At first glance they might seem to have little in common, simply because Toney Freeman has about 8 inches of height on Johnnie Jackson. But look beyond their stature, and these two veterans of the iron game are more similar than different. Johnnie earned his pro card by virtue of being crowned the Overall NPC National Champion inand Toney did the same thing a year later. They can also lay claim to being two of the most senior pros today. Johnnie is 44 and Toney is 48, yet they both still routinely beat men 10 and 20 years younger. When it comes to physiques, they both own amazing backs: I spoke with these two elder statesmen of the muscle game about back training, and they shared some insights that anyone from young bucks to grizzled veterans can learn from.
Originally published in the August edition of MD Magazine. But once my prep starts and my weight begins to drop, I typically do start every back workout with them. You may not need to do chins later on in your career, but in the early and intermediate stages they are a must. Like I said, I was really good at chins.
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I used to start every back workout with reps no matter how many sets it took, and until I started adding weight on I could do that in 3 sets. Even today at pounds, I can knock out reps on my first set. Chins should not be done with a ballistic tempo. I do them slowly and squeeze my upper back at the top. I do chins every day as part of my morning routine with cardio and core work. I find that they help stretch my abs out after doing things like planks and kettlebell swings. Next topic, T-bar rows. I see you were using both the supported machine type with the chest pad and the barbell on the floor version. Do you consider these different exercises. Is one better than other. They are different movements. When you use the free bar, the lower back is a lot more involved to keep your body stable. Even the glutes and the hams are getting worked a little bit. The machine with the pad will isolate the upper and middle part of the back without the lower back getting worked. Guys with lower back injuries would want to choose that one because you could still go pretty heavy on it, safely. I do like the fact that it has variable grip handles. With the barbell, sometimes I use the close-grip attachment under the bar, and other times I literally just hold on to the bar itself with no attachment, wrapping my hands around it. That gives you a different feel. In the photos, you two are doing some type of standing close-grip lat pulldown. I will say it seems to be good for stretching and elongating the lower lats.
To me it feels like the last part of a pullover, and it does hit the lats deep down where they insert. Johnnie is pretty much Mr. Deadlift as we all know. Toney, do you do deadlifts consistently in your training. I do deadlifts on both back and leg days. I use an over-under powerlifting grip when I do them on back day, and an overhand grip on leg day.
Every back and leg workout for me now starts with lying leg curls and deadlifts to warm up and loosen the hamstrings and lower back. I was having a lot of issues with lower back tightness until I started doing that. These days I go up to for sets of on deadlifts. I would just be powering the weight up. I want to feel constant tension on my entire back, from traps to lumbars, on every rep. What would you say are the biggest mistakes bodybuilders make with their back training. For instance, on lat pulldowns with the standard type of bar, most people should have their hands right about where the bar starts to bend and no wider.
A lot of guys use mostly their arms and rear delts on all their back exercises. I knew a guy who had legit inch arms and monster shoulders, but a flat back. One time I watched him train and I could see right away they were doing all the work. I teach people that to engage the lats, every rep has to be thought of as a three-part movement. First, your shoulder blades move back, then the elbows, and finally the arms. Once you can break it down like that and master that sequence until it flows naturally, your back will start to grow. Which would yield the best results for back training, and why. A Free weights only. B Machines and cables only. C Free weights, machines and cables. C, all of the above. You should use every tool in the toolbox when it comes to your back. You have so many different muscle groups back there that have different functions, so it makes sense to hit them from a lot of different angles. We have all the tried-and-true basic tools that they did back in the day, but we also have so many excellent machines at our disposal to select from. Can you recommend a good basic back workout for a beginner.
Back & Forth 5,0
I would do with: What is the craziest or most intense back workout you ever did. It might sound like a lame answer, but every workout that I do with Branch is right up there. How about you, X-Man— is there one workout that stands out in your mind. The two guys I was training with at the time were powerlifters. They would do a few bodybuilding exercises for me, and to appease them I would do what they wanted too. There were a couple of back workouts where we just did deadlifts. We would work up to five plates, and then do these drop sets of 10 reps each with five, four, three, two and finally one plate. There was literally no rest, because we never let go of the bar. The other two guys would strip the plates off for you.
Блесна Smith Back & Forth
It was just brutal. After those 50 reps, your whole body felt like it was on fire and you just wanted to lie down. One of the guys was only pounds, and he did the same weight and reps as me, which was impressive. That covers back training. Is there anything you two would like to say to each other as far as being on top of your games in your 40s and consistently beating guys 20 years or more younger than you. Johnnie is the epitome of a warrior. Competing with him is always fun.
I remember at the Mr. OlympiaI was not feeling well at all. I was on the verge of passing out up onstage, but Johnnie was up there telling me jokes during the judging to take my mind off of it. Johnnie smiled and told me he was looking forward to it. I respect the hell out of him. Thanks guys, and as a fellow over bodybuilder, I really enjoy seeing you two still kicking asses and taking names. The only consistent portion is leg curls and deadlifts at the start. Chest, front and side delts. Back, traps and rear delts.