As the years go by the bodybuilding and fitness world tends to quickly move past some of the older generation and focus on the here and now. But this means we are missing out on some great bits of information for training, gaining size, and adding strength.
An excellent example is the great Lee Haney. He won the Mr. Olympia eight times but you hardly ever see any of his training routines. Many people quickly point out that he seemed to not have as great of an overall physique as many other bodybuilders before or after him, but one thing they can all agree on; he had a fantastic back, chest, and shoulders.
Yup, Lee’s back was a thing of legend and easily can be attributed towards him winning a few of those Olympia’s. It was wide and thick, giving him an advantage over almost all other bodybuilders in that area. His front lat-spread was a thing of beauty. Let’s look at his training program and see what type of special exercises and set/rep combinations he did to achieve such a high caliber set of wings.
The Haney Back Routine
Lee did a pretty standard bodybuilding split at the time which involved splitting his body parts up into six bodypart workouts and then training in the morning and night for three days on with the fourth day off. While this probably means he was taking steroids to handle the short recovery period, it does not take away from the effectiveness of his lifting routine.
Lee was a big stickler on using great form as well as moderate weight. One of his many catchphrases was, “Stimulate don’t annihilate” which meant not to push past your recovery ability but instead meet it consistently. He also always worked the negative motion of an exercise very slowly and then exploded powerfully through the positive portion. These techniques are valuable for maximum muscle fiber recruitment.
- Wide Grip Chin-ups – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps – He would usually use a weighted belt for additional resistance.
- Barbell Rows / T-Bar Rows – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps – He would alternate between these two exercises each workout. In either case the strict form meant no cheating.
- Seated Cable Rows – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps – Again form was very strict and the negative motion was stressed.
- Single Arm Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps – This exercise was done every other or every third workout.
The sets listed include lighter weight warm-up sets with usually one or two maximum weight work sets at the prescribed weight. But when doing slower reps each set does recruit muscle fiber usage even when warming up.
He always felt you didn’t need to have a complex routine but instead using a more basic routine combined with patience, perseverance, and persistence would get the results you want. With eight Mr. Olympia’s on his resume, can he be wrong?