Back In Action: Troy Alves Gets Mile Wide
The bodybuilding stage is home to giants like four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and two-time Arnold Classic Champ Kai Greene. But the world of bodybuilding also boasts men like Troy Alves, who has the symmetry and size reminiscent of the Arnold days. Troy's Frank Zane-like body appeals both to old-school fans who appreciate that classic physique and people who love watching mass monsters prowl the stage.
Alves's symmetry isn't his only strength. He's also the owner of an incredible back. Over the years, his rear double biceps pose has been noted by some experts among the best in bodybuilding history. His back has been a big part of his competitive success since 2002 when he qualified to be a pro at the NPC USA Championships. He'll continue to use his great pose and enormous back at this year's Master's Olympia.
Although his shredded lats and lower traps are paramount to his stage performance, the 45-year-old-grandfather knows he can't just rely on them to look great on their own—his back still requires focus and work. Want to give his workout a try? We dare you.
Troy Alves Back Workout
"Nothing beats pull-ups for getting wider. To maximize the effect, I do a 1- or 2-second negative and then explode up."
"I like the Smith Machine for these. To me, it's safer than using free weights, because I can use more weight with less strain on my back, leading to intense contractions. I start with one plate per side, then go up to two, three, four, and then throw five plates on for the last two sets."
"Either move is good for back thickness. By alternating moves, I hit those muscles from different angles."
"I make sure I come down right under my chin and flare the elbows out so I can hit the rhomboids and traps. After a couple seconds of negative, I pull as hard as I can and squeeze hard before letting the handle rise back up."
"I use a rope on a cable pulley and squeeze it into my waist and keep my shoulders back. As I go back, I can feel a good contraction with this movement. I finish up with this exercise because it's great for that lower-back Christmas tree look."
Smith Machine Deadlift (shown with barbell)6 sets of 10 reps
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Another really good exercise to add size to lats are dumbell pull overs while laying on a flat bench. Go heavy!! After doing it for a month or two during your back day you will really see some lats poppin out on ya.
some people think using a smith machine is safer because you can rack it at any level and its locked into a fixed path so there is very little risk of dropping it. i prefer free weights personally because it allows me to find my own groove for the movement rather than following the smith rack. also, 3x8 is good, but changing rep ranges consistently can help spur muscle growth. in addition, different people respond differently to different rep ranges, but also different body parts on one person can respond to different rep ranges. i find anywhere from 4 to 10 reps works for my back, but i know people who use up to 20 reps, and others who do doubles or singles with their deadlifts. i recommend experimenting and finding what you like best
The only thing I disagree with is using the Smith Machine. Personally, I dislike the pulley system; knowing that it "relieves" some of the resistence from the weight applied. But like he said, "For him". Great lats though!!
Keep in mind Troy is in his 40's and although he is in great shape he doesn't want to risk injury so the Smith Machine is a safer alternative then going heavy with a bar. Personally I prefer a bar or one arm rows with a dumbbell but I understand why he chooses the Smith Machine.
Using this program or any pro's program is not for you to look like them (natural or not). They offer their workouts and tips to help the reader achieve his or her own best based on what they have found to work. Troy would never say "do this and you will look like me."
As for pulldown variations, I would say use both versions to make sure you get the best of both. Start with wide grip pull ups or pulldowns for the width and go neutral or close grip for the thickness. If your priority is thickness, switch it and start close grip.
will try this today ... i have never done close grip pull downs, usually do wide grip lat pull downs so we will see.. and i have never deadlifted (had a hernia from mma a couple of years ago, so i fear deadlists) but we shall see today! :D
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