Why Should I Combine a Back and Biceps Workout?

Dan Cavallari

Combining a back and biceps workout makes sense for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that the exercises contained in a back and biceps workout work many of the same muscles — that is, exercises that thicken or build muscle in the back also use the biceps as a secondary muscle group, which means the biceps are also being worked. Combining a back and biceps workout also allows the person working out to combine common exercises into one workout so that they do not need to be separated into different days, meaning an extra rest day is gained.

Combining back and biceps workouts means one day of hard work followed by rest.
Combining back and biceps workouts means one day of hard work followed by rest.

When combining a back and biceps workout, one should start with back exercises. These exercises are meant to thicken the back muscles and make the back wider as well. The exercises included in a typical back workout are wide grip pull-ups — in which the user pulls up on a bar with a wide grip — close grip pull-ups, which are similar to wide grip pull-ups but are executed using a narrower grip; chin-ups, in which the person lifts him or herself until the chin rises above the bar; and inverted pull ups, which are a more advanced exercise. The user must use parallel bars to do this exercise. The user will grasp the parallel bars, work themselves into an upside down position with the legs pointing straight up, and then pull himself up and lower himself back down. It is the opposite of a dip exercise and should be done with a spotter nearby.

Back and biceps workouts use many of the same muscles.
Back and biceps workouts use many of the same muscles.

The back and biceps workout continues with the biceps set, which usually includes a variety of exercises centered on dumbbell curls. Start with simple sitting dumbbell curls, in which the user grasps a dumbbell with the palms of the hand facing outward, and curls the dumbbell upward toward the biceps. This exercise should be repeated for several repetitions on each arm. Next, the user can face the palms inward toward the body and continue the reps. This exercise is known as a hammer curl. The same two exercises can be repeated when standing; standing up will make the repetitions easier as the arms grow fatigued. in the standing position, the hammer curl can be modified into a cross-body hammer curl to work different muscles. Instead of lifting the dumbbell straight up toward the biceps, the weight is lifted and then crossed over the chest.

Most exercises that work the back, also work the biceps, so some weightlifters add lifts such as curls to their back workouts.
Most exercises that work the back, also work the biceps, so some weightlifters add lifts such as curls to their back workouts.

By combining the back and biceps workout, the user can gain an extra day of recovery, which will be necessary after this intense workout. In addition, the user can isolate specific muscle groups that work in conjunction anyway, thereby preventing excessive fatigue on separate workout days.

Dumbbell rows work the muscles of the arms and the back, including the latissimus dorsi.
Dumbbell rows work the muscles of the arms and the back, including the latissimus dorsi.
Combining a back and biceps workout affects many of the same muscles.
Combining a back and biceps workout affects many of the same muscles.

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