Bodybuilding superstars NDO Champ and Akim Williams walk us through a high-volume back workout.
IFBB Pros and bodybuilding influencers NDO Champ and Akim Williams tackled a massive back workout together. Sharing their picks for the best back exercises to add into your training routine. NDO Champ’s (Robert Wilmote) nickname is an acronym for “No Days Off.” NDO backs up his name and trains hard daily, and his beastly physique, grueling workouts, and exciting persona have garnered many viewers. Akim Williams was the Men’s Open champ at the 2022 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding show – and is often considered one of the strongest bodybuilders currently competing.
Recently, these bodybuilding superstars walked us through a rigorous GI-exclusive back workout. A well-developed back is imperative for an outstanding physique, and your back musculature plays a crucial role in bodybuilding shows scoring. This article will cover NDO Champ’s and Akim Williams’ complete instructional back workout with training tips.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
You don’t want to dive into an intense workout without a proper warm-up. So before tackling their grueling best back exercises workout, NDO Champ and Akim Williams warmed up on a lat pull-down machine. Williams acknowledged that many lifters choose to warm up their back via pull-ups. But he said the lat pull-down machine is another option, especially if you can’t do pull-ups. Before performing his warm-up set, NDO Champ stated:
“The back wins shows, baby. Every time I, every time I do back—the imagination. Fully imagine how you want your back to look. You know what I mean. Always. Vision your back how you want your back to look on stage to give you that motivation for every set.”
Next, NDO Champ and Akim Williams performed T-bar rows. Williams noted that he prefers using 25 pounds plates over 45-pound plates for this movement because it gives him a fuller range of motion. They aim to hit more of their mid-back than their lats from this exercise. NDO Champ said:
“Hard work. That’s what separates a IFBB Pro from a regular athlete. You know. Embracing that pain. Going through that pain. You know. Getting out of that, that comfort zone. There ain’t no comfort.”
Williams gave more tips to better your form. Regardless of whether or not you are doing the best back exercises for your goals – improper form will take away from your progress. For example, Williams said many people perform T-bar rows too high. He said, instead, to get down lower to engage your mid-back better.
NDO finished off a set and asserted:
“The pain that we felt it’s necessary. In order to go to the next level in life. In order to be better than everybody around you. You have to be willing to embrace the pain, except the pain. Because the pain is necessary.”
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
After NDO Champ’s motivational speech, NDO Champ and Akim Williams moved to the bent-over dumbbell row. This exercise is meant to add thickness to their backs. Williams and NDO Champ point to the part of the back this exercise is targeting. And NDO Champ pointed out that although they may not see the back muscle they’re hitting when posing, the judges will.
Seated V-Grip Cable Row
Next up on their best back exercises workout is the seated v-grip cable row. Akim Williams says the weight is still heavy, and the volume is still high, but now they’re shifting focus to engage more of their lower back (before, they were targeting more of their upper and mid-back). NDO Champ voiced:
“This is how we train every day, man. High intensity.”
After a few sets of seated v-grip cable row, they moved to pull-ups. Akim Williams said he prefers doing pull-ups on the assisted machine because it helps him stabilize and contract his back more. Williams said:
“When you’re like 280, 300 pounds, it’s kinda hard to do pull-ups and like really contract the muscle, you know. And I don’t want to use my biceps. I only use my lats the whole time I’m doing the movement.”
Williams also noted that if you’re training for intensity don’t rest any longer than 50-60 seconds between sets. Although, if you’re training for strength, he said you should rest for at least 2 minutes.
Finisher: Cable Bent Over Row (Reverse Grip)
Akim Williams and NDO Champ performed cable-bent over row to close their best back exercises workout. Williams says that he likes to finish his back workout with this movement to target the biceps, lower back, and lat mores. Also, Williams noted that the reverse grip targets the inner muscles more than the overhand grip. And Williams says you can do them with a barbell, but he prefers doing them on the cable machine since it provides constant tension to your muscles.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a workout worth partaking in without drinking a quality protein shake after. So you can see Akim Williams and NDO Champ chugging a pre-mixed MuscleMeds Carnivor protein shake.
NDO Champ’s and Akim Williams’ Best Back Exercises Workout
Below is the workout NDO Champ and Akim Williams completed.
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 4 sets x 15-20 reps
- T-Bar Row: 4 sets x 15-20 reps
- Bent Over Dumbbell Row: 4 sets x 15-20 reps
- Seated V-Grip Cable Row: 4 sets x 15-20 reps
- Pull-Ups: 4 sets x 15-20 reps
- Cable Bent Over Row (Reverse Grip): 3 sets x 15-20 reps
NDO Champ and Akim Williams know that a built back is essential to bodybuilding, so they don’t take their back workout lightly. They made sure to warm up on lat pull-downs before putting their back through monstrous training. They kept the volume high and performed reps in the 15-20 rep range, but the weight was heavy too. Champ and Williams increased the intensity of their workout by resting no more than a minute between sets. And they made it a mission to target every aspect of their back: lats, upper-back, mid-back, and lower back.
After seeing their best back exercises workout, you can see where NDO Champ got his name from and why Williams won the 2022 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding show. They train hard, train smart and make any necessary adjustments to target their muscles better. Stay tuned because NDO Champ said they’ll be doing more workouts soon, including Akim Williams’ leg day!