Michal Krizo’s Insane Back Workout to Prepare for the Empro Classic Pro

Michal Krizo back
Image via Instagram @ifbb_pro_michalkrizokrizanek

Michal Krizo is putting it into high gear for the 2023 IFBB Pro bodybuilding season and targets his back. 

Have you ever skipped training your back because you can’t see it in the mirror? It’s a common mistake that many athletes make, but as a bodybuilder, there are better options than neglecting your back. Why? Because a strong back is vital to achieving that perfectly shaped and defined physique, you’ve been working towards. Plus, it’s essential for building up your chest, abs, arms, and proper lifting technique. So don’t let your back be the forgotten muscle group — give it the attention it deserves for an imposing physique. This article will investigate Michal Krizo’s back workout – including pull-ups and lat pulldowns – ahead of the 2023 Empro Classic Pro. 

For back training tips in this post, we turn to Slovakian bodybuilder Michal Krizo. This athlete took the competition by storm in 2022 and headlined many articles for his insane workouts and physique. He made a name for himself, competing and standing out in the IFBB Pro League, and got a direct qualification to the Olympia by winning his pro debut. All of this under the tutelage of bodybuilding coach Alexander Hlobik.

One controversy that has always trailed Michal Krizo is his conditioning. The criticism, coupled with a not-so-impressive 12th-place Mr. Olympia debut, sent Michal Krizo back to the drawing board, and luckily for us, he’s taken us on his journey by consistently sharing workout videos. In this video (watch below), he receives tips from his coach as he trains his back for the 2023 IFBB Empro Classic Pro. Here are some tips from this brutal Michal Krizo back workout.

Full Name: Michal Križo Križánek
Weight Height Age
290 lbs 6’1″ 32 
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open  2010s- Till date Slovak

Michal Krizo Back Exercises

Winning the 2023 IFBB Empro Classic Pro will automatically qualify Krizo for Olympia. This ‌is an impressive feat, as it’s his second year as a pro bodybuilder, so he and his coach aren’t pulling any punches. Here’s his back training routine, tips on correctly doing each movement, and why they work.

Assisted Pull-up
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown
Single Arm Seated Row
Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Low Row
Reverse Pec Deck Fly
Neutral-Grip Unilateral Lat Pulldown
Bent-Over Straight Arm Pulldown

Assisted Pull-up


Assisted pull-ups to build your lats, traps, delts, pecs, biceps, and obliques. They help improve your back and arm strength and your grip strength.

The machine-assisted pull-up lets you use weights to counterbalance your body weight so that you can focus on your technique. While this makes it somewhat easier to do pull-ups, your muscles still work, so you still get hypertrophy. When doing them, it’s essential to choose a weight that allows you to do about ten reps; anything more than that means you’re getting too much help. 

Michal Krizo’s back workout day started with this routine which many people might find surprising. He’s an advanced athlete and is expected to do unassisted pull-ups. However, as Krizo and his world-class coach already know, doing assisted pull-ups takes the momentum out of play to help you zone in on technique to focus on building your back muscles more. 

Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown

All forms of the lat pulldown primarily target your back muscles, but the underhand grip lat pulldown offers a different advantage. This grip position means you can lift more weight, leading to more muscle hypertrophy. In addition, underhand grip lat pulldowns work on your teres minor and major, biceps, and rhomboids.

When doing this underhand grip lat pulldown, keeping a relatively upright position helps to recruit your lats more as you pull with them. Squeezing your lats at the movement’s bottom part helps to recruit your back muscles further. Make sure you do the full range of motion by fully extending your arms at the top for the best results.

Krizo did this routine next to build his lower lats as the underhand or supinated grip also recruits the lower lats more effectively. With this grip position, this happens because your arms are closer to your body. 

Single Arm Seated Rows

Single-arm seated rows train your upper back muscles one side at a time. Working your back one arm at a time helps you to focus on the balance between your sides. You’ll also be better able to feel your muscles contracting and improve your form. In addition, single-arm seated rows help to build your lats, rhomboids, traps, and biceps.

When doing this exercise, try to avoid swinging your torso and do each rep slowly. Also, ensure you do the full range of motion for optimal results. It would be best if you also tried to keep your elbows close to your body during the pulling phase to avoid recruiting the biceps more instead of the lats and the rhomboids.

Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Low Row

The hammer-strength plate-loaded low row targets your lats, rhomboids, and traps. It helps build mass and strength in these muscles, emphasizing your middle back. This exercise also recruits other muscles like your biceps and forearms, and low rows are great for posture. 

Doing the single-arm variation is best, as you can better focus on your form. You can see Michal Krizo doing multiple sets unilaterally to work on his lats. 

Reverse Pec Deck Fly

The reverse pec deck fly primarily focuses on your posterior delts but is also great for your traps. Increasing your range of motion with this routine helps to recruit your upper back muscles. In addition, this movement can boost shoulder growth by using a neutral grip (1).

Ensuring the weight stack doesn’t reach the bottom fully can help keep constant muscle tension. Focus on contracting your muscles at every rep to strengthen your mind-muscle connection

Neutral-Grip Unilateral Lat Pulldown

Neutral grip unilateral lat pulldowns help you lift more weight than the regular overhand grip. It causes less stress in your wrist than other grips, so it’s a great way to further build your muscles without causing injuries

This exercise works on your lats, traps, rhomboids, delts, and biceps. It helps to increase your upper body strength and builds the V-taper in the back. When doing neutral-grip lat pulldowns with a neutral grip, you can lighten your weight if completing a full range of motion is too hard. Also, to better activate your back muscles, avoid going too low. 

Bent-Over Straight Arm Pulldown

To complete his workout, Michal Krizo did some bent-over straight-arm pulldowns. This exercise works on your lats, teres major, posterior delts, and triceps. They’re vital to building the winglike back muscles that are key to a good bodybuilding physique.

When doing this routine, keep your arms as straight as possible to recruit your back correctly. Avoid locking your elbows, as this could lead to injuries and shift the focus to your triceps. Keeping your neck and head neutral will ensure your spine is aligned. Michal Krizo used a rope attachment to round up in the gym and complete his back-building for the day with his final exercise. 

Watch Michal Krizo’s full back workout on his YouTube channel below:

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  1. Schoenfeld, B., Sonmez, R. G., Kolber, M. J., Contreras, B., Harris, R., & Ozen, S. (2013). Effect of hand position on EMG activity of the posterior shoulder musculature during a horizontal abduction exercise. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 27(10), 2644–2649. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e318281e1e9
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 American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.