Generation Iron Samir Bannout

Forget the holidays. Get a Christmas tree back all year around.

Mr. Olympia. It’s a title that every bodybuilder wishes to hold at some point in their career. To stand on stage and be announced the winner of the competition is no doubt the greatest feeling in the world. With so many competitive athletes chasing the same goal, there’s no doubt that at least a few dreams will be crushed. It’s the nature of the sport and it’s unavoidable.

Many bodybuilders have had the honor of being named Mr. Olympia in their time. Frank Zane, Sergio Oliva, Franco Columbu, Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are among the men on the lofty list of winners. Among the great Olympia champions is a bodybuilder who has been a major influence on the sport. Hailing from Lebanon, Samir Bannout was one of the winners who wowed audiences, competitors, and judges alike.

When Samir Bannout won the 1983 Mr. Olympia competition the main focus of interest was the man’s impressive back. Not only did the Lion of Lebannon have some serious size, he had some crazy definition giving him the famed Christmas tree back. To this day, Bannout’s back is used as an example of exemplary back development and with good reason. He was completely shredded all over, but it was perhaps his back that was the key to taking home the Bronze Sandow in the 1983 competition.

So how exactly did Bannout get his back into such impressive shape? Well, according to the Lebanese bodybuilder he had a great edge in the back department due to his training prior to entering into competitive bodybuilding. Bannout was an Olympic lifter who utilized a specific lift that gave him great back development.

Clean and Jerk

This lift was perhaps one of the biggest reasons the former Olympia champ had such an impressive back. Bannout has said that the lift was responsible for strengthening his lower back, particularly his lumbar region.

Chin Ups

This workout was a staple of many of the old school bodybuilders out there. Chin ups are perhaps the best back workout you can possibly perform and can be modified to your needs. Either a wide or narrow grip could attack different regions of the back and ensure overall development. It’s no wonder that it’s one of Arnold’s go to exercises.

Bent Over Rows

Another great pulling exercise, the bent over row was another of Bannout’s favorites. In fact, besides chin ups Bannout has stated that bent over rows are the main recipe for success when it came to building up his back. This one is apart of his bread and butter movements for creating the ultimate back and it shows.

Samir Bannout is a true beast and even to this day is in tremendous shape at age 59! There’s no doubting his expertise as a bodybuilder and truly redefined how we look at back development.


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GI Team
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