Here’s the Upper Body Training That Gets Terrence Ruffin Huge In His Off-Season

Ruffin will attempt to dethrone three-time reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead in December.

The reigning two-time Arnold Classic Classic Physique champion Terrence Ruffin broke down what he sets out to do during this off-season training and nutrition. He eats nearly 5,000 calories daily to fuel his off-season hypertrophy before entering a cut during his prep.

In a video published on his YouTube channel, Ruffin explained that he hadn’t had a true off-season in years as he often competes in back-to-back shows. He enjoys getting to eat more food while improving his physique for the 2022 Olympia, scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.

In the video published on Aug. 30, 2022, Ruffin shared his nutrition and his training plan for his off-season. Check it out below:

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The Small Muscle Workout

Ruffin performed a classic workout split of opposing body parts for his chest and back. Using Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s prioritization principle of training the weakest body part first, when you have the most energy.

Start with the muscle you’re trying to grow.

Ruffin performed several sets of standing calf raises on a seated leg press machine. He emphasized the squeeze at the top and the stretch at the bottom. Ruffin feels many people deprioritize calves by sticking them at the end of their workouts or not training them with intensity.

Before hitting his chest and back movements, Ruffin warms up with a quick ab routine:

This is something a lot of people miss — they don’t ever take their abs through the full range of motion.

Ruffin performed lying crunches with a wedge under his lower back so his spine could move into extension, thereby taking his abs through a more extensive range of motion. He performed several sets with a 10-pound weight plate and worked up to two 10-pound plates above his head.


Supersets are the baseline methodology for Ruffin’s arm training. He superset his back movements with chest movements throughout his workout.

Seated Row Machine & Pec Deck Flyes

The first exercise was a seated row. Ruffin used a neutral underhand grip. Ruffin likes Magnus equipment as it diverges rather than converges. The change in angle allows him to better train his chest in the lengthened position.


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A post shared by Terrence Ruffin (@ruff_diesel)

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Ruffin superset the rows with flyes on the pec deck machine. Supersets allow for more efficient workouts by completing more work in less time, alternating between muscle groups. The non-working muscles get some active recovery while the intensity of the workout remains high.

Seated Y Raises & Single Arm Lat Pulldowns 

Next up in Ruffin’s workout was a seated dual cable variation of the Y raise, which hits the rear delts, traps, rhomboids, and side delts. It is a hybrid between a face pull and a side lateral raise. 

Ruffin likes Y raises because they are easy on the shoulder joint and allow a more extensive range of motion than a lateral raise. He followed those with single-arm seated lateral raises, starting with a neutral grip. He twisted the handle during the concentric to better activate the lats.

Seated Stiff-Arm Pulldowns

Ruffin finished the back portion of his workout with a seated variation of the stiff-arm pulldown using a rope attachment to bias lats without momentum. Ruffin prefers seated variations of stiff-arm pulldowns for proper alignment and better stability. Due to the different angles, he can hit a different position of his lats.


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Posing & Wrap Up

Below is each movement Ruffin performed during his calves, abs, back, and chest day:

  • Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine
  • Lying Weighted Crunches
  • Superset: Seated Row and Chest Flyes
  • Seated Y Raises
  • Single-Arm Lat Pulldowns 
  • Seated Stiff-Arm Pulldowns

Ruffin weighed 203 pounds with visible abs at the time of the video’s publication. He is pleased with his progress and his conditioning. Previous off-seasons saw Ruffin without visible abs at 180 pounds. He has made significant progress during his off-season growth phase without compromising his lean physique.

We’ll see how Ruffin’s improved packed lines up against the other top athletes in the Classic Physique division at the 2022 Olympia.

Featured image: @ruff_diesel on Instagram