Mindi obrien
david laus

IFBB Women’s Physique Pro Mindi O’Brien

Sexy-back secret: Wide-grip pullup

Why it’s her fave: “This compound exercise helps to both build width and create a nice V-taper.”

How to do it:

  • Grab the pullup bar with an overhand grip, spacing your hands about shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with arms fully extended, shoulders relaxed to stretch your lats.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, arch your back, and pull yourself up, aiming to touch your chest to the bar. Hold the contraction at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down and repeat.

Mindi’s Back Workout:

  • Straight-arm Pulldown: 2 sets x 15-20 
  • Wide-grip Pullup: 5 sets x 8-10
  • Reverse-grip Bentover Barbell Row: 4 sets x 8-10  
  • Single-arm Dumbell Row: 4 sets x 8 (hold the contraction for two seconds)
  • Close-grip Lat Pull Down: 4 sets x 12-15 (hold the contraction for two seconds)
  • Straight-arm Cable Pushdown superset with: 4 sets x 12-15
  • Back Exrtension: 4 sets x 10-15  

leigh hagen

IFBB Bikini Pro Angeles Burke

Sexy-back secret: One-arm kneeling dumbbell row

Why it’s her fave: “Training unilaterally allows me to work each side of my back independently, helping prevent muscle imbalances.”

How to do it:

  • Holding a dumbbell in one hand with arm fully extended, kneel over side of bench, placing knee and hand of supporting arm on bench.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades as you pull the weight up to the side of your chest, bending your elbow behind you. Repeat for reps, then switch sides and repeat. 

Angeles’ Back Workout

  • Wide-grip Lat Pulldon: 5 sets x 25, 20, 12, 10, 10 
  • Seated Cable Row: 5 sets x 25, 20, 15, 12, 10 
  • Wide-grip Assisted Pullup: 4 sets x 15, 10, 8, to failure 
  • One-arm Kneeling Dumbbell Row: 4 sets x 20, 15, 12, 12 (each side)
  • Smith Machine Inverted Row: 3 sets x Body-weight burnouts to failure

Amanda beard
tim mantoani

Olympic Swimmer Amanda Beard

Sexy-back secret: Swimming drills

Why they’re her fave: “The sweeping motion as you pull through the water gives your back muscles a challenging workout without weights.”

Amanda’s Back Workout

  • Start by pushing off the wall with your feet and performing two butterfly strokes.
  • Flip over to your back and do six backstrokes at a fast pace.
  • Flip back over to your stomach and do two breaststrokes.
  • Finish by sprinting to the wall using a freestyle stroke. That’s one full lap. Repeat for laps.

Start by performing six to eight laps, then aim to increase your laps by one additional lap each workout. The goal is to be able to complete 20 or more laps with short rest periods.

Tip: Perform each lap as fast as possible, being careful to maintain good form throughout. Don’t let your hips sink downward while performing each of the strokes. To boost intensity, use hand paddles such as Aqua Sphere’s Aqua-X Training Power Gloves.