Get a great back workout in honor of Cedric McMillan here!
The bodybuilding community recently lost Cedric McMillan, a beloved bodybuilder and fierce competitor in the sport. The 44-year old was very open about his health and past heart issues that resulted in a near death experience in 2021. While details are not confirmed, the bodybuilding community is deeply saddened by the loss of this true competitor and friend, as yet another bodybuilder has passed away too soon.
Cedric had great workout routines which contributed to his massive physique and sheer determination to be a top competitor. Generation Iron took on one of Cedric’s top back workouts with help from Victor Martinez. While Victor and Cedric weren’t extremely close, they met a handful of times. In honor of Cedric, Generation Iron wanted to take on this workout and share it with all of you to see just what it took to get Cedric to where he was.
Let’s jump into this Cedric McMillan back workout so you too can try and see gains like Cedric himself. A thoughtful and focused athlete, while being playful and funny off stage, Cedric leaves a powerful legacy and one we all can embrace and remember.
About Cedric McMillan
Cedric McMillan was born in Maplewood, New York and loved all things muscle. He would draw superheroes based on bodybuilding and workout magazines and was always talking about bodybuilding and how to get physiques like them. He went pro in 2009 after winning the NPC Nationals contest and from there, there was no slowing him down. He became a top contender in the bodybuilding community after he won the 2017 Arnold Classic in the Men’s Open division.
What Cedric did for bodybuilding was bring back the “classic” look, the one fans and athletes wanted to see most. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was impressed and optimistic about Cedric and his amazing physique.
Cedric would, however, undergo serious health issues and was optimistic about recovering and getting back to his true form. His death is tragic and the bodybuilding world lost a true competitor and pioneer for change .
Cedric’s Back Workout
Generation Iron took to the gym with Victor Martinez, pro bodybuilder and a force in his own right, to perform one of Cedric’s top back workouts. His movements were precise and meticulous and each exercise had a purpose that lent to his massive physique and incredible resume.
A note for readers: All advice and tips on these workouts are coming from Victor Martinez.
1. Smith Rows
For the Smith rows, Cedric never went crazy with weight. He would perform one warm-up set and then two working sets and would use a smith machine because it was more stable. Staying slow and controlled during the entire movement, he would pause slightly at the top for that added squeeze.
2. Lat Pulldown
The lat pulldown also saw a warm-up and two working sets and was performed with a wide grip. With this grip, it is important to use your back to the best of your ability to not lose the grip as you go as far down as you can without losing control. If your shoulders start to raise during this movement, really try to keep them down as you go up in order to not let your shoulders take over the principle movement.
3. Cable Rows
For cable rows, you will perform one lighter set and usually around two heavy sets. For this exercise, keep your chest up as you engage and perform this exercise and as you lean forward to initiate the movement, hinge from the hips but keep your spine neutral.
As you pull into your abs, don’t lean too far back and give your lats a squeeze for that added level of work. If you pull into your upper chest, you will target your upper back and the lower you pull, the lower down your back you target. Victor does say that while you can add variations to this movements, nothing crazy really happens.
Make sure to stabilize your back and engage your core to avoid unwanted back pain as well.
4. Superset (Underhand Pulldowns & One Arm Lat Pulldowns)
These are used with a shorter bar and require you to lean back slightly as you hit the center of your back. As you pulldown, exhale, and as you return to the top, use this time to inhale, according to Victor.
One Arm Lat Pulldowns
For this exercise, keep the movement controlled and your shoulders stable to only work your lats. By keeping your arms straight, you will engage the lat and won’t get so much movement out of the shoulders.
Other Tips From Victor
During this workout, Victor offered up advice and answered questions from those watching the live workout.
Victor offers two great lat stretches for better circulation and pumps. Stretching during the workout allows for better growth as well. The first is to grab a stable object and slowly lean back, keeping the arm grabbing the object straight and you squat lower into the stretch.
The second stretch is the same movement in terms of stretching the lat and leaning back slowly, however, your arm is twisted to engage the muscle differently.
When asked about three of the most important supplements, Victor offers up glutamine, creatine, and carb drinks.
Glutamine: Allows for better muscle growth, less muscle wasting, and increased performance by allowing for better recovery. You will also find that glutamine can improve cognitive function and offer up less stress.
Creatine: Creatine can increase strength and provide for better muscle pumps while also boosting athletic performance and improving your metabolism. You will also find better power output and more refueled energy stores.
Carb Drinks: May improve energy and fuel endurance by giving you extra carbs to replenish stores. Can also work to improve cognition and focus.
Victor was also asked which three supplements he couldn’t live without. His response: protein, aminos, and carb drinks.
Victor offered up his approach to working out which was to skip a body part every week. This offers up the chance to get plenty of rest, increase your pump for the next workout, and benefit from both recovery and a fresh and ready to work muscle.
When asked about working legs, Victor says to do so twice a week and to alternate between a heavier set day and a lighter set day. There is no point in doing the same workout twice. What you will find is you can cut your first workout’s sets in half for the second day.
As for unilateral exercises, like the one arm lat pulldowns above, Victor states that working one arm at a time allows you to maximize unilateral effects and fix any unwanted imbalances that can ruin a great physique.
In honor of Cedric McMillan, Generation Iron, along with Victor Martinez, took on one of Cedric’s top back workouts to see just how he did it. A beloved and accomplished bodybuilder, Cedric’s legacy will live on in the bodybuilding community and outside of it alike, and his workouts that got him to where he was can be passed down for all. Taking notes from the pros can give you serious results and this top back workout from Cedric is no exception.