A Workout to Blast Your Back and Biceps

Back and BicepsA Routine to Get Some Serious Gains

I have said it a bunch of times, but I firmly believe in two back workouts per week. I have what I call a “light” day and a “heavy” day. These terms get to be misleading, but what I mean by them is that the “heavy” day concentrates on deadlifts and barbell rows while the “light” day concentrates more on pulldowns and cable rows. For both sessions, I actually go very heavy though.

As with all routines, I have a decent warm up to loosen things up whether it is a few minutes on an elliptical machine followed by a good stretching session or simply warming up with lighter weights. The fact of the matter is that I am in my 40s and have recognized that I am no longer 20.

For this monster back/bicep workout, which is considered the “light” back day, I begin by warming up with wide grip lat pulldowns, which stretch everything out back there. I normally perform 1-2 sets for 15 reps, but not to failure. The final warmup set goes 15 reps to failure.

Now that I am ready to get to action, I go into pull-ups because these are tougher for me because of shoulder issues. I like to do them when I am at my freshest. I do a set or two to warm up before doing them weighted. I then perform 4 sets to failure for about 8-10 reps.

Time to head back to the lat pulldown station and knock out a few more sets of lat pulldowns, so I perform 4 sets at 8-10 reps. The trick to lat pulldowns is to finish the final set with partials to ensure that you are indeed going to failure and beyond.

reverse-grip lat pulldown

We then move to the seated cable row and back to the lat pulldown machine for reverse-grip lat pulldowns. We finalize the back with straight-arm pulldowns with either a straight bar or the rope attachment. If you have never tried to rope attachment, that might be your better option. It feels nice.

Now that our back is feeling rather tender, let’s work on those guns.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, biceps are not easy to train. Some foolish folks believe this to be the case, but biceps are bastards. They need the love and attention that we give children in order to grow. It never hurts to praise their growth as well.

Almost every bicep workout for me begins with bicep curls simply because they are the granddaddy of bicep exercises. For this workout, we are going to perform barbell bicep curl at low reps and heavy weight. After we squeeze out 4-5 reps, perform a few more cheat curls to get the added benefit of the heavy weight.

Now that we have a serious pump, it is time to make those biceps melt with 3 sets of 21s. This is an exercise that a lot of people use as their opening bicep workout. I like to do them after going seriously heavy.

Time to move on to the dumbbells and do some hammer curls. I like to alternate hammer curls, but in a different method that a standard alternating method. I like to pick a weight where I can max out at 8 reps, but I will perform 5 reps on the right, 5 on the left, then 5 more on the right and 5 more on the left. That is an entire set. With this method, you get to go a little heavier on the weight.

I close the routine out with 3 reps of dumbbell concentration curls with no rest. I will do one arm at a time and alternate arms with no rest. By the end of this exercise, your arms will be hanging at your sides with no ability to move.

Back Program

Pull-ups
4 sets x 8-10 reps

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
4 sets x 8-10 reps

Seated Cable Row
4 sets x 8-10 reps

Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
4 sets x 8-10 reps

Straight-Arm Pulldown
3 sets x 12-15 reps

Bicep Program

Barbell Bicep Curl
4 sets x 5-6 reps

Barbell Bicep Curl 21s
3 sets x 21 reps

Dumbbell Hammer Curl
4 sets x 10 reps

Dumbbell Concentration Curl
3 sets x 8-10 reps

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