Olympia competitor and GAT athlete Sadik Hadzovic is known for his huge personality and onstage success, but also—let's be clear— for those broad shoulders and that impressive V-taper. It's arguably the most coveted torso build since the era of Frank Zane.

"Everybody wants the V-taper, the illusion, the tiny waist, the broad shoulders," explains Hadzovic, "but you really have to start with the lats. Get them as wide as you possibly can."

Use this workout to build width and thickness in your back to achieve the perfect tapered look.

Sadik Hadzovic's Back Workout
1
Warm-up Superset
Straight-Arm Pulldown
3 sets, 8 reps
Pullups
3 sets, 8 reps
2
Barbell Deadlift
4 sets, 8-10 reps
3
Leverage Iso Row
4 sets, 10 reps
4
Seated Cable Rows
Perform close-grip
3 sets, 15 reps
5
Dumbbell Incline Row
4 sets, 8 reps

Technique Keys

Warm-up Superset: Straight-Arm Pull-down with Pull-ups

Warming up with a superset may sound like a lot, but Hadzovic assures us he's not ramping things up just yet.

"The main goal here is to warm-up the muscle and prime it for our compound movements," Hadzovic says.

Both the straight-arm pull-down (also sometimes known as the cable pull-over) and the pull-up are pretty straightforward when it comes to technique. Hadzovic says the real difference on both is what's going on between your ears.

"When I'm doing my pull-downs, I don't go from A to B—I'm pretending I'm onstage," he explains. "I'm flexing back, drawing the blood into the muscle to get the maximum contraction."

Establish that mind-muscle connection and visualize how you want your lats to appear, whether you plan to step onstage or not. Focus on each and every rep, stretching your lats to draw as much blood as possible into the muscles.

Barbell Deadlift

The first big movement of this workout is the deadlift.

"You might think I'm crazy for starting out with it," says Hadzovic, "but you'll thank me later."

Barbell Deadlift

Deadlifts are a great lat primer because the back muscles play such a critical role in lifting the weight off the ground. If you've never started a lat workout with heavy deads, you've been missing out on a huge opportunity to build size and depth in your back.

Hadzovic's cues for the deadlift are simple: Contract your core, keep your chest heavy, look straight up, and drive from your legs. Complete 4 sets of 8-10 reps.

Machine Row

Hadzovic says he alternates free weights and machine rows in every other back workout. Today, it's machine rows.

Start in pronated position (palms down), and turn your wrists as you pull back so your palms face up at the end of the movement.

Machine Row

"I like to supinate my wrist when I'm contracting," explains Hadzovic. "This has been key for me this year. Like I said, I need to build that back thickness."

If the machine you have doesn't allow you to rotate during the movement, just use a supinated grip and perform slow and controlled reps. You'll complete 4 total sets of 10 reps, but as Hadzovic points out, form is crucial, so don't worry much about the numbers. Instead, focus on perfect reps.

Seated Cable Row

The seated row is a staple of any good back program and allows you to add thickness and size through your mid-back. And when it comes to building size and depth, Hadzovic knows exactly who to turn to for inspiration.

"We've all seen Arnold perform this movement, and whenever I do the seated row, I picture Arnold in my mind," Hadzovic explains. "What does he do? Chest heavy, contract the core, pull the cable straight down to the bellybutton, then slowly stretch out the lat."

Seated Cable Row

This is a volume-friendly move, so Hadzovic increases the reps on this exercise to 15 each set. Maintain good form, and focus on keeping your shoulders down and chest up as you pull back.

Dumbbell Incline Row

Hadzovic ends the workout with this staple exercise to coax those last few reps out of his muscles. Stabilizing his body against the incline bench takes the legs and lower back out of the movement, forcing the back to do all of the work.

Dumbbell Incline Row

"This is probably the most important exercise," says Hadzovic. "It's the most isolated movement in the workout. The only focus is driving blood into the lats."

Hadzovic recommends at least one heavy back day per week. Since he feels it needs the most work, Hadzovic trains back twice a week, once heavy and once light. This guy has his eyes on the prize—and he's putting in the work to get there!

About the Author

Heather Eastman, NSCA-CPT

Heather Eastman, NSCA-CPT

Olympia competitor and GAT athlete Sadik Hadzovic is known for...

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