Two-time Arnold Classic winner Terrence Ruffin is a force to be reckoned with on stage. He proved as much in his last few bodybuilding appearances. His talent for posing has only aided him throughout his journey as a decorated IFBB Pro bodybuilder. In preparation for 2022 Olympia, Ruffin is ratcheting up his training with a demanding back workout routine.
One flaw people do [on] back days is repeating the same movement…for example, a barbell row and a machine row done with the same grip/upper arm angle.
On May 24, 2022, Ruffin shared an insightful Instagram post about building a better and bigger back. The 28-year-old Classic Physique competitor provided a list of six different workouts and offered tips to anyone who might be flawed in their approach to building their back. Check it out below:
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Back Day Exercises
- Single-arm Pull Downs — 2-3 sets
- Chest-Supported Row — 2-3 sets
- Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) — 1-2 sets
- Reverse Pec Deck — 2-3 sets
- Preacher Curls — 2-3 sets
- Wrist Curls — 2-3 sets
Exercise 1: Single-Arm Pulldowns
Ruffin starts his back workout routine with single-arm pulldowns. This exercise variation of the lat (latissimus dorsi) pulldown is performed with one arm at a time, allowing for a greater range of motion. Many, like Ruffin, favor this exercise because single-arm variations are an effective movement for growing the lats.
Exercise 2: Chest Supported Rows
For the next exercise, Ruffin moves to chest-supported rows. Why do bodybuilders and strength athletes utilize this exercise? Well, the bench helps prevent the body from excessive movement. Isolating specific muscle fibers can be difficult, but these exercises make it a little easier.
Exercise 3: Romanian Deadlifts
The Romanian Deadlift — also known as ‘RDLs’ — develops hip health, strength, and muscular endurance. While practicing this technique, send the hips back and drive with the hamstrings. Controlling the eccentric phase is essential for gains.
RDLs primarily target the hamstrings and utilize the mid and upper back, glutes, erector spinae (lower back), trapezius (traps), and forearms.
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Exercise 4: Reverse Pec Deck
Ruffin moves to the reverse pec deck next — an isolation machine to target the rear delts and upper back. This motion is based on a chest flye. The elbows and arms are held at the same angle during the routine. Since the back stabilizes during this workout, the lever system allows for optimal control to maintain an effective range of motion.
Exercise 5: Preacher Curls
Ruffin utilizes preacher curls, a popular version of the biceps curl because they target the forearms and biceps. The lift is performed with one’s arm(s) resting on a padded and angled surface. It can be achieved with both arms at once or one at a time with a barbell or EZ Bar.
The benefit of a preacher curl over a standard barbell curl is the additional stability the pad, or angled bench provides. This removes the need to stabilize the arm and allows for better biceps isolation.
Exercise 6: Wrist Curls
For Ruffin’s last exercise, he trains wrist curls — an excellent movement for the wrist flexor muscles and the forearms. This isolation exercise is performed using a dumbbell or a barbell held in both hands. During seated wrist curls, sit on a bench with the knees bent and the forearms on the thigh. Raise the weight using forearm muscles, bringing the hand up while the forearm remains rested on the thigh.
Essentially this is flexion of the wrist by contracting the forearm. Placing the forearms on the thighs in the seated position offers stability similar to the weight bench for the preacher curls. Ruffin performs three to four sets.
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Terrence Ruffin at the Olympia
Ruffin emerged as a threat to the Classic Physique Olympia title after winning the 2019 Niagara Falls Pro. After that successful venture, Ruffin took his talents to the 2020 Arnold Classic and the Olympia that same year, finishing second overall in both. “Ruff Diesel” no doubt has his work cut out for him as he plans to challenge the throne of three-time Classic Physique juggernaut Chris Bumstead later in 2022. Ruffin has already captured gold in Ohio at the 2022 Arnold Classic.
After back-to-back second-place appearances at his last two Mr. Olympia contests, Ruffin is addressing his off-season prep with a fine-tooth comb with the hopes of scooping up the most prestigious title in the sport later this year.
Featured image: @ruff_diesel on Instagram