Rafael Brandao, one of Brazil’s hottest names in the Men’s Open, has decided to take the year off to transform his body. In a recent YouTube video, Brandao, joined by his new coach Neil Hill, showed off his monstrous off-season physique after completing an arduous back workout.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. What I will say is: next year we will bring the new generation of Rafael to the stage which will be much improved,” Rafael’s coach Neil Hill shared.
The potential of Brandao was evident from the moment he began his bodybuilding career in 2017. However, he became the talk of the town after finishing third in 2020 at the Europa Pro. It didn’t take long for fans to take notice of his unique build on stage. Brandao sports a slim waist, a defined x-frame, and mass on par with his contemporaries in the Open.
In 2021, Rafael’s season was short but sufficient as he proved himself in first place at the Romania Muscle Fest Pro. This victory saw him surpass the now-2023 Mr. Olympia contender Samson Dauda and Quintin Eriya. While it appeared he would test himself at the 2022 Arnold Classic, Brandao pulled out due to health concerns. He made up for lost time at the Arnold Classic South America contest instead, where he handily took first.
Having qualified for the 2022 Mr. Olympia show, Brandao, led by former coach Chris Aceto, brought an impressive look. In his debut, he outperformed nearly 20 competitors to take tenth place. Now, with improvements being his top priority, Brandao decided to suspend his contest plans until 2024 in hopes of bringing his best look ever in the future.
Rafael Brandao Gets Pushed Through Brutal Back Workout By Trainer Neil Hill, Shows Off Huge Physique
Before he began the punishing back workout, Neil Hill talked about the pressure he’s under to bring the best Rafael Brandao to the stage next year.
“Brazil is a very passionate country. There’s so much passion in the fitness industry as well as all of the other industries within health and fitness. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, right… not everybody has that little bit of magic alright? There’s a genetic element, but Raphael has that genetic element and he also has got those lines. For me, shape and structure – it’s something that always draws my attention, do you understand? I’m super excited. I appreciate the opportunity to work with him. He’s going to get so much time and so much of my attention,” said Neil Hill.
Find the full workout list below:
- Lat Pulldown Machine – 4 sets
- Hammer Strength Front Lat pull Down – 4 sets
- Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Iso-lateral Row – 4 sets
- Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – 4 sets
Neil Hill offered Brandao some guidance on each exercise as well as tips on improvements and recovery.
Lat Pulldown Machine
“As I said, your arms have to be straight otherwise it’s all biceps. You’re stretching out your lats but you’re also – those bounces are letting you get momentum to pull it here. If you stop, it’s like pulling it dead. So what you’re doing is able to get extra reps and stretch out the lats.”
Hammer Strength Front Lat Pull Down
“The thing is as well while you’re training while we’re trying to force your weight up, recovery is harder as well right. It’s because we’re fighting the weight, you’ve got to this sickness, you’re fighting off, yes. You take the rest.”
Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Iso-Lateral Row
“Your fat levels are okay for the off-season. Not bad, yeah,” Hill shared. “I don’t think you’re going to come in your prime until you’re about 35-37. Then you’re just going hold it hold it and refine refine. As long as your body is healthy and fresh. I don’t think you’re going to hit your peak till 35-37. But when I say hit your peak, you could probably hold your peak for 3-5 years.”
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
“On average for back, probably four different exercises. Four different exercises, four sets, that’s 16 sets. That doesn’t sound like a lot but when you’re putting everything into working sets, 16 sets is more than enough believe you me. It’s more than enough.”
In a show of transparency, Neil Hill explained that turning Rafael Brandao into a Mr. Olympia winner could take up to ten years. Though, he does expect Brandao to look at his all-time best in two or three years.
“I feel like I’ve got the whole of Brazil looking down on me. This is going to be a work in progress. I personally feel the work that I want to do with Rafael I feel will be a 10-year process. I feel it’s going to take 2-3 years to bring that look where everyone says what the fuck have we just witnessed? Do we understand? It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take time. If you look at some of the greatest athletes of all time.
Okay, Dorian Yates was a one-off, look at Ronnie Coleman, look at Jay Cutler – these guys just to name a few. They didn’t hit the industry in the Mr. Olympia in their first Mr. Olympia and get a top 10 finisher. But they went on to win multiple Mr. Olympias right. Rafael has that ability to win the Olympia but it’s going to take time.”
Brandao’s 2023 bodybuilding season has not been without its fair share of obstacles. In May, the top Men’s Open Pro revealed that he was hospitalized due to a severe case of Dengue fever. The disease, which spreads from the bite of a mosquito, can cause debilitating headaches, diarrhea, body aches, and nausea.
Despite the setback, Rafael appears to be in good spirits given the momentum he picked up at the last Mr. Olympia. Since that fateful night, judges, fans, and bodybuilders alike have suggested that size is no longer being awarded by judges. Even Olympia judge Terrick El Guindy has mentioned that the new wave of aesthetic talent is trouble for athletes who rely on size and freak factor, like Nick Walker.
While Rafael Brandao won’t be competing this year, fans are excited about the next chapter of his career. Under the tutelage of Neil Hill, Rafael hopes to bring his biggest and freakiest physique to the stage in 2024.