Big Ramy's Back Workout: Unleash Serious Growth!

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Big Ramy, the IFBB pro league bodybuilder, has sculpted his awe-inspiring muscular physique through years of dedication to hypertrophy training and optimal nutrition.

I thoroughly researched Big Ramy's back workout training, diet, and supplement principles, leveraging my extensive experience and expertise in exercise physiology.

Applying the same principles to my' fitness plans has produced significant improvements in my performance.

Big Ramy Stats

Big Ramy flexing his back muscles

Mamdouh Mohammed Hassan Elssbiay, popularly known as "Big Ramy," has gained recognition for his remarkable size in the bodybuilding world, with his massive rear lat spread striking a chord with bodybuilding fans and contributing to his success.

Originally from Egypt, he first entered the world of bodybuilding in 2009, when he was working as a fisherman in Kuwait City.

  • Date of birth: September 16, 1984 (39 years)
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 240 lb
  • Waist: 36 in
  • Chest: 54 in

Big Ramy’s Back Workout Routine

Big Ramy does his back workout routine

Big Ramy’s training approach consists of heavy-weight training and high-intensity resistance exercises. He focuses on back and shoulder workouts.

Given the intensity of Big Ramy's back workouts, incorporating injury prevention techniques, such as targeted warm-up routines, and post-workout recovery methods like stretching or foam rolling, is essential for maintaining back muscle health and ensuring consistent training progress.

Machine Row

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15

Mamdouh Elssbiay performs machine rows using a machine that simulates a rowing motion with resistance provided by weights or hydraulic cylinders. 

He grips the handles with an overhand or underhand grip and sits with his back straight and his legs slightly bent.

He then pulls the handles towards his torso, slightly angled, as he engages his back muscles.

In my training, machine rows have been crucial for developing back strength, vital for grappling techniques.

Read more: Machine High Row Alternatives

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6

Elssbiay maximizes his balance by placing one arm on a knee pad on the pulldown machine. He ensures a strong bicep grip by wrapping a strap around the dumbbell handle.

He starts a one-arm dumbbell row with the weight hanging straight. He lifts the dumbbell towards his flank while rotating the shoulder blade inward and exhaling.

He then lowers the weight and continues the workout for the other arm after shoulder shifting.


Seated Cable Row

A person at the gym doing seated cable rows
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15 reps

In Big Ramy's seated cable row routine, he starts by securely attaching the close-grip V-bar and positioning himself upright with knees bent.

He then executes the exercise by pulling the handle towards his chest, focusing on elbow flexion and keeping the handle close.

Throughout the movement, he emphasizes scapular retraction, controlled breathing, and engages his lats and middle back before returning to the start position.

Seated cable rows have been a game-changer for me, enhancing my core stability for better fight posture.

V-Handle Pulldowns

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15

During the V-handle pulldown, Elssbiay strategically adjusts his grip for optimal muscle engagement: palms closer during the stretch and wider during contractions.

He slightly leans back in each rep, enhancing the movement's range.

Opting for D-handles instead of traditional V-handles, he achieves longer stretches and more intense contractions, enhancing the exercise's effectiveness.

Hammer-Strength Pulldowns

A person doing Hammer-Strength Pulldowns at the gym
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15

In his Hammer Strength machine routine, Ramy focuses on an upright posture and full movement range for effective muscle stretch and contraction.

He concentrates on pulling his elbows back extensively to target the inner back muscles. In his final set, his trainer assists with several forced reps for maximum muscle engagement.

The Hammer Strength machine has been a staple in my routine for building explosive back strength, necessary for takedowns.

Rear Lat Pulldowns

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15

For rear lat pulldowns, Elssbiay starts by gripping the bar outside the angled edges.

Seated with legs secured and a weight belt for lower back support, he engages his core, leans forward, and pulls the bar towards his neck.

This movement, focusing on elbow flexion and muscle engagement, is reversed carefully without letting the weights touch the ground.

Stiff Arm Pulldowns

A person at the gym doing stiff arm pulldowns
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6–15

For this exercise, Mamdouh Elssbiay keeps his torso slightly angled forward with his upper body at a 9 o'clock angle.

He pulls the bar down in an arc from his blue Nike cap to his quads, using his arms as levers.

Then he holds each contraction for a second, squeezing his lats while focusing on strict form.

Stiff arm pulldowns have been integral in my training for enhancing lat strength, giving me an edge in grappling.

“It’s a good way to both stretch out and contract the lats at the end of a back workout. The weight isn’t so important. What’s important is strict form and really focusing on your lats.”

- Big Ramy

Workout Principles

Big Ramy holding up a barbell at the gym

Some personal workout principles Elssbiay follows include: 

  • High sets and reps: Big Ramy sticks to a high-rep approach to bodybuilding, focusing on muscle hypertrophy. He performs sets with 8 or more reps, with an average rep range of 12 reps.
  • Progressive training: This is Big Ramy’s valuable training tip and involves varying rep ranges from 15 to 6 over a five-week cycle, with decreasing reps each week. As reps decrease, weights increase.
  • Customized approach: He works with his trainer, Ahmad Alaqi, to tailor his training program to his individual needs, goals, and progress, with adjustments made as needed to optimize results.

Related: Big Ramy's Leg Workout: Complete Guide

Big Ramy’s Diet Principles

A wide view of nutritious food on plates

To complement Big Ramy's rigorous back workout, a tailored nutritional strategy focusing on protein-rich foods and meal timing in relation to training sessions can significantly augment back muscle growth, underscoring the synergy between diet and workout effectiveness.

Mamdouh Elssbiay consumes 4000 calories every day, broken down into 6–8 different meals that include a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.

Highly Nutritious Food

Elssbiay consumes a nutrient-dense diet consisting of high-quality, highly nutritious foods, which amounts to double the calories of an average person's intake.

His nutrition plan is designed to provide him with 4,000 calories, carefully balanced with healthy and fresh macros.

Mirroring Big Ramy's diet, my own nutrition as an MMA fighter emphasizes protein-rich meals aligned with my training schedule, crucial for muscle recovery and growth.

Protein-Packed Diet

Top view of a protein packed meal

Elssbiay consumes a significant amount of protein daily, with a minimum of 500 grams.

On rest days, he takes around 400 grams, while on training days, he increases it to as much as 600 grams.

According to him, maintaining muscle mass requires at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, based on the research published in Nutrients [1].

Big Ramy's preferred protein sources include eggs, chicken breast, turkey, and his favorite whey protein.

Plenty of Water

In addition to his 4000-calorie daily intake, Big Ramy prioritizes proper hydration.

He believes that staying well-hydrated helps maintain energy levels during intense workouts, prevents muscle loss, and combats fatigue and exhaustion post-training, according to the Journal of Human Kinetics [2].

Like Big Ramy, I've learned in my MMA career that hydration is key.

Drinking enough water maintains my energy, aids muscle recovery, and keeps fatigue at bay after intense training sessions.

His Meal Plan

Close up shot of protein rich food

Mamdouh Elssbiay follows a strict meal plan consisting of multiple smaller portions.

They include: 

  • Breakfast: 12 egg whites, 3 whole eggs, and sweet potato
  • Morning snack:  protein shake
  • Lunch: chicken breast and brown rice
  • Mid-day snack: 4 whole eggs and sweet potato
  • Afternoon snack: 8 oz chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice, and 1 cup sliced pineapple
  • Dinner: Salmon and half a cup of white rice
  • Post-dinner snack: Steak salad
  • Midnight snack: Protein shake with peanut butter

What Supplements Does He Take?

Close up shot of a person taking supplements

He takes protein powder, multivitamins, fish oil, creatine, and essential amino acids.

Similarly to Big Ramy, my MMA regimen includes protein powder, multivitamins, fish oil, creatine, and amino acids, keeping me at peak performance.

These five elements complete his routine, ensuring there are no deficiencies and maintaining his health and performance at a high level.

He is also a strong advocate of pre-workouts, even creating his own pre-workout product named Ramy's Rage.

Related posts:


How Much Does Big Ramy Workout?

Big Ramy works out five days a week. He dedicates one day per week to training his upper back. His workout contains 5–6 exercises, mainly pulldowns and rows, with a rep range of 10–15 per set.

Is Big Ramy a Natural Bodybuilder?

No, Big Ramy is not a natural bodybuilder. He admits to using performance-enhancing drugs during the time he was bulking up. However, his genetics, intense workout schedules, and strict diet played a huge role in building his enormous body.

How To Get a Body Like Big Ramy?

To get a body like Big Ramy, follow a high-volume, intense training routine that focuses on hypertrophy. Consume whole, nutrient-rich meals with enough protein to support muscle growth.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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