Back and Bicep Workout: 3 Mass-Building Exercises
Training your back like a pro is a worthy, if sometimes complicated, pursuit. It’s hard enough that you really can’t see the muscles while you train them. And not to make matters worse, but the biceps tend to get in on the action to induce flexion of the elbow on pulls.
So, what’s one to do when wanting to get in a good back and bicep pump at the gym?
Well, seeing as there’s no hard and fast rule stating that back and biceps must be trained together, you could simply bite the bullet and train the two groups on separate days.
Going this route will keep both muscle groups in their lane, so there’s no need to worry that your biceps will take over during back moves or vice versa.
Your back and biceps love working together. But this aside, there is actually quite a bit of logic to combining these two muscle groups that allow you to pull real hard and ultimately maximize your time in the gym.
Interested in learning more? BioHealth has your back (and biceps)! In this post, we’re exploring the upper body to uncover the best mass-building exercises to sculpt a beautiful back and strong bice.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Anatomy 101: Back And Bicep
While we won’t bore you with an entire lesson on the anatomy of your upper body, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of how the back and bicep muscles are formed.
In addition, if you know what the muscles look like, you’ll also have a much better mind-muscle connection which can lead to optimal muscle contraction and, therefore, sweeter muscle gains.
Let’s Start With The Back
Believe it or not, the back is one of the most important parts of human anatomy.
The back muscles lend power to the body that plays a major role in all key functions. They connect the hips, buttocks, chest, shoulders, and neck — in other words, it's an essential conjunction between major body muscles of human body parts.
That being said, it really goes without saying that strengthening our back is of the utmost importance!
When training the back and biceps, the major back muscles involved include:
- Latissimus dorsi (aka, the ‘lats’). Also called the ‘wings,’ your lats are the big sheets of muscle that extend down the sides of your back and are responsible for letting you pull your arms downward and backward.
- Teres major. Nicknamed the “little lat,” a small muscle that lives below the shoulder and assists the lats in withdrawing your arms down and back.
- Rhomboid. Located in the mid-upper back, this muscle is activated as you bring and squeeze your scapula or shoulder blades back and together.
- Trapezius (aka, the ‘traps’). Your traps run from your neck down to your mid-back and are essential for moving and stabilizing the scapula.
And The Bicep?
Despite what many people may think, biceps matter — and not just for aesthetics! You see, building bicep strength helps you to perform everyday tasks, such as lifting and carrying.
So with this in mind, it makes perfect sense that the stronger your biceps are, the easier these tasks will become. And since we’re all about working smarter — not harder — building bicep strength is a must.
Your bicep muscle is made up of two parts:
- Biceps brachii. Your main biceps muscle, the biceps brachii, flexes the elbow joint and twists (supinates) the wrist outward.
- Brachialis. A long, flat muscle that gives the biceps more shape and height, the brachialis flexes the elbow and lies between your biceps and triceps on the outer side of your arm.
Why Is It Best To Train The Back And Biceps Together?
A solid back and biceps workout has many advantages aside from the obvious benefit of a stronger back and bigger biceps.
You see, your back and biceps are two major muscle groups used for ‘pulling movements.’
When training them together, you can indirectly get more workload on the biceps without targeting them directly. However, it’s important to remember that the extra workload will cause you to have less strength to target the bicep muscles later since they’ve been pre-fatigued by the pulling from back movements.
Due to this, isolating your biceps on their own training day might not be as effective if your fitness goal is to boost muscle size and, ultimately, get stronger — especially in your back.
Because when you do a back exercise, your biceps typically assist in the movement. You are, of course, not targeting your biceps directly, but you get the point.
For instance, when doing rows or pullups, your biceps are secondary movers, meaning if you train them separately, you may risk overtraining them by not allowing enough rest before the next back movement.
The Best Back And Biceps Workout For Serious Gains
Before you start the workout below, be sure to get in a good warm-up. We also suggest fueling your body with our Precision ISO Protein to maximize gains. Made with premium pasture-fed whey protein, this GMO-free formula helps build lean muscle and strength while enhancing muscle recovery. What’s not to love?
Once you’re warmed up and have had your protein shake, you’re ready to begin the workout:
Exercise 1: Lat Pulldown
The lat pulldown is an awesome exercise that works many different muscles in the upper body, with a major focus on the lats and a small part of the rhomboids.
Simply take a seat on the bench and pull the bar down, keeping your grip a little further than shoulder-width apart. Lean back slightly and slowly pull the bar down to your chest.
Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the movement before taking the bar back up under control.
This completes one rep.
Exercise 2: Bent Over Dumbbell Row
Another great exercise, the bent-over dumbbell row, can help improve posture, stabilize the core, and of course, increase upper body strength.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hinge forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor.
With both arms hanging directly from your shoulders, pull the weights toward your rib cage, really squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a second before lowering the weights back down.
That’s one rep.
Exercise 3: Pull Ups
Arguably the best mass-building exercise on the planet, pullups works multiple muscle groups, including the back, biceps, shoulders, and core.
Grab the pullup bar with your palms down and hands shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up by pulling your elbows down to the floor. Try to go all the way up until your chin is above the bar. Hold for a moment before slowly lowering yourself back down.
This completes one rep.
Pro Tip: If you can’t do a single pullup just yet, try chin-ups! As soon as you’ve mastered the chin-up, move to pullups.
A Final Word
And there you have it — three great back-and-bi exercises to build strength and mass!
To maximize your gains, we suggest pairing your workout with a top-notch protein powder, like our Precision ISO Protein. In each scoop, you’ll find 27+ grams of protein, zero grams of sugar, and absolutely no fillers.
Perfect for keto-dieters and low carb warriors, this GMO-free formula has a powerful amino acid profile to nourish your muscles and help your body transform like no other protein on the market. And the best part? It tastes phenomenal.
Here at BioHealth, we’re setting the industry standard on just how good your nutrition can be, and we’re confident that you’ll feel the difference. Whether you’re on the hunt for a great protein supplement to build muscle mass or need a nutritious meal replacement to keep you on track with your fitness goals through the holidays, you can always count on us to have your back!
Back Muscles: Anatomy and Function of Upper, Middle & Lower Back | Cleveland Clinic
The mind-muscle connection: for aesthetes, not athletes? | Frontiersin