Regan Grimes Kicks Off 2023 Mr. Olympia Prep With Grueling Back and Biceps Workout


Fresh off a first-place finish at the 2023 Europa Pro Championship, Regan Grimes has quickly shifted his focus back in a familiar direction. By narrowly edging out Nathan de Asha for the Men’s Open title on Sept. 17, Grimes punched his ticket to the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest.

Of course, the Canadian-born IFBB pro is no stranger to competing on the biggest stage in the sport. But after placing 15th in the Men’s Open division in each of his first two trips and skipping the 2022 Olympia to pack on more muscle, Grimes has plenty to prove.

With the 2023 Olympia scheduled for Nov. 2-5, he officially kicked off his prep by posting a training vlog on his YouTube channel on Sept. 26, 2023. Grimes’ grueling back and biceps workout begins around the 1:25 mark.

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A busy travel and training schedule won’t stop Grimes from doing everything possible to get in prime shape for his third Mr. Olympia appearance. Clearly successful in his muscle-building efforts over the last year, he began his workout by focusing on his lats.

Cable Rope Pullover

Grimes started the session with three sets of a back day staple: the cable rope pullover. He specifically noted that his goal was to “get some blood in the back” in preparation for the ensuing exercises. Grimes also highlighted the use of short rest periods of about 90 seconds, which provides sufficient time for one training partner to complete a set while the other recovers.

During the initial phase of the workout, he also addressed his ongoing rivalry with de Asha, who finished ahead of Grimes at the 2023 Flex Weekend Pro Men’s Open Show on Sept. 10, 2023.

“He beat me fair and square in Italy. I came back and beat him in Spain, and that’s all there is too it,” Grimes said. “I’ve competed against Nathan three times. I beat him twice, he beat me once. I’ll see you again in six-and-a-half weeks.”

Assisted Pull-Up

Next, Grimes and his training partner made their way over to the assisted pull-up machine. Utilizing wrist straps for support, he grabbed the pull-up bar at its widest point to provide maximum stimulation for his lats.

He worked to the point of failure, finishing with partial reps on his final set.

Chest-Supported Row

Grimes made his over to the free weights for several sets of a chest-supported row (t-bar row). He began with two 45-pound (20-kilogram) plates, keeping his head in a neutral position as he squeezed his lats, rear delts, and traps at the top of the movement. Grimes added another 45-pound plate for his last set.

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Single-Arm Lat Pulldown

The 2023 Mr. Olympia contestant took his workout in a slightly different direction by training his arms independently on a iso-lateral lat pulldown machine. Grimes didn’t show much footage of this exercise, but he did show some humility by admitting he was too heavy at his last show and that shaving “another five to six pounds off” would help squash any controversy about where he stands.

“I feel like I got enough size,” Grimes explained. “The body is way more impressive when it’s in a crazy condition. You look bigger, actually, with less weight.”

Single-Arm Super Low Row

The penultimate back exercise of Grimes’ workout was another isolation movement: the super low row. Working with a pair of 45-pound plates per side, he took a staggered stance, keeping his chest against the pad as he pulled his elbow back and contracted his lower lat muscles. Not only did Grimes deliver clean reps, but he also he delivered useful insight into his nutrition protocol.

For intra-workout fuel, the Canadian native drank a mix of 20 grams of amino acids with 15 grams of carbohydrates from Yamamoto Nutrition GlycoBol. Grimes, who entered the workout having eaten two no-carb meals and one meal with carbs, said his post-workout protein shake also includes 10 grams of glutamine (which helps recovery) and 10 grams of creatine, which has been shown to help promote muscle growth and volume.

Back Extension

Grimes finished with weighted back extensions to target his erector spinae muscles. Holding a 45-pound plate, he extended his body forward as far as possible before arching backwards at the top of each rep. Grimes also performed a variation that included an abdominal crunch at the bottom of the movement for the ultimate test of core strength and endurance.

Close-Grip Biceps Pulldown

A four-part biceps workout began with close-grip biceps pulldowns. While many lifters typically try to keep their arms out of this movement to focus on maximum lat engagement, Grimes encouraged the exact opposite.

He kept the range of motion much smaller, pulling down to just above a 90-degree angle to keep full tension on the biceps from the insertion point to the elbow.

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Preacher Curl Machine

Grimes moved on to the preacher curl machine for several sets of this classic bodybuilding exercise. After putting both of his biceps through some pain, he performed isolated reps with each arm as a finisher.

Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curl

With the session nearly complete, Grimes hammered his biceps again with another curl variation. Working with 30-pound dumbbells, he held his arm at a 45-degree angle away from his body and methodically curled and contracted his biceps to achieve a huge pump.

Cable Curl

Finally, Grimes ended his workout where it started. This time, he swapped out the rope for a handle to perform single-arm cable curls. Employing a pronated (palms-down) grip allowed Grimes to get a great stimulus for both his biceps and his brachialis.

Complete Back and Biceps Workout for Muscle Growth

While Grimes didn’t provide a specific number of sets or reps, there’s no doubt his workout will get the job done. Here’s a full rundown of the exercises performed:

  • Cable Rope Pullover
  • Assisted Pull-Up Machine
  • ChestSupported T-Bar Row
  • Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
  • Single-Arm Super Low Row
  • Back Extension
  • Close-Grip Biceps Pulldown
  • Preacher Curl Machine
  • Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curl
  • Cable Curl

Just weeks removed from securing a spot in the 2023 Mr. Olympia lineup, Grimes has momentum on his side. Noticeably bulkier than in years past, he must be diligent with his diet and conditioning during contest prep. If he stays on course, though, Grimes certainly looks capable of making everyone forget about those 15th-place finishes in 2020 and 2021.

Featured Image: Regan Grimes / YouTube



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