💪 7 Row Variations for a Beefier Back


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Here’s what we have for you: 

  • Seven-time Figure Olympia champ Cydney Gillon shares how to jump-start calf growth 

  • Seven diverse rowing exercises to diversify your workout regimen for a more sculpted back

  • How bodybuilder Franco Columbu shocked the bodybuilding world with his comeback win in the 1981 Mr. Olympia 


Calf Supremacy

Credit: @FOXTV / Giphy

No one ever said that growing your calves would be easy. Unfortunately, these stubborn muscles are surprisingly important for boosting athletic performance and sculpting a head-turning lower body. Seven-time Figure Olympia champ Cydney Gillon knows this, so she's shared a calf workout tailored for anyone looking for a little boost. This regimen stimulates new muscle development and improves overall athletic capabilities.

We’re looking at several of Gillon’s calf-building techniques in the article below, including her emphasis on pausing during the concentric and eccentric phases of seated calf raises to ensure maximum muscle fiber activation. Additionally, she advises altering foot positions during calf exercises to effectively target various parts of the muscle. Discover all the movements and advice from the seven-time Figure Olympia champion to finally achieve growth in those stubborn calves.


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Row, Row, Row

Credit: BarBend

A strong back goes beyond mere appearance; it's the cornerstone of functional strength. It enables you to lift heavy objects during deadlifts and other pulling exercises and adds a noticeable width to your physique. Rows are one of the most effective methods for developing your back muscles, and we've carefully selected the seven best row variations that promise substantial back development.

We provide detailed explanations on the execution of each movement, including the optimal number of sets and repetitions for muscle growth. For instance, rack rows are most effective with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, whereas seal rows are better performed with lighter weights at a higher volume. Moreover, we offer a specific tip for each exercise to maximize the benefits of every row. 

Continue reading to explore the comprehensive guide on rowing exercises designed to build the strongest back to complement your frame.

BarBend NewsletterThe BarBend Newsletter has all the strength training tips and fitness hacks you need (for free!) in a three-minute read.


Columbu’s Olympia Upset

Credit: @thearchivesofbodybuilding / Instagram

In 1981, Franco Columbu made a remarkable comeback to Mr. Olympia after a five-year break due to an injury he suffered during the 1977 World’s Strongest Man competition. When he returned to the stage, he had to hold his own against standout contenders like Tom Platz, Chris Dickerson, Danny Padilla, and Samir Bannout — all of whom could have easily won the Olympia title that year. 

Despite high expectations, many in the audience were underwhelmed by Columbu's physique on that October night in Columbus, OH. Compared to his 1976 Olympia victory, his body wasn't as lean or muscular, and his legs appeared significantly less developed. However, against all odds and to the crowd's astonishment, Columbu clinched the 1981 title. This unexpected victory raised eyebrows: How did Columbu impress the judges to such an extent? 

The answer lies in the point system, pivotal in one of bodybuilding's most disputed and controversial outcomes.


Hemp Hemp Hooray 

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  • Does research support hemp seeds for their “superfood” health benefits? Here’s a multitude of studies demonstrating their positive impact on your health and fitness journey.

  • The dumbbell shoulder press is a staple amongst delt movements. Learn how to perfect them to reap the most strength and hypertrophy benefits. 

  • Volume cycling is an effective way to enhance strength and muscle gains. See how fewer sets can yield greater muscle growth.