The Jay Cutler Back Workout!


Jay Cutler is one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He won the Mr. Olympia contest 4 times in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He is also the founder of the Cutler Nutrition supplement company.

Jay Cutler has many standout body parts but he is best known for his unbelievable upper back development.

If you want to train your upper back like Jay Cutler then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Jay Cutler’s Training Split
  • Part 2: Jay Cutler’s Back Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will show you how Jay Cutler trained his back during his professional bodybuilding career.

Jay Cutler trains his upper back once per week using high-volume bodybuilding style workouts.

Jay says that he performs as many as 6-8 exercises and 20-40 sets for his upper back in a single workout! That is enough volume to put most people in the hospital but it worked like magic for Jay Cutler. Check it out:

“It’s not uncommon for me to do 30-40 sets in a single workout just for back. For me it’s routine – I’ve been training that way since I was a little kid.”

Jay Cutler trains his upper back once per week using a 5-day bodybuilding bro split. Check it out:

Jay Cutler’s Training Split

  • Day 1: Chest
  • Day 2: Arms
  • Day 3: Back
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Shoulders
  • Day 6: Legs
  • Day 7: Off

Jay Cutler says that the 5-day bro split is the way to go if you like to perform high-volume bodybuilding workouts. You are only training 1 body part per workout so it is very easy to get all of your sets in.

Jay Cutler likes to plan out his back workouts 1 day in advance. The day before his workout he will sit down and pick the exercises he wants to focus on. Check it out:

“I run through my workout the day prior when I plan my back training. I kind of have an idea of what I want to start with.”

This is a really important point. If you are just doing whatever you feel like in the gym then you are never going to reach your full potential.

No one every became the Mr. Olympia just by accident! You have to have a plan for how you are going to go from point A to point B.

Now let’s look at some of Jay Cutler’s actual back workouts. Check it out:

Jay Cutler’s Back Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Reverse grip pulldown, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Barbell bent over row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: T-bar row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: One-arm DB row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Chest supported DB row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Rope cable pullover, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #9: Standing cable row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume back workout! Jay Cutler performs 9 total exercises and about 36 sets for his upper back. That is enough training volume to put Arnold Schwarzenegger in the hospital!

Jay Cutler says that he always starts off his back workouts with some type of lat pulldown movement to stretch out his lats and open up his shoulders. Check it out:

“I usually start with a reverse pulldown movement always and really stretch the lats.”

After the pulldowns Jay moves onto a wide variety of rowing exercises.

Jay says that he alternates between a back width workout and a back thickness workout. This is his way of really getting that complete development in all of the upper back muscles. Check it out:

“I have two different back days. One day I focus on a lot of rowing movements and another day I focus on pull ups and pulldowns, more back width exercises. The rowing movements are more for thickness.”

Here is another one of Jay Cutler’s high-volume back workouts. Check it out:

Jay Cutler’s Back Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Cable pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Barbell bent over row (supinated grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row (medium / neutral grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: One-arm dumbbell row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Cable pulldown (medium / neutral grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Cable pulldown (narrow / neutral grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: T-bar row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Straight arm cable pullover, 4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Here is Jay describing his approach for this workout:

“I do one exercise for width and then I go into the rowing movements full tilt and just go by feel from there. I just look around the gym, see what area is not so crowded and pick and choose that way.”

One of Jay’s big priorities with his back workouts is staying healthy and avoiding unnecessary injuries. Jay likes to use a weight lifting belt on all of his heavier sets to protect his lower back. Check it out:

“Anything that’s heavy I wear a belt. Anything that twists my body I wear a belt. Anything where my body will be in a vulnerable position I wear a belt.”

Here is another upper back workout that Jay Cutler performed while preparing for the Mr. Olympia contest. Check it out:

Jay Cutler’s Back Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Machine pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: T-bar row (close / pronated grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Lat pulldown (narrow / neutral grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Chest supported DB row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Lying DB pullover, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Seated cable row (v-handle), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Conventional deadlift (to mid-shin height), 4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Jay actually performs some moderately heavy deadlifts. Normally Jay avoids deadlifts. Instead he likes to perform heavy barbell rows, t-bar rows and seated cable rows to make his back thicker.

Jay says that at the elite level deadlifts are too hard to recover from and do more harm than good.

For this workout he mixes in some deadlifts but he performs them at the end of his workout when his upper back is already pre-fatigued. This was a favorite strategy of the legendary bodybuilder Dorian Yates.

Here is Jay describing his approach for this workout:

“For me I just kind of go by feel. Sometimes I stop in the middle of the set to regroup myself and say, OK, what am I stimulating here?

Sometimes if I train explosive my form can get a little loose. I like to stop in the middle of my sets to refocus and stimulate the muscles a little more and use a little less body English to get the weight moving.

Let’s look at one more lower-volume back workout that Jay Cutler performed while preparing for the Mr. Olympia contest. Check it out:

Jay Cutler’s Back Workout #4

  • Exercise #1: Machine chest supported row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Barbell bent over row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Hammer strength pulldown, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: One-arm machine chest supported row, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated cable row (wide / neutral grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Lat pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

This is a lower-volume workout for Jay but it’s still enough to challenge almost anyone reading this article! Jay uses a lot of his favorite back exercises like barbell bent over rows, lat pulldowns and seated cable rows for this workout.

Jay is willing to do whatever it takes to take his physique to the next level. That is the mindset of a true bodybuilding champion.

Conclusion

Jay Cutler’s upper back is one of his best body parts and it’s easy to see whey when you look at his upper back workouts.

Jay attacks his upper back from all angles using an absolutely crazy number of sets and exercises. This may sound a little extreme but the upper back is one of the most important body parts on the bodybuilding stage.

Without a world-class back you are never going to win the Mr. Olympia title! Check it out:

“I believe a strong back and a strong set of legs wins bodybuilding competitions. I just feel having those superior body parts is going to help me with the #5 Mr. Olympia title.”

Jay Cutler’s upper back routine may be too much for the average bodybuilder to recover from but it’s still inspiring to see how a world-champion trains one of his best body parts.

I hope Jay’s incredible journey inspires you to develop an inspiring vision for your own life and to pursue it with everything you’ve got.

If you want support Jay Cutler then make sure you check out his supplement company:

Cutler Nutrition

Jay sells a ton of great products and merchandise that you won’t find anywhere else. Here is one more quote from Jay Cutler to pump you up even more:

“I know I’m a winner if I work hard and always give my best 100% of the time.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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