maintains a passion for fitness and working out. He teamed up with Junior Mr. Universe Kaya Yusuf for a taxing back workout and posing session last November. He mentored the budding amateur contender through each exercise and offered some valuable tips.
The 60-year-old opened up on his beginnings in bodybuilding as a troubled teenager a few months ago. He credited the sport for changing his life when he was in prison, which helped him later find success.
His impact in the Open class can be felt to this day. Following Hadi Choopan’s win at the 2022 Mr. Olympia, bodybuilding veteran Rich Gaspari criticized his conditioning by comparing his back to Yates’. The criticism sparked a debate about the evolution of the contenders over time, for better or worse.
‘The Shadow’ left the fans stunned with a jacked physique update under a waterfall in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil earlier this year. He followed up with positive results from a health check and VO2 Max test. He also revealed his biological age clocked in between 30 and 39.
Dorian Yates shares his favorite back exercise: barbell rows
In a recent Instagram post, Dorian Yates shared his favorite exercise to perform on a back day.
“Barbell rows!” wrote Yates.
“These were my favourite back exercise and I performed them with an underhand grip for the most part. I was able to go really heavy on this exercise but I could’ve actually gone heavier than the 4.5 plates per side I was used to, but this would’ve meant that I would sacrifice form for weight.
I remember one of the first times @paulbaxendale trained back with myself. It was just us two this time as Kenny had a change in shift at work.I performed my usual set and when Paul performed his, I asked him to put the bar down and lower the weight, by half.
“Now Paul was a big guy and had been training for years, he had a solid physique and knew his stuff,” added Dorian Yates. “But I saw that he was using a lot of momentum when doing barbell rows, so he halved the weight and used that as a working weight for a while. Over the next few months, his back grew in size and I could see a visible difference!”
Barbell Row – Yates Style
1. The Grip: This is the best exercise to pack a lot of muscle on the mid-to- lower lats and back. I use a reverse-grip with my hands spaced about 16 to 18 inches apart. I always pull the barbell into my waist.
2. The Stance: I stand with my upper body above parallel at approximately 70 degrees to the floor. This puts the lots in a much stronger mechanical posi tion and also protects the lower back from injury. As with all lat exercises, it is essential to keep the spine in an arched position so the lat muscles can fully contract.
- Obviously it’s quite difficult to perform forced reps on a barbell row. So, in order to increase the intensity and go beyond the point of muscular failure, I do partial reps. I only use partial reps after I’m unable to perform any more fullrange reps. I continue doing partial reps until I can’t move the bar more than a few inches.
- As with all my basic mass exercises, I perform the negative portion of the rep fairly slowly and the positive portion of the rep as forcefully as possible.
- I believe in using wrist straps on all back exercises that require heavy weight. Straps help reinforce my grip, thereby allowing me to get more reps and work the muscle to full exhaustion.
RELATED: Bent Over Rows – Benefits, Muscles Worked and Variations
Last month, Dorian Yates showed off his insanely shredded physique with defined abs and impressive biceps development.
His latest revelation will certainly inspire many bodybuilders and fitness fans to make barbell rows a regular part of their training program.
More Back Workouts:
- Best Bodyweight Back Exercises For A Yoked Posterior Chain
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- Science-Based Back Workout For Target Every Muscle
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- Back Exercises at Home + Workout
- Best Back Stretching Exercises
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