Back Exercises

Johnnie Jackson: Raising the Dead

Train like one of the strongest bodybuilders of all time.

Johnnie Jackson: Raising the Dead

Johnnie Jackson is a true hybrid. Lots of guys claim to be bodybuilders and powerlifters, but no one’s had more success at the former while excelling at the latter than JJ. During his 12-year pro bodybuilding career, this 42-year-old Gulf War veteran has perpetually fnished near the top. Meanwhile, pursuing his powerlifting “hobby,” he’s a human forklift. in a 2012 competition, he deadlifted 832 raw. Fame and fortune have come via his physique, but Jackson maintains his love for moving major metal. His hybrid back workouts begin with low-rep deadlifts before higher-rep, growth- inducing sets for width and thickness. Thus, Jackson makes sure he’s always as strong as he looks.

Jackson's Back Routine

Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 4* 6-4
Weighted Pullup 3 20
Barbell Row 3 10
Seated Cable Row 3 10
Pulldown 3 10
Back Extension 3 15

*Preceded by 2 warmup sets, the 2nd heavier than the 1st.

Power Bodybuildling Tip Sheet

  • Choose one power exercise per workout, such as deadlift, squat, or shoulder press.
  • Do that exercise first and focus on sets of 6 reps or fewer.
  • Like Jackson, try following low reps on a powerlift with high reps on the next exercise.
  • Keep the sets for other exercises mostly in the 8- to 12-rep range to best build muscle.

Jackson's Career Highs

  • 3 Pro bodybuildling show wins
  • 2009 World Strongest Bodybuilder
  • 832 Pounds raw deadlift