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Fitness & Health

01st Sep 2020

Build a bigger back with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favourite exercise

Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his favourite exercise for building a bigger back. Even at the age of 73, he's still hitting the gym hard

Alex Roberts

He is 73 years old

Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to social media to share his favourite exercise for building a bigger back. Even at the age of 73, he’s still hitting the gym hard.

There’s a lot you can learn from the old school era of bodybuilding, even if the competitors are long retired. Schwarzenegger posted the following clip on Instagram:

T-Bar Rows are one of Schwarzenegger’s favourite gym exercises for building a bigger back. Arnold’s using a specific T-Bar Row machine, but you can replicate the movement by jamming a barbell into the corner of a room.

Once you’ve loaded up one end of the barbell with weights, this is how you can perform the T-Bar Row with optimal technique:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Take a grip that is comfortable
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight
  • Row the weight in towards your belly button
  • Keep your elbows tucked in to maintain tension on the back muscles

We’re not sure about Taylor Swift as a choice of workout music, but to each his own.

A common problem with the T-Bar Row is loading the bar up with too much weight, to the point you end up using too much momentum to shift the weight.

Not only will this take the tension away from your back muscles, it risks injury since your back won’t be straight when lifting the load.

Want some more tips from Schwarzenegger and the bodybuilders of his heyday? Click here to read seven training lessons you can learn from Arnold.

Hercules in New York (1969) was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first forays into the movie world. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

These tips include why you should lift heavy weights if you’re looking to get lean. You might be struck by how much weight Arnold can still lift, but it’s not necessarily an indicator he wants to get huge again.

Lifting heavy weight is actually a proven way of burning fat in the gym. Think of it as simple physics – the heavier an object, the more energy you must use to move it.

This was proven in a study conducted by Greek scientists, who compared lifting heavy to lifting light. To do this, they split guys into two groups:

  • One group trained with 80-85% of their one rep max (heavy)
  • The second group lifted with 45-65% of their one rep max (light)

Let’s assume everyone’s one rep max here is 100kg. That’s one group lifting 80-85kg, and a second group repping out 45 to 65 kilograms.

The heavy lifting group did not manage as many reps – but their weight loss results were more impressive.

Their metabolic rate was increased to a greater extent than those lifting lighter weights. This improved metabolism also lasted for three days after leaving the gym. Couple this with a calorie deficit in your diet, and you’ll strip body fat in no time.