Lean Muscle Trainer Hero

Day 2:Back

Welcome to Day 2 of my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program for men and women. Today, we’re hitting the second largest muscle group in the body—the back. This muscle group is comprised of your lats, which are large muscles, and multiple smaller muscles, including your rhomboids, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, and supraspinatus, among others. These smaller muscles help create the detail and “bubbles” in your upper back. The lats provide the width and flare that narrows into your waist. Some people train the trapezius as part of their back, but others include this muscle with shoulders. We’ll train traps with both back and shoulders on this 12-week program.

Today’s workout includes 5 moves for back that will really help you accentuate your V taper and create the illusion of a narrower waist. These exercises work your back in different ways. I want you to put as much effort as possible into every rep. You’ll be performing a fairly light volume today, completing a total of 15 sets for about 15 reps each. You’ll rest for 2 minutes between each set, and I want you to stretch your target muscles between every set, really allowing your body to create that space for growth.

The first move is high machine lat pulldowns. For this move, you’ll hold your upper body virtually still throughout the set to avoid using momentum and to force your lats to perform the heavy lifting. Bring the weights into your chest and emphasize a contraction—hold that for just a second or so on each rep. That’s what creates the growth. Then control the weight as you extend, stopping short of full extension, keeping tension in your lats throughout the entire set. We call that “time under tension,” and that’s one of the keys to maximizing growth.

Next up is reverse-grip lat pulldowns. Notice how Danielle and Kai use a narrow underhand or reverse grip. That’s to really pull into the body and help build thickness in the lats. Really emphasize the contraction at the bottom of your lats to help create that groove or trough along your lower spine.

Then we’ll follow this move with reverse-grip bent-over barbell rows. This was the favorite move of Dorian Yates, the 6-time Mr. Olympia winner, who was known for his exceptional back development. I like to include this move because you’re pulling the weight in a different direction than you are with the previous moves. Each move in this workout is included because it works your back a little bit differently, helping you develop a more complete look.

For cable rows, I like to bend my upper body as I perform the move. That’s not to use momentum but to incorporate a greater stretch at full extension. With that said, it’s important that you control the weight throughout the entire set. You don’t want to allow the weight to over stretch your lats. Keep control as you stretch and then pull the weight into your abdomen as you contract your lats for a second or so. Release it slowly, feeling the stretch in your back rather than your shoulder joint.

The last move for today is dumbbell deadlifts. While this move is easier for many people than barbell deadlifts, it’s crucial that you perform these correctly to reduce the risk of injury. For this move, I want you to keep your back flat and prevent your head from popping up, which torques your neck. Keep your full spine in alignment throughout the set. Notice how I correct Kai and Danielle on this in the video.

Then, I want you to stretch out after your workout. This will not only feel good, but it will also decrease the soreness you feel tomorrow. Take a look at the video to see the stretching moves I put Danielle and Kai through.

Today you’ll perform your 15 minutes of steady-state cardio upon rising. You can take in CLEAN BURN®, AMINO SYNERGY, and GLUTAMINE before or during your session, but make sure you avoid eating a meal. Amino Synergy will supply amino acids to help protect your muscles, and not having carbohydrates from a full meal will encourage your body to burn fat to fuel this activity. I’ll be making adjustments to your cardio throughout this Trainer series, but you’ll perform just 15 minutes during the first week on my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program.


15 minutes

Steady-state upon waking


High machine lat pulldowns

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 2 minutes and stretch between each set

Reverse-grip lat pulldowns

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 2 minutes and stretch between each set

Reverse-grip bent-over barbell rows

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 2 minutes and stretch between each set

Cable rows

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 2 minutes and stretch between each set

Dumbbell deadlifts

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 2 minutes and stretch between each set


At this point, you should already be feeling the compound effects of training with intensity for two days in a row—and we still have three more to go this week. It is essential that you get in the foods and supplements that help you recover and perform at your peak from the start of this program. It’s going to be brutal at times, but it’s well worth the effort. Never forget that preparing yourself for subsequent workouts by attending to recovery is one of the most crucial aspects of success on my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program.



After workouts you need to get in supplements and nutrition to support recovery and muscle growth. RE-KAGED contains 28 grams of fast-digesting whey protein isolate and ProHydrolase®, a digestive enzyme matrix that supports faster breakdown of protein molecules for even better absorption. RE-KAGED also contains fermented glutamine, Creatine HCl and BetaPower®.

DOSE AND TIMING: For best results, get in 1 scoop of RE-KAGED immediately after weight-training workouts to complete your PIP stack. Follow that shortly thereafter with a whole-food meal.

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