Urs Kalecinski and Wesley Vissers Tag Team Back Training During 2024 Arnold Classic Prep

In professional bodybuilding, camaraderie and competition often go hand-in-hand. Although Urs Kalecinski and Wesley Vissers will lock horns at the 2024 Arnold Classic on March 1-2, 2024, the duo joined forces for a back training session.

Kalecinski and Vissers have intensified their programming to train back twice weekly while prepping for the Arnold. On Feb. 18, 2024, Kalecinski published a video on his YouTube channel, sharing his go-to back exercises and training tips for sculpting his back.

Urs Kalecinski and Wesley Vissers 2024 AC Back Workout

Here is a summary of the Classic Physique bodybuilders’ back training routine:

Lat Pulldown

Seated Cable Row

Single-Arm Machine Row

Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown

Assisted Pull-Ups

Check out the video below: 

[Related: Jay Cutler to Receive 2024 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award]

Lat Pulldown

The duo employed a wider-than-shoulder-width overhand grip on the bar to bias the lats. Kalencinski moved through his full range of motion, pulling the bar to the upper chest at the bottom of each rep and stopping just shy of full elbow extension at the top.

Vissers usually performs three to four sets of his opening back exercise to feel a deep contraction in the target muscles.

You don’t have to warm up and get used to the movement to develop a good mind-muscle connection.

Kalecinski took extended rest between sets to offer his muscles enough time to recover. Doing so better ensures maximal output in the subsequent set. A randomized controlled trial found that participants who rested for three minutes between sets experienced greater muscle size and strength increases than those who only rested for one minute. (1)

[Related: Nick Walker Trains Back Raw 14 Weeks Out From the 2024 New York Pro]

Seated Cable Row

The Classic Physique competitors performed seated cable rows with a shoulder-wide overhand grip. They pulled the bar toward the upper ribs while flaring the elbows to bias the rear delts, traps, rhomboids, and teres major and minor. 

The pair maintained an upright torso throughout their range of motion. They avoided leaning back or forward to maintain the stimulus on their lats. Kalencski retracted his scapula on concentrics and paused at the top.

Single-Arm Machine Row

Unilateral training can be effective for fixing strength and muscle imbalances. Vissers placed his chest against the iso-lateral machine’s pad, grabbed the handle with a neutral grip, dipped his working shoulder, and pulled his elbow past his midline, tight to the torso. 

The machine’s line of pull allowed the duo to better bias their lower lats. After reaching failure, Kalenciski used momentum by swinging his torso.

Cheat reps are useful if you know how to use them.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that muscle failure increased hypertrophy gains when lighter weights were used, but the effect was less pronounced with heavier weights. So maxing out and then some with lighter loads might be the ticket to bigger gains. (2)

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A post shared by Urs Kalecinski (@the.miraclebear)

[Related: Wellness Bodybuilder Chloe Pickford Shares How to Build “Whammy” Quads]

Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown

Vissers grabbed a cable handle attachment with a narrow grip, positioned his torso at 45 degrees, and maintained slight elbow flexion throughout to load the lats. He used a slow rep cadence and paused at the top and bottom to increase the time under tension (TUT). 

Research published in the Journal of Physiology indicates that greater TUT leads to significant increases in mitochondrial and sarcoplasmic protein synthesis. It also showed a delayed but enhanced stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis, which is responsible for increasing muscle fiber size. (3)

Assisted Pull-Ups

The pair concluded their workout with three sets of assisted pull-ups. The assisted pull-up machine can lighten the load of each rep, which can eliminate the need to use momentum. 

Kalenciski used lifting straps to limit forearm engagement and maximize lat stimulation.

While doing pull-ups, I always imagine that I have to open the back to hit the back double [biceps] pose.

Kalecinski and Vissers will challenge reigning Arnold Classic champ Ramon Querioz for his throne in early march. Former AC champs Terrence Ruffin and Breon Ansley will also compete as top contenders who could contest for gold.


Schoenfeld, B. J., Pope, Z. K., Benik, F. M., Hester, G. M., Sellers, J., Nooner, J. L., Schnaiter, J. A., Bond-Williams, K. E., Carter, A. S., Ross, C. L., Just, B. L., Henselmans, M., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(7), 1805–1812. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001272

Lasevicius, T., Schoenfeld, B. J., Silva-Batista, C., Barros, T. S., Aihara, A. Y., Brendon, H., Longo, A. R., Tricoli, V., Peres, B. A., & Teixeira, E. L. (2022). Muscle Failure Promotes Greater Muscle Hypertrophy in Low-Load but Not in High-Load Resistance Training. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 36(2), 346–351. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003454

Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, et al. Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiol. 2012;590(2):351-362. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200

Featured image: @wesleyvissers and @the.miraclebear on Instagram

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