Bodybuilder Erin Banks is focusing his energies on winning the 2023 Legion Sports Fest Pro before defending his Men’s Physique Olympia title at the 2023 Olympia in November. Eight weeks out of the show, Banks tackled a back workout in the gym and posted the video on his YouTube channel.
Erin Banks is an American professional bodybuilder that competes in the Men’s Physique division of the IFBB Pro League. He is the reigning Men’s Physique Olympia champion and a two-time Arnold Classic Men’s Physique champion.
The 35-year-old bodybuilder earned the IFBB Pro card in 2019. But it was not until 2021 that Banks could grace the professional bodybuilding stage due to the global pandemic. He made the professional bodybuilding debut at the 2021 Houston Tournament of Champions and finished second. The American bodybuilder has competed in a total of nine pro shows so far and never finished outside of top three.
Erin Banks has been progressing leaps and bounds with each competitive appearance and he has won five of his six most recent shows. Banks became a top contender with a runner-up finish at the 2021 Olympia. He has since won the 2022 and 2023 Arnold Classic as well as 2022 Olympia Men’s Physique titles.
Heading into the 2022 Olympia, Erin Banks sparked a rivalry with four-time Men’s Physique Olympia champion Jeremy Buendia with his remarks. His equation with Diogo Montenegro and three-time Men’s Physique Olympia champion Brandon Hendrickson is also an interesting topic heading into the 2023 Olympia. As Buendia is planning his return to the Olympia stage in 2023, he, along with Hendrickson will be the frontrunner to dethrone Banks.
Erin Banks goes through a back workout
Erin Banks is honing his physique and getting ready to compete at the 2023 Legion Sports Fest Pro before heading into the 2022 Olympia. Recently, he went through a solid back workout to get ready for the show. Back is the champ’s favorite body part to train. He hit the gym and wasted no time to get things started. After consuming the pre-workout shake, Banks jumped into the workout on a quiet day.
Cable Straight Arm Pulldown
The Men’s Physique Olympia champion kicked off the workout with a straight arm pulldown to target the latissimus dorsi muscles. Erin Banks uses rope attachment for straight arm pulldown on some occasions. However, he prefers to work with reverse grip for most of his workouts and uses an EZ bar attachment for a more natural angle for the forearms.
Straight arm lat pulldown served as the warm-up exercise to prepare the body for the heavy workout that followed.
“Be patient with the body. Don’t rush the body, make sure you’re doing your sh** correctly and warming up the muscle not just going crazy to maybe a straight rack pull or straight chest supported T-bar rows or anything like that. Take your time,” Erin Banks advised before jumping into the heavy compound movements of his workout.
For a professional bodybuilder, losing time in recovering from injuries can be a major career setback and Banks stresses on the importance of warm-up to remain injury-free.
Chest Supported T-Bar Rows
Eight weeks out of the 2023 Legion Sports Fest Pro and 12 weeks out of the 2023 Olympia, Erin Banks is training with furious intensity. He advanced over to the chest-supported T-bar rows next to simulate the upper posterior chain muscles. He used a lifting belt for doing T-bar rows and explained the logic behind it:
“When You start movements or exercises that require a little bit more heavier weight, you kind of want to, again. Core stabilization and tightening that core is key. But also having that support for the back (is equally important).”
The 2022 Men’s Physique Olympia champion shared an insightful tip to build the most amount of muscle from chest supported T-bar rows. According to him, most people try to pull the weight up, straight against the gravity when on the machine. But Banks feels that the weight needs to be pulled wide (away from the center of the body and from the ground, simultaneously) to build a wide and thick back.
“It’s just my preference and what I do,” he clarified.
Erin Banks cranked out a few solid sets of T-bar rows with incrementally heavier weights. He managed the intensity of the training by allowing himself longer rest periods between sets as he went heavier.
Erin Banks performed T-bar rows with furious intensity but he carefully saved the energy to do this demanding exercise next. Rack pulls are a modified version of deadlifts and work the upper and lower posterior chain muscles.
If muscle gain is the purpose of training, rack pulls are an excellent choice. Erin Banks got a warm-up set of the exercise under his belt before starting with the heavy working sets. He used lifting straps to eliminate the grip strength limitation from the equation and said:
“Make sure you guys grab the straps. It’s not a cheat. It’s nothing like that. But it’s for me to just be able to control the weight, how I want to control the weights.”
Erin Banks lifted the weight carefully by squeezing the glutes and driving the hips through and lowered it in controlled fashion. He also ensured that the lats were activated and carried the load at the top of the movement.
The 35-year-old maintained the same form for all the reps and cranked out some heavy sets of rack pulls. Rack pulls / deadlifts can be extremely dangerous if not done with the correct technique. Here’s Erin Banks’ number one advice to avoid an injury while rack pulling heavy weights:
“This is that weight where if you pick this sh** up and you feel any kind of awkwardness or weirdness go through your body, stop! Let that ego sh** go out the door. Yes, you all can throw around weight but are you controlling the weight? It’s all about controlling this.”
Machine Seated Rows
Erin Banks next performed seated rows on an iso-lateral machine to target the upper back. He maintained the wide posture by keeping the elbows high to get the most out of the exercise and executed some heavy sets.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
The two-time Arnold Classic winner took to the wide grip lat pulldown next to target the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back. He used a wide bar attachment and did the exercise with a neutral grip. However, Banks used moderate weights for all three sets and explained:
“I’m not going crazy heavy on the lat pulldowns. Again, I want to control the weight, get contraction…”
Following this, Erin Banks proceeded to perform his own specialty, the ‘E Banks Rows’.
E Banks Rows
Erin Banks did not explain the inception story of this exercise. However, he showed the technique to perform this movement and performed a few sets with explosive movements.
- Position yourself on a hyperextension bench in front of a cable machine
- attach a close neutral grip mag bar to the cable machine
- The hyperextension bench has to be at a distance from cable machine where your arms are fully extended above your head when you are at the bottom of hyperextensions
- Lift yourself up by employing the erector spinae and hamstrings
- Row simultaneously by engaging the upper back muscles as you are coming up
- The mag bar should be pulled closer to the belly button when you are at the top of hyperextension
- Switch the mag bar with EZ bar, straight bar or a suitable attachment to modify the movement
The exercise should help you build a wide and thick back with simultaneous activation of upper, middle and lower back muscles. Using an EZ bar or a straight bar attachment should emphasize different parts of the muscle.
Erin Banks typically uses 32 to 35 kg weight to perform 12 to 15 reps. He can pull off up to eight reps with 42 kg weight. While it may not seem a lot for a world-class bodybuilder of Banks’ caliber, lifting heavier weights becomes challenging for rowing when coupled with hyperextensions.
“It ain’t no joke!” he exclaimed.
After executing some challenging sets of this unique exercise, Erin Banks wrapped up the training session.
Overall, the workout included:
- Cable Straight Arm Pulldown
- Chest Supported T-Bar Rows
- Rack Pulls
- Machine Seated Rows
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
- E Banks Rows
Looking at his career trajectory so far, Erin Banks seems primed to rule the Men’s Physique division for a while. However, he has experienced former champions like Jeremy Buendia and Brandon Hendrickson following close behind. However, he is constantly sharpening his tools and getting better to increase the gap between him and the division.
You can watch Erin Banks’ full workout video here, courtesy of Dragon Pharma’s YouTube channel: