Back and Biceps Workout for Strength and Muscle

This intermediate/advanced back and biceps workout focuses on building strength and lean muscle tissue in the lats, lower back, rhomboids, both heads of the biceps and the forearms.

The workout includes supersets, which means you'll do two exercises for the same muscle group, rest and repeat 1 or more times, using enough weight that you can only complete 10-12 reps.  This workout will take about 45 minutes depending on your rest periods and how many supersets you choose to complete. 


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed

Various weighted dumbbells, a barbell, a chair or ball, and a resistance band.

How To do the Back and Biceps Workout

  • Begin with a 5-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • Perform the exercises in each superset, rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat
  • For a more challenging workout, repeat each superset for a total of 3 times
  • For a lighter workout, complete each superset 1 time
  • Choose a weight that allows you to finish each set with good form.  The last rep should be very difficult, but not impossible.

Warm Up: Back Extensions

Back Extensions

Lie face down with hands either behind the back or lightly cradling the head. Lift upper body off the ground a few inches, keeping head and neck in alignment. For a challenge, then lift feet off the ground keeping legs straight (knees don't have to be together), hold for 2counts, lower and repeat for 20 reps.        

Warm Up: One-Armed Row - Light

One-Armed Row (Light)

Place left foot on a step and hold a medium weight in the right hand. Squeeze the back to pull the elbow up in a rowing motion until it is level with the torso. Lower and repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.

Superset 1: One-Armed Row - Heavy

One-Armed Row (Heavy)

Place left foot on a step and hold a heavy weight in the right hand. Squeeze the back to pull the elbow up in a rowing motion until it is level with the torso. Lower and repeat for 10, then switch sides.

Barbell High Row

Barbell High Row

Hold a medium-heavy barbell with hands shoulder-width apart. Tip from the hips (back flat and abs engaged) until the back is parallel to the floor.  Squeeze the shoulder blades together as you pull the weight toward the chest.  Lower and repeat for 12 reps. Keep the abs tight and bend the knees as needed to support the lower back.

Repeat Superset 1

Superset 2: Barbell Row

Barbell Row

Hold a heavy barbell in front of the thighs, hands shoulder-width apart and bend forward to about 45 degrees, abs in and back flat.  Squeeze the back to pull the barbell up towards the belly button, focusing on the lats (the muscles on either side of the back).  Lower and repeat for 12 reps.​

Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover

Lie on a bench or ball (as shown), holding a heavy dumbbell in both hands overhead.  Lower the weight behind your head, arms slightly bent, until you're level with the bench.  Squeeze your back to pull the weight back up and repeat for 12 reps.​

Repeat Superset 2

Superset 3: Horizontal Rows

Horizontal Rows

Prop the left foot on a step and hold medium-heavy dumbbell in the right hand, arm hanging down and the palm facing the back of the room. Engage the shoulder blades (rhomboids) to pull the arm up to shoulder level, perpendicular to the body (as though you're bringing the weight toward your armpit). At the top of the movement, the elbow should face the side of the room. Lower and repeat for 12 reps.

T-Pulls and Y-Pulls with Resistance Bands

T-Pulls and Y-Pulls With Resistance Bands

Sit on the floor and loop the band around both feet, holding each end of the band with an underhand grip.  Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, Squeeze the shoulder blades to open the arms out to the side in a t-shape. Return to start and, this time, take the arms up and out into a y-shape.  Keep the shoulders down and the back straight throughout the movement.  Continue alternating a t-pull with a y-pull for 12 reps (1 rep includes both a t-pull and a y-pull). 

Repeat Superset 3

Superset 4: Barbell Curls

Barbell Curls

Hold a heavy barbell with hands shoulder-width apart.  Contract the biceps to curl the weight towards the shoulder, keeping the wrists straight.  Lower and repeat for 10 reps.​

Incline Curls

Incline Curls

Sit on the ball with heavy weights resting on the upper thighs. Walk the feet forward, rolling down on the ball until you're at an incline position. Hold the weights with palms out and contract the biceps to curl the weights toward the shoulders. Lower and repeat for 12 reps.

Repeat Superset 4

Superset 5: Hammer Curls

Hammer Curls

Stand with feet about hip-width apart, holding heavy dumbbells with the palms facing in. Squeeze the biceps to curl the weights toward the shoulders.  Slowly lower the weights and repeat for 12 reps.

One-Arm Preacher Curl

One-Arm Preacher Curl

Kneel on the floor with your body supported on the ball and place a heavy weight on the floor in front of you.  Prop the right arm on the ball, pick up the weight and contract the biceps to curl the weight toward the shoulder.  Lower and repeat for 10 reps before switching sides.

Repeat Superset 5

Superset 6: Biceps Reverse Curls

Biceps Reverse Curls

Hold medium-heavy weights with the palms facing the thighs.  Curl the weights up towards the shoulders and lower back down.  Because your palms face in, your hands will naturally widen at the top of the movement.  Repeat for 12 reps. 

Seated Barbell Concentration Curls

Seated Barbell Concentration Curls

Sit in a chair or on a bench and hold a medium barbell with hands about shoulder-width apart.  Bend over, keeping the back flat and the abs engaged, propping the elbows on the inside of the thighs.  Beginning the move with the arms straight, curl the barbell up as high as you can (the range of motion will be small due to your position) and lower down, repeating for 10 reps.  Keep the core strong throughout the movement.