Updated: August 19, 2020
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Today’s information will be about the exercises that I perform to target my back and my biceps. I work these two body parts twice during an eight-day cycle.
These two muscle groups complement each other quite nicely. Since most back exercises are “pull’ exercises (you are pulling the weight toward your body), the biceps muscle is engaged (shortened) to hold the weight in the pulled position and it extends when you lower the weight back toward the body.
Let’s get started!
There are many exercises you could perform to work your back muscles. I find that using compound exercises (those exercise that use more than one muscle group) work the best. The exercises I use are:
Overhand Grip Pull-up – this is a great exercise to perform to widen your lats and increase the size of your biceps at the same time. Unfortunately, most of us cannot do more than one or two of these exercises at any given time. Don’t feel bad. Use a band or a bench to assist getting to the top of the exercise, and then lower yourself slowly. Work your way up to three sets of 12 reps over time. Note: It may take a long time! Don’t be discourage! Keep at it!
Bent Over Barbell Row – this is another great exercise for the lats. Be sure to choose a weight that you can comfortably pull toward your torso, in a movement that pulls the weight to your hips.
Straight Bar Pull Down – the key to success in this exercise is choosing a weight that allows perfect form and no cheating. Your arms should stay as straight as possible and you should not have to arch your back or use any momentum to assist in the motion. Focus on the mind-muscle connection.
Standing One Arm Dumbbell Row – performing this exercise will allow you to isolate the back muscles on each side, compensating for any weaknesses in one side or the other. Lean forward, resting your hand on the rack or a chair, and pull the weight up and back toward your hip.
Dumbbell Supported Rows – a great finisher to your back routine, as the muscles are forced into isolation by supporting your torso on the bench. Feel the burn!
When you are finished the back exercises, your biceps will already be starting to get sore, because they are engaged when performing the back exercises. That is a good result as it will take fewer exercises and repetitions to get the most benefit from your workout. The biceps exercises I use are:
EZ Curls – called EZ curls due to the use of an EZ Curl bar. I alternate between three sets of 12 with a weight that I can almost not finish the 12th rep one day and 21s the next day. 21s are 7 reps bottom half of the curl (start with arms relaxed and hanging and stop when arms are parallel to the floor), 7 reps top half of curl (start with arms parallel to the floor and end at the top, keeping pressure on the biceps), and then finish with 7 full curls. Do three sets of these.
Dumbbell Curls – These are performed standing and you can alternate the arms or do them together. I prefer together, so I can focus on form and speed. Slow and steady. It should take about three minutes to perform a set of 12 reps.
Hammer Curls – These are similar to regular curls, except you start with your palms facing in toward your body. Curl the weight up, keeping your hands in this position.
Concentration Curls or Preacher Curls – use this exercise with caution, especially if you have elbow issues, as they tend to put a lot of pressure on your elbows. This is a great exercise to isolate the biceps, but use a moderate weight for safety sake. They can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell, an EZ Curl bar, or with a machine. Also, they can be performed seated or standing. If you don’t have a preacher curl bench, then do the concentration curl with your elbow locked to the inside of your knee.
Barbell Curls – using a barbell instead of an EZ Curl bar will work your biceps in a different manner, using different fibers for each exercise. It is good to incorporate both into your workouts.
Brachialis Curl – I like to end my biceps workout with some cross-body hammer curls to really work the brachialis. Trust me when I say you will need to use a lighter weight, as your biceps will be on fire by now! Try to do three sets of 15 reps for this exercise.
Sets and Reps
The research I have read states that after completing three sets of 8 – 12 repetitions of two different exercises, the muscle group you are working is sufficiently “broken down” and any further sets or reps would not return any significant benefit.
Based on that, and the results I have seen since starting to follow this method, I perform three sets of two back exercise, followed by three sets of two biceps exercises.
For example: Day 3 of the 8-day cycle: 3 sets of Bent Over Barbell Row and 3 sets of Standing One Arm Dumbbell Row followed by 3 sets of EZ Curls and 3 sets of Preacher Curls. Note: Preacher Curls will require a support added to your weight bench. If you do not have one, Concentration curls will accomplish the same result.
On Day 7 of the 8-Day Cycle: 3 sets of Supported Dumbbell Rows and 3 sets of Straight Bar Pull Downs (a machine is needed to perform this exercise. If you do not have one, then Bent Over Barbell Rows will accomplish the same result) followed by 3 sets of Dumbbell Curls and 3 sets of Hammer Curls.
I finish each set of exercises with the cross-body hammer curl for the brachialis. Burn, biceps, burn!
Remember, a set involves 8 – 12 reps. The last rep you perform should be almost impossible to complete, so you know the muscle is fatigued.
Also, there are so many variations of these exercises and routines that you should never get bored of working out!
A Wealth of Information
So there you have it. Those are the exercise that I perform to build muscle in my back and biceps. If you perform these exercises in the sets and reps mentioned, I can guarantee that you will be sore the next day. And the next.
But that is the joy of weight lifting. Being sore means the muscle is growing. It shouldn’t be painful, just sore.
Maintaining the habit of exercising 5 or 6 days a week, in combination with the Keto lifestyle, has resulted in me being in the best shape of my life. I am excited to get up and exercise each morning. The results I see are what drive me to continue.
Give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Also, I am not a professional, and you should consult one if you have any health questions or concerns.
If you are interested in a proven program of exercise and eating, here is an article I wrote on The Fit Father Project. Give it a try!
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you in the next post!
Have a great day!