Tips From Terrence Ruffin and Wesley Vissers’ Back Training — How Many Sets, Which Movements First, and More

Vissers performs 24 working sets per back training session.

The 2022 Classic Physique Olympia in December 2022 in Las Vegas, NV, saw Chris Bumstead score his fourth consecutive title against an impressive stacked roster. Terrence Ruffin and Wesley Vissers were two of the athletes contending to dethrone Bumstead. Ruffin slipped by four ranks from 2021 to sixth place, while Vissers improved by three ranks to eighth place — his best Olympia finish to date.

On Feb. 6, 2023, the duo of Vissers and Ruffin trained back together in a video published on Ruffin’s YouTube channel. During the training session, Ruffin inquired about what exercises Vissers prioritizes at the start of his workouts and how many sets of each exercise he does, among other details about his programming. Check it out below:

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Vissers’ Back Training Routine

According to NPC News Online, the 29-year-old Vissers has appeared in the Classic Physique Olympia four times. He debuted in 2018 outside the top 15, then ranked 11th in 2020 and 2021. He moved up to eighth place overall in 2022.

The Dutch bodybuilder opens his back workouts with a lat pulldown variation. He employs a back movement ratio on his pull days is one:two of one pulldown variation to row variation — so one pulldown for every two rows. Vissers feels his back has sufficient width, but the density can “always be increased.”

Vissers’ typical back sessions are comprised of the following:

After opening with sets on the lat pulldown machine, Ruffin asked Vissers how many working sets he incorporates per session. Both agreed that three working sets per exercise were sufficient, though Vissers will sometimes do four working sets deep into the off-season. However, when he does, he does one fewer exercise, so the volume isn’t substantially increased.

It’s no use doing more than 24 working sets per workout.

Vissers would do more than 24 working sets per session if he could recover well enough. He doesn’t perform deadlifts or target the erectors during his training. He works them incidentally through other movements, like during the T-Bar row or barbell row.

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A trick that has worked for Vissers in recent years to maintain his conditioning without compromising his muscle fullness is keeping the weight heavy during his working sets, even as he sustains a caloric deficit to get shredded.

Vissers and Ruffin will have to win a pro show during the 2023 season to qualify for the 2023 Olympia on Nov. 2-5, 2023, in Orlando, FL. At the time of this article’s publication, neither athlete has stated when their next pro show will be.

Featured image: @wesleyvissers on Instagram