How To: Cobra Back Club

How To: Cobra Back Club

One of the most closely guarded of the Atomic Athlete community is how to join the Cobra Back Club.

It’s guarded for two reasons:

  1. It’s not easy to get into
  2. It requires you to learn – and apply – two seemingly simple exercises that will destroy you

If you feel like you’re up for the challenge, and want to develop a bigger, thicker back…

Read on to learn the two exercises you’ll need to do to prepare yourself, and then discover how to earn your membership.

The Two Exercises That Will Pay Your Admission To The Cobra Back Club

Joining the Cobra Back Club requires you to perform 20 pull-ups… with a twist.  

This twist will ensure that you develop your upper body.

At Atomic Athlete, this development happens through a two pronged approach:

Prong One: The Big Upper Body Lifts

The first prong is developing upper body strength. This is best done through the big lifts and heavy loads with few reps.

You know the ones: bench, military press, overhead press (even jerk and OH Squats to an extent), and pull-ups.

These exercises contain key components:

  • multi-joint movements
  • core demand
  • shoulder and chest dominant

Prong Two: Hypertrophy Complexes

The second prong is hypertrophy – making muscles thicker.

We like use “complexes” to train hypertrophy. Complexes allow us to train muscles both in isolation and as a system.

What’s a complex? It’s just individual movements put into an order to be done one after the other. Completing all the movements in one complex equals one set of the complex.

And two of our favorites complexes are the Gorilla Complex (to really see this in action, check out our Arm Hypertrophy program) and the Cobra Complex (formerly the Pull Complex).

The Gorilla Complex

  • 6x Bicep Curls
  • 6x Strict High Pulls
  • 6x Military Press
  • 3x OH Tricep Extensions (always have the number of reps of the other exercises)
  • 6x Push-ups

The Cobra Complex

  • 3x Chin-ups/Horizontal Pull-up
  • 3x Pull-ups/Horizontal Chin-ups
  • 3x Toes to Bar/6x Toes to Sky (double the reps)

If you struggle with performing the full rep scheme for either movement, lower it. If you find it easy, increase it.

Now these two complexes are great individually…

But they’re even better together.

Bringing It All Together In The Pain Cave

If you want to step up and try a real challenge, you can blend these two complexes together.

Por ejemplo, you could do:

5 Rounds

  • 3x Cobra Complex/Female Cobra Complex
  • 6x Gorilla Complex – increase loading until difficult but doable
  • Rest 90 sec.

Give it a shot if you think you can hack it.

(Tip: there are plenty of ways to combine them. But my favorite way is to follow Maximum Overdrive  – a full hybrid training program – and partner it with Arm Hypertrophy, a supplemental program. Find out how you can get them both at a discount with our Priority Pack here.)

Now You’re Ready To Join The Cobra Back Club: Here’s How To Do It

You’ve followed the complexes…

You’re building a bigger, thicker back…

And now you’re ready to join the Cobra Back Club.

Here’s how it works: do your 20x pull-ups

20x is no joke to start with… But here’s the twist I mentioned earlier.

To join the Cobra Back Club, your 20 pull-ups must:

  • Be performed straight, with no resting between reps.
  • Be completed to full extension at the bottom of the pull-up
  • Have your whole jaw clear the bar at the top (so if you chicken neck, the back of your jaw still must clear)
  • Both hands must grip the bar the entire time and feet must not make contact with anything once they are elevated.
  • NO KIPPING (but you knew that already)

Good luck. Send me a video if you think you made it…

-Jordan Smothermon

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