Killer back and bi workout

Training your back and biceps together in the same workout is a popular way to work these two muscle groups at the same time for muscle growth and muscle mass.

A strong back is important for everyone, whether you are an athlete or not. Every time you pull something or lift something off the floor, you depend on your back muscles being able to handle the weight.

killer back and biceps workout hammer curl

And your biceps, which most people like to work for aesthetic reasons are also important whenever you pull or carry something. They along with a good triceps workout will give shape to your overall upper arm.

Benefits of training back and biceps together

Training back and biceps in the same workout offers several benefits.

It saves time

When you train your back, you work your biceps simultaneously. It only makes sense to combine the two into one workout.

It allows for maximum recovery

If you split your back and biceps into several workouts, you may not have enough time to recover. If you train your bicep muscles a day or two after your back workout, then your back again a few days later, your biceps will be fatigued.

You can work more biceps

Training back and biceps together means you can work your biceps more without having to add a ton of exercises to your workout.

Back and biceps workout

You should train back first, then your biceps. Your back muscles are bigger and stronger than your biceps.

Doing the opposite and exhausting your biceps would limit the weights you can handle in your rows and pulldowns.

You don’t need any advanced machines for a back and bicep workout. You can mainly use free weights to build your back and biceps from all angles.

Back Workout

The back part of the workout consists of five exercises: four for your latissimus dorsi muscles, rhomboids, and trapezius, and one for your lower back. Several of the exercises are also effective for targeting your rear delts.

  1. Pull-Up or Lat pulldown
  2. Barbell row
  3. Cable seated row
  4. Back extension
  5. Standing cable rear delts

Bicep Workout

For isolating your biceps, it’s curls. Variations of the basic bicep curl exercise hit the short and the long head of the biceps muscles.

  1. Barbell Curl
  2. Hammer Curl
  3. Preacher Curl

The bicep is smaller than the back and requires less work for growth. You also are hitting your biceps with each of the back exercises.

Back and biceps workout: the exercises

Start with your back:

Pull-Ups / Lat Pulldowns

back and biceps workout lat pull down stretched
back and biceps workout lat pull down bottom

The pull-up is one of the best back exercises to build back width. It only requires your body and a pull-up bar. The lat pulldown is a similar movement but without the challenge of pulling your own body weight.

Both exercises mainly work your lats but also your biceps. Pull-ups require plenty of overall body control and stability to hit your target muscles, while the pulldown machine makes it a little bit easier.


  • Grab the bar with a shoulder width or narrow grip
  • With an overhand or pronated grip pull yourself up until your chin reaches over the bar
  • Hold at the top contracting your scapulae and release back to starting position.

Tip: You can use a resistance band to help with your body weight if you can’t pull your own weight yet or do not have an assisted pull-up machine.


  • Sit on the machine and grab the attachment with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lean back slightly, but not too much, and then proceed by pulling the attachment all the way down to the upper part of your chest.
  • Squeeze your lats and back muscles at the bottom of the movement.
  • Once you’re at the bottom of the movement, proceed with straightening your arms so that you are in the starting position again.

It’s important to get a good stretch on your lats. To get a good stretch, you must extend your arms almost entirely at the top of the movement.

Seated Cable Rows

The seated cable row works your upper and middle back muscles. 

  • Lean forward, grab a close-grip handle or a V-bar attachment with both hands, move back a bit, and place your feet on the machine’s platform.
  • Bring your shoulders back, make sure your torso is upright, and maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  • Take a breath and pull through your elbows until the attachment taps your upper stomach lightly.
  • Use a full range of motion and feel the stretch in your back as you release the weight. Keep your torso in a stationary position.
  • Exhale near the end of the repetition.

Barbell rows

back and biceps workout barbell row

Overhand grip, underhand grip, leaning forward to the point of parallel, or almost standing upright: are all viable variations of the barbell row.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab the barbell (overhand or underhand grip) around the same distance.
  • With the barbell in your hands, bend slightly over while keeping your back straight.
  • Lift your chest and lower the bar by fully extending your arms to get a good stretch.
  • Pull the bar back, all the way toward your belly button.

TIP: If you do not have a barbell, you can do dumbbell rows. They are as effective as a barbell. Be careful not to use momentum and swing your body.

Standing cable rear delt rows

The standing cable rear delt row targets the rear deltoids primarily but it also works the rhomboids (upper back) and traps as secondary muscles which are activated during the exercise.

  • Set the cable pulley machine to a high position.
  • Attach a rope to the pulley and grasp it with an overhand grip.
  • Grab the rope attachment with both hands, take a few steps back and extend your arms so that they are parallel to the ground.
  • Pull the rope to your forehead with the elbows flared out to the sides. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  • Slowly straighten your arms by extending them forward. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tip: You can change the angle of the cable row by setting the cable pulley to chest level to hit the middle of your back instead of your upper back and shoulders.

The arms part of the workout:

Barbell Curl

killer back and biceps workout barbell curl

Biceps curls using a barbell allow you to handle more weight than dumbbells to overload your muscles and stimulate growth. You will target both the short head and the long head of the biceps.

  • Grab the barbell with an underhand grip and have your hands positioned slightly wider than your hips.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart and stand straight with your chest up.
  • Keep your upper arms relaxed and curl the barbell up, ending right below your chin.
  • Squeeze and contract the biceps at the top and slowly lower them back to the starting position.

Do not use body momentum to swing the weight up. Control the movement to help with muscle growth.

Hammer Curl

The hammer curl targets the long head of the biceps brachii.

  • Begin this exercise with a pair of dumbbells in each hand, and your arms should be resting by your side.
  • Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells all the way up to your shoulder area.
  • While performing the curl and bringing the dumbbell up, ensure that your upper arms remain stable and shoulders relaxed.
  • Squeeze the biceps at the top of the exercise and slowly lower them back to starting position.

Preacher Curl

killer back and biceps workout preacher curl

You do not need a lot of weight for a preacher curl. Focus on muscle control and be sure to extend your arms at the bottom and squeeze your biceps at the top for full muscle contraction.

  • Grab a barbell and sit on the preacher curl machine.
  • Place your elbow flush on a preacher curl, or incline bench at 55 degrees.
  • Slowly lower your arm under control.
  • Squeeze your biceps as you curl the bar back up.

You don’t need a preacher curl bench. You can perform this with an incline weight bench.

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