When it comes to overall size and muscularity, Aquaman star Jason Momoa has built a body that is the envy of many.
The DC superhero’s towering physique as seen in Justice League, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Aquaman are aspirational for so many men. While one can only hazard a guess at how much the 6ft 3in. Hawaiian can bench press, it’s Momoa’s posterior chain that really impresses.
Without a strong back – where muscle seems to hang like slabs of meat on the Game of Thrones star’s physique – it can be difficult to build a great set of pecs and shoulders. This is because well-developed back muscles improve postural alignment, pulling the shoulder blades back and allowing you to really connect with the muscles on the front of your body when you train them.
The key to building a back as impressive as Momoa’s is consistent training and progressive overload, with careful selection of exercises that target the many different muscles of the back. This workout would fit well as part of a wider rotation that targets each muscle group at least two to three times per week.
This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.
The muscles of the back generally respond well to slightly higher training volumes (around 8-12 sets per week), partially down to its size and the many different muscles that make up the posterior chain. When targeting the back, we typically pay most attention to the trapezius, rhomboids, lats, spinal erectors, and the rear deltoids.
While heavier repetitions are used at the start of the workout to stimulate ‘mechano growth factor’ that stimulates hypertrophy using mechanical load, it’s also incredibly important (and notoriously difficult) to establish a deep mind-muscle connection with the back, in large part because we can’t see it! This is why more isolated exercises performed in the 8-12 rep range are also a must if your goal is to sculpt an enviable set of wings.
No back workout would be complete without some biceps to add some pump. And while the majority of exercises performed for the back will indirectly challenge your arms, you don’t build a set of arms like Jason Momoa’s without some direct biceps work. With the biceps partially fatigued at this point in the session, a higher rep range (12-15 reps) helps to leverage metabolic stress to maximise growth.
However, it’s almost impossible to isolate the individual muscles of the back completely; therefore, pairing these exercises is likely to reduce the total training volume (or the total amount of work) you can perform. Additionally, many back exercises present a large challenge to the muscles of the forearms, and you don’t want those muscles to fail before those you are trying to target. As a result, this workout is best performed in straight sets.