A “World” Class Back
The light on my cell phone was blinking and the annoying, intermittent beeping sound it makes when I have a message wouldn’t stop. When I checked the message, I quickly discovered that the message was left at six in the morning. “Must be an East Coast call. Who the hell would call that early from the Westside?” I was wrong. “Q, (it’s a nickname), it’s World (also a nickname). I just finished cardio and I want you to take a look at how I look later today and tell me what you think. The USA is two weeks away. Call me. Out.” Once I got over the shock that Big Will Harris was done with cardio at 6 A.M., I called him back and told him I’d see him that afternoon.
I’ve known World for double-digit years. He’s always had incredible genetics to be a pro, but never really came in good enough shape to let everyone see how incredible his physique really is. I knew that he’d hired I.F.B.B. pro Tom Prince to script his contest prep, but could the new Team Harris effectively shred the guy everyone had written off as “wasted potential”?
The answer? Yes! I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. World was shredded and, quite simply, looked like he belonged on a pro stage, not an amateur one. I congratulated him on what I thought would be a pro card two weeks later. When I got in my car, I grabbed the celly and immediately called Musclemag Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Fitness. “Johnny, I just saw Will Harris and he looks insane. I’d bet the house that he’ll be a pro in two weeks. And his back looks out of this world. The only guy I’m sure has a better back is named Coleman. After that, Will’s back is as good as any pro I can think of.” “Go for it, man. Let’s get articles on whatever bodyparts you think are really good on Harris.” Johnny, that’s easy. All of them.”
As you probably know by now, World trounced the Los Angeles Bodybuilding Championships to re-qualify for the USA. Then, he shocked the bodybuilding world at the USA Championships by steam rolling the heavyweight class and taking the second pro card after superstar Mark Dugdale was awarded the overall.
In the often uncertain world of bodybuilding, one thing was very certain. The best back at the USA belonged to Big Will Harris. When he hit his rear double bicep pose, mounds of striated, dense, vascular muscle jumped out like bullets that slayed the rest of the heavies. And when he spread his lats, it was as if he could fly away, like a felon leaving the scene of a crime.
Will Talks Back
When you look at Will’s back, you’d probably think that he does heavy sets of low-rep deadlifts and barbell rows to build all that density and mass.
“I never deadlift. They can widen the waist and hip structure and get the lower back to thick, hurting symmetry. I also don’t do low reps on any back work. Never have. My rep range is generally between 12-20. One of the reasons I think that so many people don’t’ really build good backs is that they can’t effectively train what they can’t see. So, they go really heavy and use loose form and low reps. They end up training their ego more than their back. I just train my back. My ego is just fine!”
Will’s Back Routine
Exercise 1: Wide Grip Chins
Will starts off with the old-standby, wide grip chins.
“I start the movement with my arms in the full hanging position, taking a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip on the bar. I pull myself up until my upper chest touches the chinning bar, making sure to keep my body arched back as I chin.”
Will does three to four sets of fifteen reps.
Exercise 2: Seated Cable Rows
Now that Will is good and warm, it’s time to get rowing and growing. He moves on to seated cable rows, where he feels that form is really important.
“You have to really focus on not letting momentum move the weight instead of your back muscle. Again, for me, really making the mental connection with my back and getting a lot of blood in there is critical to my success.”
Will starts the movement with a slight bend in the knees to take any undue stress off the lower back. He will pull the bar into his midsection, strongly contract his back and keep his chest arched as high as possible throughout the exercise. He will make sure to control the weight back to the starting position and keeps an even tempo throughout each set. He’ll do a total of four sets, 20 reps on the first two, 12 reps on sets three and four.
Exercise 3: Wide Grip Front Pulldowns
“I’ve always done wide grip pulldowns to the front because they are great for width. And I never do rear pulldowns. To easy to get injured and they don’t give you any more width than pulling to the front.”
Will takes a seated position in the machine that allows him to arch his back, keeping his chest high. From there, he will pull the bar down to his mid-chest, making sure to keep his elbows in front of his delts.
“Everything is controlled, strict and precise so that the stress goes on my lats where it belongs. No rocking back and forth, just good clean reps.”
Will does three sets of 15 reps on here.
Exercise 4: Close Grip Front Pulldowns
Will doesn’t have far to go to do his next movement. Staying on the pulldown machine, a simple switch of the handle brings us to his last upper back movement, close grip pulldowns. His outer lats have been sufficiently worked, so now he wants to switch the focus to the center of his back, from just underneath the trap to the lower lat area. His form on here is very similar to the wide grip front pulldown. Make sure to keep your back arched, chest high and do smooth, controlled repetitions from start to finish with a strong contraction when the bar reached your chest. Again, Will does three sets of 15 reps.
Exercise 5: Hyperextensions
Will likes to finish his back workout by doing hyperextensions for his lower back and lumbar region.
“I think these are much better than deadlifts. There is very little risk of injury and the stimulation I feel in the ‘Christmas Tree’ is focused and intense.”
Will uses textbook form. Once he positions himself in the machine, he will let his upper body go down to a point where it is perpendicular with the ground. From there, he will slowly raise his upper body to parallel and concentrate on getting a good contraction in his lower back. He will perform three sets of 12 reps.
As World readies himself for life in the I.F.B.B., he is still soaking in the significance of his accomplishments in the last year and a half.
“You know, a lot of people didn’t believe in me and talked a lot of trash about me being lazy or unmotivated. What they didn’t know was that I tried different things each year to get it right. Different contest prep people, nutritional approaches and supplements. This year, it all came together. Tom mapped out the plan and I followed it to the letter. I’m also thankful for SprayFlex, the best supplements I’ve ever used. Their natural GH, Test and Thyroid enhancers worked wonders for me. I’ve used them for over a year and my transformation is proof of how incredible they are. With Tom and SprayFlex behind me, I can’t wait to get on a pro stage.”
When you do, World, remember. Hit a lot of back shots!
Will Harris’ Training Split Insert
Monday: Chest, Biceps
Tuesday: Calves, Abs
Thursday: Delts, Triceps
Friday: Back, Abs