Big Ramy’s Mammoth Back Workout

Big Ramy Puts you on his back

We know there’s one thing you want… like the 1988 Tom Hanks movie, you wanna get BIG! You take the same supplements as the pros, you buy the same lifting gear, and you even do the same workouts…or so you think. With genetics being what they are (permanent), how do you break that plateau and get to where the Mr. Olympia competitors are? If only you could get the secrets that seems to behind close doors – the secrets that takes mere mortals to jacked up Gods.

Well 2x Mr. Olympia champion Big Ramy has opened that door and took it off the hinges for you, and they don’t get much bigger than that. As surprising as it sounds the real difference between the people at the top and everyone else is creativity and hard work. Don’t believe us? Big Ramy and his training buddy Dennis “The Menace” James  and give you 5 “secret” workouts that make his world famous back look the way it does and why your back look the way it does.

The Big Ramy Back Workout

Big Ramy is known for his massive back, which is why we are taking a deep dive into the champion’s back workout.

Seated Cable Row

Seated-Cable-Row Arnold

4-5 Sets | 8-15 rep pyramids (When weight ascends, decrease reps)

While we’re sure you’re well aware of this exercise, as it was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorites, according to Dennis James what makes this routine really turnkey for Big Ramy’s over all shape and size is the variations they perform.

“We’ll perform these a few different ways, I’ll get him to sit on top of a box or on some 45 plates to hit his lats at different angles.”

“I get him to pull his elbows way back,” says the Menace. “He has to feel every movement. We’re into a lot of holding and squeezing right now.”

Hammer Strength Row

Sets 4 | Reps 10, weight 270 (if you dare)

The next exercise on Big Ramy’s back day list is the hammer strength row Grab the lower parts of the handle with an under hand grip, almost like you’re doing a curl. Index fingers at the outer edges.

While his back is flat against the pad for most reps, the last couple he leans back toward the pad. The emphasis is on feeling every rep with full range of motion. Being completely present.

Barbell or T-Bar Row

4-5 sets | 8-15 reps

For this exercise on Big Ramy’s back day, he positions himself in anywhere from a 45 degree to a 60 degree angle with a neutral grip and then everything else is up for interpretation.

“He mixes up his grip,” James explains. “One week when he does barbell rows, he’ll grip the bar with an overhand grip. The next time he does them, he’ll use an underhand grip.”

“He could go heavier, no doubt,” admits James. “But again, I’m a believer in squeezing and contracting so he’s feeling these reps. He does them the way I suggest, and sees what I mean. It’s working.”

Alterations, alterations, alterations, did we mention alterations?

“Everybody’s got one side of their body that’s stronger than the other,” says James. “I think it’s a waste of time to do these one arm at a time. The temptation there is to focus more on the stronger arm or side. You do them with both arms at the same time, and you can focus better on the entire back.”

Top Deadlift (Or Rack Pull)

3 Sets | 10 reps, weight 495

Grip the bar overhand about shoulder width, with wrist straps. Essentially what Elssbiay is  doing is the top part of the deadlift. He lifts the weights from a rack in lock position. He then lowers the weight to his knees, which have barely begun to unlock, only to bring it back up to lock position. What you want to focus on in is eliminating the leg and glute part of the deadlift, making this a back exercise by hitting the spinal erectors and traps. Ramy does this exercise towards the end of his routine – it’s good for giving his back  a blast without overly massive weight.

Close Grip Pull Down
close grip pulldown Big Ramy

4-5 sets | 8-15 Reps

For the close grip lat pulldown, Big Ramy’s leaning slightly backwards with a straight back, He wants to position himself with a clear path from starting position to his chin, slightly above his chest. Elssbiay stretches at the top and then pauses and squeezes at the bottom.

Big Ramy Back Day Workout

So there you have it. The big back workout from Big Ramy himself, the champion. Feel free to let us know what you think by hitting us up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay pumped.

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Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.