If you are looking for the best dumbbell exercises to train your back and bicep at home or the gym, then you are in the right place. Back and bicep exercises, when combined, help to increase muscle mass, strength and endurance.
Although a variety of equipment can be used to train the back and arms, dumbbells are the most effective, versatile, and convenient. With just a set of dumbbells, you can hit all the major muscles of the upper back like the lats, traps, rear deltoid and rhomboids as well as build bigger, stronger biceps.
In this article, you will learn the following:
- Back and Bicep Anatomy
- Why You Should Train Back And Biceps Together
- 10 Best Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout
- Sets And Reps
- How To Plan Back And Biceps Workout
- Back and Bicep Anatomy
- Back Muscle
- Bicep Muscle
- Why You Should Train Back And Biceps Together
- 10 Best Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout for Mass and Strength
- 1. Dumbbell Deadlift
- 2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- 3. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
- 4. Dumbbell Upright Row
- 5. Renegade Row
- 6. Standing Dumbbell Curls
- 7. Dumbbell Reverse Curl
- 8. Concentration Curl
- 9. Hammer Curl
- 10. Zottman Curl
- Sets And Reps For Back and Bicep Muscles
- How To Plan Dumbbell Back And Biceps Workout Routine
- Body Part Routine Split
- Back And Bicep Dumbbell Workout For Beginner
- Single Dumbbell Back And Bicep Workout Plan
- Back and Bicep Superset Workout Plan
- Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout Benefits
- FAQs regarding back and bicep training.
- is back and biceps a good workout?
- How long should a back and bicep workout be?
- Back and bicep Dumbbell workout Dumbbell at home
- How frequently should I train my back and bicep?
- Best Back and Bicep Workout For Mass And Strength
Back and Bicep Anatomy
Understanding the anatomy of your back and biceps is essential for creating an effective workout routine that targets these muscle groups efficiently.
Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the back and biceps:
The back or upper posterior chain (Backside of the body) is composed of many muscles which include.
- Latissimus Dorsi (Lats): The lats are the large muscles that create the V-shape in your upper body. They play a significant role in movements that involve pulling, such as pull-ups and rows.
- Trapezius (Traps): The traps are a triangular-shaped muscle that runs from the base of the skull, along the spine, and extends to the shoulders. They are responsible for shoulder movement and help stabilize the scapulae.
- Rhomboids: These muscles are located between the shoulder blades. It helps to retract the scapulae, which is essential for maintaining a proper posture.
- Erector Spinae: This group of muscles runs along the spine and helps with back extension and maintaining an upright posture.
- Teres Major and Teres Minor: These smaller muscles are situated near the shoulder joint and assist in shoulder movements, particularly during pulling exercises.
The Bicep Muscle consists of the following parts:
- Biceps brachii
The Biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (the Bicep gets its name from the two heads).
Brachialis lies on the outer side of the arm.
The brachioradialis muscle group is firmly attached to the bicep and is also activated when tracking back and biceps.
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Why You Should Train Back And Biceps Together
Training your back and biceps together in the same workout is something very common in today’s bodybuilding training routines. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter, or if you are doing it at home or in a gym.
During a compound back workout, many targeted muscles work together with other Synergistic and stabilizer muscles to function. This meta-analysis found that compound exercises were more effective at building muscle mass than isolation exercises.
Training back and bicep together in the same gym workout is something that bodybuilders have been doing for decades. The reason for training those muscle groups together is very logical.
Like when you are doing a dumbbell row, the back is the main targeted muscles. However, there are many other Synergistic and stabilizer muscles acting in this motion, such as the Biceps brachii, rear deltoid, traps.
10 Best Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout for Mass and Strength
Here are 10 exercises you can do with dumbbells to build back and biceps muscles. These exercises can be used as part of a regular workout or as a standalone circuit.
1. Dumbbell Deadlift
If you’re working out at home and don’t have access to a barbell, the dumbbell deadlift is an effective alternative for working the same muscle groups.
The deadlift is the best exercise for posterior chain muscle strengthening. The dumbbell deadlift is a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles in your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and core and your bicep muscles.
One of the biggest benefits of using dumbbells for deadlifts is that you increase the range of motion you can work with compared to barbell deadlifts.
Primary: Erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings.
Secondary: Trapezius, lats, quadriceps, forearms.
- Place a dumbbell in front of you. Grab the Dumbbells with each of your hands.
- Remember to keep your back as straight as possible and contract your back and hamstrings.
- Lift the dumbbell from the ground with your hamstrings and glutes.
- Raise it up so that you’re standing up straight. Do not hyperextend your body as the weight shifts to the lumbar spine.
- Now, lower the dumbbell slowly and steadily at a slow pace by bending at the hips first and then at the knees.
- Let the weight almost touch the ground before you begin the next rep.
- Don’t just lift the weight halfway, finish the lift.
- If a deadlift is performed incorrectly, it can have more negative effects than positive ones. Always keep your back straight.
- Make sure you are going through the full range of motion and keeping your form correct.
- Make sure your movements are smooth and controlled.
2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row
This helps to work on each side independently, thereby providing better muscle isolation and a longer range of motion.
It is an excellent alternative to the barbell rows. You must add this back and bicep dumbbell workout to your exercise arsenal.
Secondary: Trapezius, rhomboids, rear deltoid, biceps.
- Grasp a dumbbell with palm facing in.
- Rest the opposite hand and knee on a bench, keeping your spine straight and just above parallel to the floor.
- Pull the dumbbell vertically upward alongside your torso, raising the elbow as high as possible.
- Lower the dumbbell as slowly as possible, feeling a good stretch in your lats.
- Repeat on the other side.
- For better isolation, keep motion under strict control.
- Avoid hunchback bending as it leads to Injury.
3. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
The dumbbell bent over row is a fantastic compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles in your upper back (especially the lats), rear deltoids, rhomboids, and biceps
The dumbbell row is a variation of the barbell bent-over row that can easily be done at home with an only a pair of dumbbells.
Dumbbell bent-over rows allow for a greater range of motion than barbell bent-over rows. This is because you can bring the dumbbells closer to your body, which helps to target the lats and rhomboids more effectively.
- Raising the dumbbell higher toward the chest focuses on the upper latissimus and trapezius.
- Pulling the dumbbell through a lower trajectory to touch the abdomen targets the lower lats.
Primary: Latissimus dorsi.
Secondary: Erector spinae, trapezius, rhomboids, rear delt
- Stand with a narrow stance and a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip.
- Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with knees slightly bent.
- Now use the back and raise the dumbbell until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell, keeping it in control to the starting position.
- Make sure you are not exceeding the weight you can handle.
- Keep movement always under control, without letting gravity take you down faster.
4. Dumbbell Upright Row
Dumbbell upright rows can be done with a variety of different grip widths and hand positions, which can help to target different muscle groups. This makes them a more versatile exercise than barbell upright rows.
If you only have one dumbbell, you can try the single arm upright row.
Primary: Lateral deltoid, Trap
Secondary: Anterior deltoid, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip.
- Slowly pull the dumbbells up toward your lower chest while keeping the dumbbells close to your body.
- At the top, pause for a moment and contract the muscles.
- Now, slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Keep your elbows higher than your forearms.
- Keep your movements controlled and avoid making jerky movements.
- You should keep your back straight.
5. Renegade Row
The renegade row is a multitasking exercise that tones your back, arms and works your core, while also testing your balance and stability.
It is the best strength-training move and will give you a big back.
Primary: Lats, Chest, Anterior deltoid.
Secondary: Anterior deltoid, supraspinatus
- Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
- Start in the top position of a push-up position with your hands on the weights.
- Pull right elbow back, raising dumbbell toward chest, keeping right elbow close to the torso, abs tight, and hips in one line.
- Hold for one second at the top and return the weight slowly to the starting position to repeat on the other side.
- Complete the desired number of repetitions.
- Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles as you row the weight.
- Do not jerk the weight up.
- Make sure you do the same number of repetitions for each arm.
6. Standing Dumbbell Curls
When you do the standing arm curl, you build strength in your upper arm and learn to use your arm muscles correctly, bracing with your core muscles.
The dumbbell curl is the best exercise you can add to your back and bicep dumbbell workout routine to build mass.
Other Variation of it: Alternate dumbbell curl, Arm one dumbbell curls.
- Stand straight, keeping feet shoulder-width apart, grab a pair of dumbbells by your side.
- The dumbbells should not be touching your body.
- Your palms should be facing upwards. Take up the slack by bending the elbows slightly. Tension should be on the biceps.
- Slowly curl the dumbbells up as far as possible.
- Then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
- Do not swing the body back as you curl up the weight.
- Do not let the dumbbells touch your body.
7. Dumbbell Reverse Curl
The reverse dumbbell curl is a variation of the standard bicep curl where the dumbbell is gripped palms up (overhand grip). The motion is the same, but the change in grip allows for specific arm muscles (brachialis and brachioradialis) to be targeted.
Reverse dumbbell curls are a classic biceps curl exercise that has been used for decades by bodybuilders and strength athletes. They are a highly effective way to target the forearm and bicep muscles.
- Stand straight, keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip and arms should be extended.
- Curl the weights up towards your shoulders, exhale as you do so.
- Continue curling the dumbbells up until they are at shoulder level and your biceps are fully contracted.
- Return to the starting position in a smooth arc, inhale as you do so.
- Using a slower eccentric phase of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind-muscle connection.
- Make sure you use the right weight and body mechanics with this exercise at all times.
8. Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is the best exercise for building a biceps peak. This exercise should be a part of your arms race, as peaked biceps are very impressive to look at.
This exercise is done standing or seated with a bent torso, using a single dumbbell. Resting the upper arm against the thigh prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.
- Bend down at your torso holding a dumbbell in your hand and resting your other arm on your knee.
- Curl your arms to the maximum and twist your wrist so that the little finger is at a lower level than the thumb.
- Curl the dumbbell back to the start position.
- Repeat the desired number of sets.
- Breathe out when you exert yourself.
- Go as heavy as possible, but make sure you keep your form strict.
9. Hammer Curl
When It comes to building muscular hypertrophy and strength, the hammer curl exercise is one of the most popular exercises amongst bodybuilders and regular weightlifters.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders.
- Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.
- Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
- Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.
10. Zottman Curl
The dumbbell zottman curl is one of the best variations of the standard bicep curl.
The zottman curl targets your biceps and forearms at the same time. It utilizes different hand positioning at different portions of the lift.
- The first portion, the regular curl, focuses on bicep strength.
- The second lowering portion, the dumbbell reverse curl, allows you to overload the forearms.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides.
- Keep your palms facing up as you curl the weights up to your shoulders.
- Pause at the top of the movement.
- Slowly rotate your grip, so your palms are facing downwards.
- Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position using an overhand grip.
- When the dumbbells are close to your thighs, again turn your hands while returning to the starting position.
- Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
- Don’t go heavy. Choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form.
Sets And Reps For Back and Bicep Muscles
In this context, training volume refers to how much work we’re doing for a particular body part. And the simplest way to lay out volume is in terms of sets being done.
Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on goal, but here is a great starting point:
- Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
- Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
- Advanced: ~20 sets per week.
- 6-8 reps for strength
- 8-12 reps for hypertrophy
- 15-20+ for endurance
How To Plan Dumbbell Back And Biceps Workout Routine
There are numerous different workout splits you can use that involve having a “back and biceps day.”” However, they would all fall into one of two categories.
- A body part split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on separate days.
- A Push Pull Legs split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on the same day.
Body Part Routine Split
If you have a 4 or 5 day body part split:
- Day 1: Back and Bicep Workout
- Day 2: Chest and Tricep Workout
- Day 3: Legs and Shoulder Workout
- Day 4: Back and Bicep Workout
- Day 5: Chest and Tricep Workout
Back And Bicep Dumbbell Workout For Beginner
It’s time to share a workout routine with you. It is a beginner’s level back and bicep workout.
Below, you will find an easy-to-understand back and bicep workout routine for beginners. This workout program consists of the primary back movements and will help you out with getting a good base of muscle mass and strength.
|Dumbbell Bent Over Row||4||8-12|
Single Dumbbell Back And Bicep Workout Plan
|One-Arm Dumbbell Row||4||8-10|
|Single Dumbbell Upright Row||3||10-12|
|Single Dumbbell Deadlift||3||6-8|
|One Arm Dumbbell Curls||4||8-10|
Back and Bicep Superset Workout Plan
- Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 4 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
- Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
- DB Upright Row: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, superset with,
- Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Renegade Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
- Dumbbell Reverse Curl: 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout Benefits
The back and bicep exercises and workout plan are divided into dumbbell rowing exercises, deadlift, and DB Bicep curls However, there are many advantages of doing back and bicep exercises using dumbbells, such as:
- Dumbbells require more balance than barbells or machines that can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
- Dumbbells are ideal for unilateral training, which means you can also train with just one dumbbell.
- increase core stability, and improve muscular imbalances.
- It provides greater joint safety and stabilization, and allows the joints to move naturally within their range of motion.
- It gives you more variety, which prevents you from getting burned out physically and mentally.
- Back and bicep dumbbell workouts provide variations and allow for a greater range of movement (ROM), which leads to an increased number of muscle fibers recruited.
- Back and bicep dumbbells workout are perfect for the at-home exerciser with the limited space.
FAQs regarding back and bicep training.
is back and biceps a good workout?
Yes, you can train back and bicep together in your workout regime to gain mass. It’s actually preferred by many fitness gurus and bodybuilders to train them together, since you are already working the bicep when doing back.
How long should a back and bicep workout be?
There is no such thing as the optimal time for a back and bicep workout. Generally, a workout routine is between 45-90 minutes and shouldn’t take any longer than that. Some people like to train fast, and some people want to train slow.
Back and bicep Dumbbell workout Dumbbell at home
All the above exercises are the best options for back and bicep dumbbell workout at home. Having a V-taper back and big Gun are accomplished through building your back and biceps, and is a sign of dominance.
How frequently should I train my back and bicep?
Since the back is a large group of muscles, you’ll have to be strategic about training them, since they need more attention than the biceps.
How often you train depends on the muscle, your schedule, and your goals.
So, if you can only make it to the gym once per week, then you need to up your volume. But, if you train 2 times per week, then just train a muscle to the start of exhaustion and quit.
We’ve already introduced you to the best dumbbell back exercises and the best biceps exercises for building muscle mass.
I strongly encourage you to ensure you perform these exercises correctly, as that will have a massive impact on your progress.
You have also been shown three types of back and bicep workout routines—with a pair of dumbbells, with a single dumbbell, and as a superset.
Depending on your preference, you can try out one of these and then let us know how it has worked for you.
- Paulo Gentil, Saulo Soares, and Martim Bottaro Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises: Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy. Asian J Sports Med. 2015 Jun
- Strength and Conditioning Journal: October 2017 – Volume 39 – Issue 5 – p 33-35. Large and Small Muscles in Resistance Training: Is It Time for a Better Definition?
- J Strength Cond Res. 2020 May;34(5):1254-1263. Varying the Order of Combinations of Single- And Multi-Joint Exercises Differentially Affects Resistance Training Adaptations.
Best Back and Bicep Workout For Mass And Strength
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.