4-Time Mr. Olympia Winner Jay Cutler Shares ‘A Day in Paradise’ Back Routine
One of bodybuilding’s all-time greats walked through a day of challenging back exercises.
Jay Cutler retired from competitive bodybuilding in 2013, but he stays active. The four-time Mr. Olympia winner (2006-2007, 2009-2010) keeps after it in the gym. A recent day of back exercises exemplifies that continued dedication.
On May 29, 2022, Cutler worked out at the Fit Club, a gym in Las Vegas, intending to strengthen his back. He shared footage of this training session on his YouTube channel.
Even in retirement, it appears Cutler still has a lot to give to his supporters. That includes the greater bodybuilding community, which likely won’t ever say no to commentary from one of the sport’s greats.
Another day in paradise. The weather is great, right? Training has been going A+.
Whenever Cutler can share some of the apparent secrets that helped make his career so successful, he doesn’t hesitate.
Cutler’s ‘Day in Paradise’ Back Workout
Cutler lays out his back day with six separate exercises that can help round out his back muscles.
Reverse-Grip RealLeader Machine
Sets and Reps: 5 “feel” sets
Cutler starts the session with several reverse-grip sets on a RealLeader machine. He says that he wants to get a “feel” of the exercise to ease into his day. He also maintains that he used to do this specific movement with a barbell, but it ended up being too strenuous on his wrists. The machine, in essence, allows him to achieve the same goals while lessening any unnecessary pain.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
Sets and Reps: 3 x 8-12
Cutler next does a few working sets of Single-arm dumbbell rows in a slight but straightforward shift. He uses an 80-pound dumbbell for each arm with more focus on form rather than a concrete cap on repetitions. Cutler seems to allude that this exercise could be foundational in his training.
Sets and Reps: 3 “feel” sets
It makes sense that Cutler leans on lat pulldowns as a segment of this routine. They’re a compound movement that can help athletes develop stronger backs by isolating their lat muscles. Cutler uses a neutral grip — where an athlete rotates their palms so that they’re facing — and again noted that he wanted a “feel” of the lift first.
“I talked about these ‘feel’ sets. I only do these on the first exercise,” Cutler says. “For me, I just want to get a feel of the exercise. I call them ‘feel sets,’ but they’re kind of like so-so warmups. It’s hard to say you’re warmed up in [Las] Vegas.”
Sets and Reps: 4 x 12
In a change of pace from his competitive career, Cutler says he only started regularly doing T-bar rows once he was in retirement. The exercise itself is a reliable way for athletes to train their back despite any lower back or hamstring soreness. The machine’s pad offers inherent stability in contrast to traditional bent-over rows. After finishing his fourth set, Cutler notes that he still makes it a point to deadlift fairly regularly.
RealLeader Pullover Machine
Sets and Reps: 4 x 10-12
Cutler once again implements an alternative, using the RealLeader pullover machine instead of traditional dumbbell pullovers. Pullovers can be a quality way for athletes to work and isolate their chest and lat muscles. After powering through a few high-rep sets, Cutler says there are about 225 pounds on each side.
Before moving on to his final back exercise, Cutler notes that he had planned to do seated cable rows, but they slipped his mind.
Sets and Reps: 3 sets
Cutler closes with some hyperextensions in the cap to his workout, which target the erector spinae (or the group of long muscles that run up the back). While starting from a flexed position, this movement has athletes engage their lower back muscles with an extension while keeping their head and neck static.
Cutler does three sets of hyperextensions with a 25-pound plate in his hands.
Cutler at a Glance
Thanks to his many career achievements, Cutler has undoubtedly earned his platform.
From 2006 to 2010, Cutler won four of five Mr. Olympia titles (2006-2007, 2009-2010). He was also a Mr. Olympia runner-up on six occasions (2001, 2003, 2004-2005, 2008, 2011), often finishing second to his then-rival and fellow bodybuilding legend, Ronnie Coleman.
At 48-years-old, Cutler continues to be active in the strength sports sphere. In addition to an Instagram full of updates from his day-to-day life, he regularly shares different taxing workouts on his YouTube channel. That channel has 544,000 subscribers and counting. For this bodybuilding great, even away from the stage, it seems some of his greatest joys come from training.
Featured image: JayCutlerTV on YouTube