Jay Cutler’s Ultimate Back Building Blueprint

Jay Cutler back workout including reverse lat pulldown
Jay Cutler Instagram

Cutler mainly focused on machine movements to hit his back muscles. 

Every fitness enthusiast understands the significance of focusing on their chest muscles. However, it’s worth noting that developing a strong back enhances stability during exercises like the bench press and contributes to an improved physique. And when seeking advice, who better to turn to than a four-time Mr. Olympia? Jay Cutler, a renowned bodybuilder from the early 2000s, has maintained a strong connection with his fan base, sharing fitness advice and insight into his workout routines. Recently, Cutler treated his followers to an intense back workout, including moves like the reverse lat pulldown, by posting a video on his YouTube channel, which we’ll review in this article. 

About Jay Cutler 


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Cutler’s rise to fame peaked at the 2006 Mr. Olympia competition, where he dethroned the eight-time champion Ronnie Coleman to claim the coveted title in the Men’s Open division. Not stopping there, he secured three more consecutive Mr. Olympia victories in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

Although a bodybuilder’s physique is often regarded as the epitome of their identity, Cutler consciously prioritized his long-term health over appearance. After retiring from competition in 2013, he significantly changed his training regimen, resulting in a notable loss of muscle mass. However, his workout tweaks have allowed him to stay in optimal shape and healthy into his 50s. 

Cutler has continued to impact the bodybuilding industry despite stepping away from the competitive circuit. As an influential figure in the sport, he regularly shares bodybuilding content on his social media platforms. Additionally, his podcast delves into various aspects of the bodybuilding world, covering everything from current affairs to insightful discussions.

Throughout the years, the four-time Mr. Olympia has opened up about topics such as his use of steroids, his intense rivalry with Ronnie Coleman, and other intriguing aspects of his personal life. Without further ado, let’s dive into his back workout. 

Jay Cutler’s Back Workout

Below is a breakdown of Jay Cutler’s back regimen: 

Exercises  Sets & Reps
Reverse Lat Pulldown 3 x 10-12
Machine Pullover 3 x 10-12
Machine Lat Pulldown 3 x 10-12
T-Bar Row 3 x 10-12
Incline Dumbbell Row 3 x 10-12
Seated Cable Row 3 x 10-12
Deadlift  1 x 9

Reverse Lat Pulldown & Machine Pullover 

Jay Cutler began with several reverse grip lat pulldowns to start the workout. This lat pulldown variation activates the lower lats more effectively because the arms are positioned closer to the body. In addition, the biceps will contract more, too, and a narrow grip allows you to pull more weights compared wider grips on lat pulldowns. (1) Once Jay completed a few sets of this exercise, he moved on to the next movement. 

The pullover exercise is an excellent choice for isolating and strengthening the back muscles. One of its unique benefits is its ability to target the lats and pecs simultaneously. After completing a few sets on a plate-loaded machine, he transitioned into another vertical pulling exercise.

Machine Lat Pulldown & T-Bar Row

Cutler then utilized the Technogym machine to do the lat pulldown exercise. He completed three sets to target the latissimus dorsi muscles and enhance the overall effectiveness. Using a machine to target the lats gives him more stability than free-weight movements, such as barbell bent-over rows

By pulling the bar towards him while keeping his back straight, Cutler engaged his lats, rhomboids, and traps, as well as his biceps and rear delts. This was the first free weight movement in his routine. 

Incline Dumbbell Row & Seated Cable Row

Cutler positioned himself on the bench to maximize his performance on the incline dumbbell row, ensuring his lower pecs were right on edge, allowing for an enhanced range of motion

Then he did the cable seated row, a highly effective exercise targeting the upper back muscles. It involves sitting on a bench, holding a cable handle in your hands, and pulling it towards you in a rowing motion. This exercise is excellent for strengthening the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi muscles, which are crucial to maintaining good posture and preventing back pain. In addition, the cable seated row engages the biceps and forearms, making it a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. 


Cutler finished his workout strong with a set of deadlifts. This exercise requires immense strength, and Jay Cutler knew he had pushed his back enough. So, to wrap up his time in the gym, he tackled one set of deadlifts with 225 pounds.

Back Anatomy 

The back muscles are a complex system that works together to provide stability and movement. These muscles are divided into two main groups: superficial and deep. The superficial muscles are closer to the skin, while the deep muscles are deeper within the body. Each muscle in the back has a specific function, such as movement of the arms and shoulders or support of the spine. Some of the most prominent muscles in the back include the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae, and rhomboids. Understanding the different muscles in the back can help with proper training and rehabilitation of injuries. (2)

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  1. Andersen, V., Fimland, M. S., Wiik, E., Skoglund, A., & Saeterbakken, A. H. (2014). Effects of grip width on muscle strength and activation in the lat pull-down. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 28(4), 1135–1142. https://doi.org/10.1097/JSC.0000000000000232
  2. DeSai C, Reddy V, Agarwal A. Anatomy, Back, Vertebral Column. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525969/
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.