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Hypertrophy coach Joe Bennett criticizes Dorian Yates’ back workout and discusses whether it was optimal – Fitness Volt

Although he retired years ago, Dorian Yates’ blood and guts workouts live on as some of the most iconic of all time. In a recent YouTube video, ‘Hypertrophy coach’ Joe Bennett criticized the former six-time Mr. Olympia and revealed whether it was optimal or not.

From the moment he won the Mr. Olympia title, Dorian Yates didn’t let anyone win it until he decided to leave the sport. He mastered training and nutrition to build a body that many thought was impossible. His hugely detailed back and dry condition heralded a new era of size and muscularity.

Yates employed a failure-based training approach created by the late Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer. Instead of performing a set number of sets and reps, Yates listened to his body, which ultimately gave him six Mr. Olympia titles.

Hypertrophy coach Joe Bennett criticizes the back training of former 6x Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates

A blossoming fitness and bodybuilding coach, Bennett has been training high-profile athletes for years. In his latest effort, he used his expertise to provide insight into the effectiveness of Dorian Yates’ back routine.

Rapid degradation

  • Barbell rows
  • Seated one-armed driving machine
  • Aft hang glide
  • Bent over the rear hang glide
  • Lower back extensions
  • Deadlifting

Barbell rows

Bennett said Yates used barbell rows to broaden his lats, but he believes this move targets the upper back most.

“I’m pretty sure I heard him say that this (dumbbell rows) was more of a lat exercise for him, which for most people, when we look at your body and look at that degree of elbow, flare, again , if this were me and I was in the exact same bone position, I would think this would be a much better upper back exercise.

Again, the huge difference between Dorian and me, and we’ll talk about this in another exercise, is that the bigger the muscle, the bigger the internal moment arms change. Internal moment arms will be determined by where that tendon is located.

Seated one-armed driving machine

He was complimentary of Yates’ form while performing seated repetitions of a single-arm rowing machine.

“The most important thing here is the arm path. So again, you can’t see it here, this is another one of those machines that comes really close and comes out just a little bit. It really promotes this shoulder-width arm path. From a lat point of view this is great.”

He emphasized that these types of movements can be more challenging for people with larger bodies.

“He’s not even all the way back yet, but his triceps are literally hitting his lat. So again, what does this tricep cover? Its humorous, what is the bar attached to? The humorous thing, so this is where some of these big crowd queues go out the window. I found this super interesting because I have trained some of the greatest people in the world.”

Aft hang glide

Bennett believes Yates’ spine and upper arm can be adjusted to optimize his rear hang gliding results.

“This machine is great for the rear delts overall. Again, the loading pattern is fine. But the idea is he’s face down,” Joe Bennett said. ”

“All I’m going to say here about the rear delts is that he’s found the angle that feels most comfortable for him. So again, if we look at his body position, where his spine is and where that upper arm is, it’s pulled out a little bit.

He prefers the rear delt machine because the chest brace immobilizes other body parts.

“What’s even more amazing about his machine is that his chest is supported so nothing can move. It’s loaded through the upper arm, which is actually great. There’s nothing wrong with doing clear cables or the reverse pec deck or holding a barbell, but it’s impossible to take the elbow joint out.

Bent over the rear hang glide

Bennett explained that Yates’ body position was great during prone hang gliding.

“This would be the kind of thing, not that Dorian would ask me, but he’s almost in the exact same position, so his upper arm is here, his elbows are bent quite a bit forward, those rear delts are obviously in a great position to be like this From a standpoint, he’s great.”

Lower back extensions

While he didn’t object to his form on the low back extensions, Bennett believes Yates would have benefited from performing them after deadlifts.

“We have had a number of lower back extensions. I think it’s funny that he did it in this order, so this might be something I would change a bit. But this is one of those things where I don’t know. It just makes it even more awesome that he finishes with deadlifts. Anyway, if I was going to do something different here, I think I would prioritize the deadlifts over the low back extensions.”


According to Bennett, Yates’ deadlifts were more similar to Romanian deadlifts, mentioning that he was unsure of his hip mobility and flexion.

“He’s keeping his knees pretty fixed, so this is a little closer to an RDL,” Bennett said. “I have no idea what his mobility and hip flexion ability is or anything, but that’s about the angle he’s at.

The best way to get maximum challenge on the entire spine and hips is that the spine should be parallel to the ground, but again, the exception is, I don’t know if he’s trying to maintain a neutral spine, which is what I think for this exercise is a good idea.”

Joe Bennett has been contributing to the bodybuilding community for years. In a recent collaboration, he joined Lee Labrada, best known from the 1980s, for general ‘guidelines’ in the field of hypertrophy and injury prevention. They also discussed the role that genetics has on muscle growth.

With over 129,000 YouTube subscribers, Joe Bennett is committed to providing training advice that is backed by reason. Bennett was critical of Yates’ back training, but credited him with a legendary career.

RELATED: Dana Linn Bailey undergoes a torturous shoulder workout with ‘Hypertrophy Coach’ Joe Bennett

Watch the full video from the Hypertrophy Coach YouTube channel below:

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