The Predator's Mean Greene Back Workout

Kai Greene takes you through his methodical back training routine.


Jason Breeze

Kai Greene has one of the best backs in the business. Long after he’s officially retired from competition, his will be remembered as among the best backs—alongside Lee Haney’s, Dorian Yates’, and Ronnie Coleman’s—in the annals of this iron sport.

Some guys’ backs have good detail, which makes their rear double biceps formidable, yet they lack width, which leaves their rear lat spreads lacking. Others have a wide lat spread from behind, but don’t look nearly as impressive in a front lat spread. Others have gaps in their backs, especially in the area between where the latissimus ends and the butt begins.

Not Greene. Greene won the jackpot in the back genetics lottery and milked it to the max. His lats are wide and thick, inserting so low into his waist it almost looks like he doesn’t have a waist from behind. He’s got so much muscle tissue back there his lower lats actually hang over his spinal erectors and glutes. Greene’s wide shoulders only help his front lat spread match his rear lat spread; when he hits the pose from the front, he’s got meat hanging down of his frame. In a Kai Greene back double biceps pose, things come alive, fibering out, jumping of back there: his back is crisp, detailed, gnarly—add your own adjective. Greene’s back has been a strength for him since back in the day when he was placing in the top 3 at the NPC Universe, the show he’d win in 2004 to earn his pro card.

So, how did Greene build such a magnificent back, and how does he continue to maintain, detail, and refine it?

For the purposes of this article, let’s stick to descriptions of the exercises we have pictures for. Does Greene actually do these exercises? Greene does them. Does he do all of them each back workout? No. Sometimes. Greene mixes it up. We’ve seen him train using only a few exercises and we’ve seen him seemingly never leave the gym. We don’t have pics here of pullovers, dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, Jefferson deadlifts, etc. Suffice it to say, Greene has done ’em all at one time or another and still does them when he sees fit.

Whichever exercises he chooses, however many sets and reps he sets his sights on, generally Greene is a volume trainer. He’s also a very smart trainer, attuned to his body. He’s not in the gym to stroke his ego setting a personal record for weight lifted. Yeah, he’s capable of moving some very heavy poundages, but he’s also methodical. His is textbook form. He doesn’t jerk or yank the weight solely to move more of it.

Jason Breeze


In the photo, Greene is seated with his knees braced under the pad. Usually he’ll bring the bar down to under his chin when he does them seated this way. However, you’ll often see Greene perform these leaning into the seat, his legs out behind him rather than under the knee pads. This forces him to use less weight, but allows him to focus more on the feeling in his back. It also lends itself to pulldowns behind the neck, which Greene regularly does. Greene brings the bar down steady and controlled, squeezing his traps, rear delts, and then lats, rotating his elbows slightly, alternately abducting (opening) and adducting (closing) his scapula. Sure, he might use the whole stack, but it’s not about pulling weight: it’s about contracting the targeted muscles.


Click "NEXT PAGE" to continue >>

For access to exclusive fitness advice, interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!