The Rock Sets His Lats on Fire with This Crazy Back Finisher

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has just shared another video from one of his epic training sessions in his Iron Paradise, this time offering insight into how he closes out his back workouts, performing an intense set of lat pulldowns with a straight bar.

Johnson has been using lat pulldowns as a tool in his back-building repertoire for years, although he has made certain adjustments to his technique in his more recent workouts. Previously, he would perform alternating half-iso pulldowns, maintaining an isometric squeeze on one side of his body while completing the rep on the other, simultaneously engaging the core to keep his torso in place.

Lately, however, he’s deploying slowed-down, controlled negatives on each repetition in order to increase time under tension and achieve maximum eccentric contraction, ensuring he’s getting the absolute most out of his back day.

In the caption to the video, Johnson explains he’s performing 3 to 4 second negatives with 1 to 2 second squeeze holds at the bottom end of the pulldown, and doing the exercise to failure (usually around 8 to 10 reps). It’s worth noting that this focus on eccentric contraction and controlled negatives means he won’t be using weights as heavy as he might otherwise.

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“My back is fried at this point,” he writes, “so I really concentrate on controlling the reps all the way thru… Can’t emphasize enough to control your movements to get quality reps and to really work the muscle.