Ulisses Jr is one of today’s most iconic bodybuilders, he aesthetic physique speaks for itself. He a two-time Musclemania SuperBody Pro Champion and a two-time Musclemania World Pro champion. Ulisses has trained for years to build his physique. His well known cobra back is arguably his most impressive body part. His back is one that stands out from the bodybuilding crowd. So what are the main back exercises that Ulisses uses in his workouts?
Ulisses Jr did not build his well developed back in just one day, it took him twenty years to be exact. This is not to say that you can build a back just like his in twenty years nor it is to say that you need to train for twenty years to build an impressive back.
Ulisses’ genetics, hard work and nutrition all played a huge role in his bodybuilding success. One thing I can assure you is, if one is able to put twenty years of hard work training then there is no doubt that one can achieve a remarkable back.
Now the important part is we want to learn the best exercises to help us build an all round developed back in the quickest time possible. Using Ulisses Jr’s twenty plus years of experience we have outlined some of his main back exercises.
Ulisses Jr Back Workout
Ulisses knew the importance of building a big strong back. For him it was essential for bodybuilding purposes but for the rest of us it serves to look more aesthetically appealing and to prevent or reduce back injury.
The Musclemania champion’s back workout routine consist of two main principles. The two principles are exercises for developing back width and exercises to develop back thickness. The exercise order he employs in his routine always differ, therefore I will not outline his complete back routine but emphasise the individual back exercises he implements instead.
Ulisses Jr Back Exercises For Width
For width Ulisses tend to do a variation of lat pulldowns. He is also implements the classic pull up exercise which is an excellent fundamental exercise to build back width. As a result of him being an advanced bodybuilder he attaches weight to increase the resistance on his pull up exercise. Remember that working on the width of your back creates that cobra appearance.
As previously mentioned the pull up is a fundamental exercise for not only building width but to add muscle definition all over the back. When Ulisses performs a pull up you will notice that he uses full range of movement. He has his arms completely straight, hanging onto the bar and his shoulder blades are fully stretched.
This exercise is highly recommended for building a complete back regardless of your fitness level. If you are just starting out use the pull up assisted machine which allows you to progress onto doing pull ups with your own weight. Hopefully in no time you will be doing weighted pull ups.
The lat pulldown is a mimic movement to the pull up, however this exercise makes it easier to target certain areas of the back as you can adjust the weight. Just like the pull up, Ulisses Jr uses a full range of movement on these exercises too. He tends to start the movement with a lot of force but controls the weight on the eccentric movement (lat bar going up).
Note that Ulisses uses a bunch of different machines that replicates the lat pulldown movement. He does this to exercise all the angles of his back width. The muscles that are responsible for width are the Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major and Teres Minor.
Ulisses Jr Back Exercises For Thickness
A wide back isn’t complete without having a thick looking back, it’s about that 3-dimentional appearance that makes it a cobra back. The back has to be well developed in all angles which is what Ulisses Jr is well known for.
Ulisses tend to use mainly compound exercises to increase his back thickness. The muscles targeted to increase back thickness are the, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi and the Erector Spinae which runs along the entire spine.
Deadlift with Ulisses Jr
Most advanced lifters tend not to incorporate deadlifts in their workout as majority of advance bodybuilders use this exercise early on their lifting years to build a solid foundation. For Ulisses this is not the case as he continues to deadlift to this day. There is no doubt that the deadlift is a major factor of him building such a thick back.
When it comes to deadlifting Ulisses like to use the conventional stance. He even likes to place a weighted chain around his neck while deadlifting. This weighted chain adds more resistance in the concentric (upwards movement) part of his deadlift.
Ulisses even uses the trap/hex bar for deadlifting which adds a different variety to the movement as the weight is more distributed centrally. Yet again Ulisses controls the weight in the eccentric part of the movement, so the lowering the bar down.
The pedley row which is sometimes confused with the bent over row, or also known as barbell row is used to build back thickness in the upper and middle region. These two exercises targets the Trapezius, Rhomboids and Latissimus Dorsi. If the bar is pulled towards your chest then this focuses the exercise on the traps but if pulled towards your belly button then this shifts the emphasis on the lats.
Ulisses uses this exercise and bent over rows for more lat thickness. The difference between the pedley row and the bent over row is bar placement during each rep. The pedley row generally involves having a narrower grip but more importantly after each rep the bar is set to the ground. So you will be lifting the weight again from a dead position. Pedley rows permits you to lift heavier loads than the bent over row and it is also easier on the lower back as you get to rest momentarily for each rep.
Ulisses Jr T-Bar Row
The t-bar row is another exercise that Ulisses used to thicken his lats creating the cobra appearance. This is a very older school exercised love my many of the bodybuilding legends of the past. Today it isn’t has popular. The t-bar row is another staple exercise that is great for back thickness, but more commonly for lats. Bent over dumbbell rows are just as an effective exercise as t-bar rows which he sometimes do.
Ulisses is seen to incorporate seated rows, hammer strength rows and cable rows for increasing his back thickness. All these rows Ulisses aims to work on his lats. This is demonstrated by where he pulls the handle, which is normally below his sternum. Each of these exercises gives you a slightly different feel which also ensures you are hitting every angle of the back.
A major tip is to train each lat muscle unilaterally. The majority of your rowing exercises will utilise both grips in which you should aim to go heavy. But for certain exercise like the pulley row below and other seated row machines drop the weight and train one late independently.
There you have it, a selection of Ulisses’ most favourable back exercises. Remember to add both width and thickness exercises into your back routine to develop a complete back. It doesn’t matter if you decide to add both width and thickness exercises into one workout or to split them on different days. All you have to do is add them into your routine and mix them around every so often (4-6 weeks is sufficient).