In this post I’m going to share my top exercises for working your back and biceps...
Personally I find its best to plan your workouts to focus on separate muscle groups in each session. If you’re training the same muscles every day then your body won’t have a chance to recover, slowing progress and leaving you more prone to injury. Also, I find I can’t do justice to more than two body parts per workout. I tend to do some ab work pretty much every session as well.
Below are four exercise ideas and a video showing a few of them in action.
The number of reps and the size of the weights will vary depending on your starting point and your goals. As a rough guide, I aim to do three or four reps of 12 for each exercise. If you find it too easy on the last few reps of a set, it’s time to up the weight. You should need to dig in each time to finish.
- EZ bar bicep curls: I find that using an EZ bar puts less strain on your wrists and elbows compared to a straight bar. This means less chance of injury. Stand up straight, keep your elbows close to your torso and while keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the weights up, contracting the biceps
- Concentration curls: Grasp dumbells with your palms facing your inner thigh. Breathe out and bring the weights up rotating your hands so your thumbs turn outwards as your hands rise. Keep your elbows tightly at your side and avoid moving your shoulder, it should all be from your upper arm. Return the same way keeping movement slow and controlled. Simple but effective
- Hammer curls: Stand straight, knees slightly bent, holding two dumbbells at your side - palms facing inwards. Breathe out and flex your arms at the elbow bringing the weights upwards. At the top of the movement the weight should be by your shoulders, palms still facing in. Return along the same path by extending your arms at the elbows
- Underhand pull up: Grab a pull up bar with an underhand grip - hands shoulder width apart, palms facing towards you. If your feet touch the floor as you hang, bend your knees. Pull your body up slowly, until your chin reaches the bar then slowly and with control lower yourself. Repeat until you fail. Aim to add a pull up each session
- Reverse fly: Great for your back and your shoulders, and can be performed when sitting, standing or even lying face-down on a bench. When lying face down and with your elbows slightly bent, slowly lift the weights to where the hands reach shoulder level. You should feel a pinch in the upper back when you reach shoulder position
- Upright row: A seriously efficient exercise that targets your deltoids and upper back muscles. The proper technique should involve a shoulder width stance and a straight back. Keep your head up, grasp the centre of the barbell with an overhand grip and raise it to your chin slowly. When your upper arms are parallel with the floor, slowly lower the bar
- One arm dumbbell row: Place one knee and one hand on a bench, spine horizontal and parallel to the bench, knee directly below the hip, hand directly below shoulder. Place opposite foot on ground and grasp dumbbell with your free hand. Breathe out and drive your elbow directly up drawing back your shoulder blade, until the dumbbell is level with your body. Slowly return to start
- Lat pull down: Sit facing the weight stack on the lat machine with your knees under the thigh pads, feet flat on the floor. Reach up and hold the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart in an overhand grip – palms facing away from you. Lean slightly back, squeeze your shoulder blades back and pull the bar in front of your head almost to your collar bone. Slowly raise the bar back to starting point and repeat
Let me know what you think and feel free to share any other good back or bicep exercise ideas that work well for you! My next blog post will focus on chest and shoulders.
Take it easy,