Last Updated on January 7, 2021
The workout that built the IFBB’s best back.
When Phil Heath won his second-straight Mr. Olympia title at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last September, he had a lot of people to thank in his victory speech. Kai Greene, the man who took second, figured prominently because, as Heath said, “Kai gave me everything I could handle tonight.”
Unless Heath was privy to the numbers on the judges’ scorecards, he knew how close it was based only on crowd reaction—and when the place went ballistic every time Greene was called out, Heath had every reason to worry. The pose that got the biggest rise out of the crowd: Greene’s rear lat spread. Not only did he display freakishly huge lats that nearly went down to his hips, he also presented them in exquisite detail. Every few degrees he moved his arms, the landscape of his back musculature completely transformed; with his elbows drawn tight to his rib cage, it looked as if two giant seashells were buried under his skin, facing each other across his spine.
The key to building these fan-favorite muscles that nearly earned him a Sandow, according to Greene, is a combination of relatively light weight, high volume exercise, and a deep mind-muscle connection.
“The mind-muscle connection is the No. 1 factor in training,” Greene says unequivocally. “Practice posing between sets or anytime. Eventually, your mind and muscles will speak the same language.”
KAI GREENE’S BACK BLITZ
In addition to posing between sets, Greene uses iso-tension and takes each rep through a full range of motion, feeling a full stretch of the lats on every negative portion before lifting the weight back up.
Exercise Sets Reps Lat Pulldown 4 10-12 Low Cable Row 4 10-12 T-Bar Row 4 10-12 Machine Row 4 10-15 One-Arm Dumbbell Row 4 10-15 Deadlift 4 12-15
Quick Tip: “I go by feel,” Greene says. “The weight is just a tool. Do you focus on the hammer or the nail? You better focus on the thing you’re trying to hit.”