Best Back and Bicep Workout for Muscle Growth

Training your back and biceps together in the same workout is something very common in bodybuilding training routines. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced gym lifter. You need a good workout routine to optimize your muscle gains.

The combination of back and bicep exercise helps to increase your muscle strength and endurance in the back and bicep. Back and bicep is a muscle pairing as old as the Pull-ups, lats pull down and rows.

The back muscle is the main targeted muscle in most row exercises, and the bicep and rear delt are crucial synergistic muscles.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about 

Back And Bicep Muscle Anatomy

The back or upper posterior chain (Backside of the body) is composed of many different muscles, which include.

  • Trapezius -Muscles near the neck responsible for neck rotation/lateral flexion, scapular retraction/depression, shoulder stabilization, and arm rotation.
  • Rhomboids – Located below the traps and responsible for scapular retraction.
  • Latissimus Dorsi – The largest muscle of the upper body which performs the functions of adduction, extension, and horizontal abduction of the humerus
  • Erector Spinae – Muscles located along the spinal column responsible for lumbar spine function like lateral flexion, bending, and twisting.

Back anatomy

Bicep Muscle

The Bicep Muscle consists of the following parts:

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.

bicep anatomy
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Why You Should Train Back and Biceps Together

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 pull-up, 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.

It’s important that first, you train your back than your bicep during your workout routine. This is because your back muscle will need your full energy and is most likely the heavies to train and gain in terms of muscle.

How To Train Back and Bicep For Mass And Strength

Some people prefer to perform back and bicep exercises for strength, while others are more interested in workouts for building muscle.

Again, the different goals for training will mostly affect how many reps, sets, and weights are done for the back bicep workouts.

Strength and muscle mass training have many similarities, but there are also some differences. In this back and bicep workout, you will target both types of gains.

  • Strength training involves lifting heavy weights. Powerlifters and weightlifters routinely train with weights in the 1–5 repetition range (>85% of 1RM). Although higher rep ranges (less than 6 reps) have also been proven effective for strength gains.
  • Muscle growth training has more to do with challenging and tiring out your muscles. As long as you push your muscles close to failure. You will obtain best muscle growth in the range of 5–12 reps per set (~60–85% of 1RM).
  • For endurance, do the 15 to 20+ reps.

12 Best Back and Bicep Exercises for Mass and Strength

Here are 12 exercises to help you build back and biceps in the gym. You can use these as part of a regular workout or as a standalone circuit.

1. Pull-Up

The pull-up is an upper-body strength exercise that targets your back and bicep. Pull ups are a challenge for beginners and experienced athletes.

The wide-grip pull-up is harder to perform than a standard pull-up because it places your hands further from the center of your body, making the exercise more difficult. 

It increases the strength, thickness, and width of your back, specifically your lats. The lats are what make the back wide and form the “V” in the upper back.

Wide Grip Pull Up

How To Do It

  1. Using an overhand grip, grab a pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your chest high, while exaggerating the arch in your lower back.
  3. Pull yourself up by contracting your lats and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Hold the contraction at the top for a second before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.

2. Lats Pull Down

The lats pulldown is an exercise used to build the muscles of the back. It is a great exercise for the back that is widely used by fitness trainers to build bigger lats.

It’s important to target your back muscles to help with proper posture and to ease pulling movements. This exercise can be performed using wide grips and narrow grips, as well as pulling to the front and the back.

The wider grip is the best variation to target the outer lats. You should add this back and bicep workout to your exercise arsenal.

Lat Pull Down

How To Do It

  1. Sit on the machine seat with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lock your knees under the support pads.
  3. Keep your upper back straight, pull the bar down and bring it up to the chest.
  4. As you pull down, squeeze your shoulder blades together and feel back muscles contracting.
  5. Use your upper lats to perform this movement, and consider your arms to be nothing more than a lever between the bar and your lats.
  6. Now let go of the bar slowly and stretch your lats as much as you can.

3. Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows are a compound strength training exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the upper back, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. During this exercise, the bicep, brachialis, and forearm muscles are also trained.

Seated cable rows can be done with a variety of attachments and angles, so you can work different parts of your back. This makes it a great exercise for creating a well-rounded back and bicep workout.

Seated Cable Rows

How To Do It

  1. Sit on a seated cable pulley rowing machine with legs slightly bent and feet supported against the crossbar.
  2. Grab the handles with your arms extended and your back stretched.
  3. Keep your back straight and your elbows close to your sides, and then pull the handle towards your chest,
  4. Squeeze your lats at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.

4. Bent Over Barbell Rows

A bent-over barbell row is a compound exercise that works the muscles of your back, particularly the latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius, rhomboids, erector spinae and also works the bicep.

Spacing your hands shoulder-width apart or closer targets the central inner section of the lats, whereas a wider grip targets the outer back muscles.

  • A narrow grip keeps the elbows close to the body, which makes it harder to extend the shoulders and pull them away from the body. This forces the lats muscles to work harder, which strengthens them.
  • The wide grip encouraged by the flared elbows helps reduce lats involvement, allowing you to target the rhomboids, traps and rear delt.
Bent Over Barbell Rows

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a narrow stance and grab a bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with the knees slightly, and let the bar hang in front of you.
  3. Now use the back and raise the bar until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
  4. Slowly lower the bar under control to the starting position.

5. Upright Row

The upright row is a weightlifting exercise that targets the muscles of the shoulder and upper backincluding the deltoids, trapezius, as well as the rhomboids, and even the biceps — making it a great addition to any full-body workout.

There are three main variations of grip width: close grip, normal grip, and wide grip.

Barbell Upright Row

How To Do It

  1. Hold a bar with a narrow overhand grip and let it hang in front of you.
  2. Lift the bar and get it as close as possible to the chin, using your arms and elevating your shoulders to squeeze your trapezius muscles.
  3. Now lower the bar under controlled motion until it comes back to its starting position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

6. One Arm Dumbbell Rows

One Arm Dumbbell Rows are an excellent alternative to barbell rows, and it provides the full-range motion to build the lats muscles.

This exercise helps to work on each side independently, thereby providing better muscle isolation and a longer range of motion. This exercise is done with a heavy dumbbell with your body supported by a bench.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

How To Do It

  1. Grasp a dumbbell with palm facing in. Rest the opposite hand and knee on a bench.
  2. Pull the dumbbell vertically upward alongside your torso, raising the elbow as high as possible.
  3. Lower the dumbbell as slowly as possible, feeling a good stretch in your lats.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

7. Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is a highly recognizable biceps exercise that builds biceps muscle mass. It’s a great exercise for seeing results in strength and definition.

It is a pull-type, isolation exercise that works primarily on your biceps and also trains the muscles in your forearms.

A wide grip focuses effort on the inner biceps (short head), whereas a narrow grip arks the outer biceps (long head).

Note: In the study conducted, they found that the EZ barbell curl showed the highest overall electromyography (EMG) activity in the biceps brachii (BB) and brachioradialis (BR) muscles compared to the dumbbell curl (DC) and barbell curl (BC) variants.

Barbell Curl

How To Do It

  1. Hold a barbell at arm’s length, using a shoulder-width underhand grip.
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

8. Chin Up

A chin-up is a strength training exercise that uses your entire body weight, with a special focus on your upper body and core. This is the best bodyweight back exercise that can induce serious muscle growth of the bicep and back.

In this exercise, the palms are faced towards the body. Since the lifter is pulling their own bodyweight, the biceps are usually exposed to loads heavier than what one can lift with a barbell.

Chin Up

How To Do It

  1. Grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip (palm facing toward the body), hands shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower.
  2. Straighten your arms, keep your knees bent and cross your lower legs. It can also be done with leg straight.
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and pull your body up until your chin becomes aligned with the bar.
  4. Pause for one to two seconds at the top with the biceps under maximum tension. Slowly lower to the start position.

9. Cable Curl

The bicep cable curl is one of the best isolation exercises for the upper arm biceps muscle. It’s a pulling action performed with a cable machine and is suitable for beginners.

Cable curls are done with a cable machine, which gives you constant resistance while you do the exercise. This helps to target the biceps more effectively than other exercises, such as dumbbell curls.

Cable Curl

How To Do It

  1. Set up for the cable curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable.
  2. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up), and your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Curl the bar up toward your shoulders by bending at the elbows.
  4. Lower the weight down to the arms extended position.

10. Reverse Curl

The reverse curl is a variation of the bicep curl exercise that targets the muscles from a different angle. Unlike the traditional bicep curl, the barbell reverse curl is performed with an overhand grip (palms facing down) on the barbell.

A pronounced grip will engage the brachioradialis and other forearm muscles to a greater extent. This also helps to improve grip strength and forearm and bicep development.

Other ways to do the Reverse Curl:

  • Cable Reverse Curl
  • Dumbbell Reverse Curl
Barbell Reverse Curl

How To Do It

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Exhale and slowly curl the barbell upwards toward your shoulders.
  4. At the top of the curl, feel the contraction in your biceps and forearms.
  5. Inhale and slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position.

11. Incline Dumbbell Curl

The Incline dumbbell curl is an excellent full-range exercise to build bigger muscles and also add variety to your bicep exercises plan.

It is a variation of the dumbbell curl and an exercise used to build bigger biceps. The incline dumbbell curl elongates the negative portion of the dumbbell curl by creating a deeper stretch on the biceps muscle tissue.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

How To Do It

  1. Position an incline bench at roughly 45-60 degrees. Sit on it with a pair of heavy dumbbells.
  2. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder levels and then curl back to the start position.
  3. At the top of the movement, contract harder and let the palms face yourself, and at the end of the movement let the palms face each other.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

12. Hammer Curl

The Hammer Curl is a classic weightlifting exercise that targets the biceps and forearms. It strengthens the three largest muscles along the front of your upper arms.

It is different from the regular bicep curl as it involves an overhand grip with a pronated wrist, instead of an underhand grip.

When it comes to building muscular hypertrophy and strength, the hammer curl exercise is one of the most popular bicep exercises among bodybuilders and regular weightlifters.

Hammer Curl

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.

Set and Reps Of Back And Bicep Workout Plan

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

Note: Do you remember that the biceps are involved in most back exercises? If you were to do 10-20 sets for the back each week, you would not also need 10-20 sets for the biceps because the biceps would already receive a lot of secondary volume while training the back.

How To Plan A 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.

  1. A body part split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on separate days.
  2. A Push Pull Legs split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on the same day.

You can use this with any other program you have.

To give you an idea of how this workout can fit into various programs, I wanted to give you a rough estimate of how often you could do it without interfering with other workouts. You could probably do it twice a week without interfering with other workouts.

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

Push Pull Legs Routine Split

You could do a 5 or 6 day PPL split:

5 Days Workout Plan:

  • Day 1: Push Day (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Workout)
  • Day 2: Pull Day (Back And Bicep, Rear Delt Workout)
  • Day 3: Leg Day (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Core Workout)
  • Day 4: Push Day
  • Day 5: Pull Day
  • Day 6-7: Rest
  • Note: Start the following next week with Leg Day. 

6-Day Workout Plan

  • Day 1: Push Day (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Workout)
  • Day 2: Pull Day (Back and Bicep, Rear Delt Workout)
  • Day 3: Leg Day (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Core Workout)
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Push Day (Back and Bicep Workout)
  • Day 6: Pull Day (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Workout)
  • Day 7: Leg Day (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Core Workout)
  • Day 8: Rest
    — Repeat

Back And Bicep Workout Routine 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.

Make sure you select weight loads that bring about failure at the rep ranges listed to make this a real mass-builder. If you get less than 10 reps on the exercises, don’t worry because the next time you complete this workout you will know what to expect and be mentally and physically stronger.

Certainly, here’s the information with separate columns for sets and reps:

One Arm Dumbbell Rows48-12
Seated Cable Rows410-12
Lats Pulldown38-10
Cable Curl48-10
Hammer Curl38-10

Back Bicep Workout Plan for Intermediate

We’ve got some effective workouts routine for intermediate and advanced, which include the exercises, sets, reps, so you can keep making progress.

Before you get into your working sets, make sure to warm-up with at least two lighter sets, pyramid up in weight from 30 to 50-60% of your one-rep max. Keep the working sets to no higher than 80-85% of your one-rep max.

Train to failure for each set and allow at least 3-4 days of rest in between workouts for the same muscle group.

Certainly, here’s the information presented in tabular form:

Pull Ups48-10
Barbell Row410-12
Lats Pull Down38-10
Dumbbell Rows38-10
Barbell Curls48-10
Hammer Curl410-12
Incline Dumbbell Curl38-10

Back and Biceps Training Strategies

For seasoned athletes, optimizing back and biceps workouts involves delving into advanced techniques that push your limits and foster remarkable strength and muscle growth.

  • Superset: Barbell Rows and Lats pulldown Rows
    • Barbell Rows: 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
    • Lats pulldown: 3-5 sets of up to 12 reps
  • Superset: Cable Face Pulls and Biceps Cable Curls
    • Cable Face Pulls: 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
    • Biceps Hammer Curls: 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Superset: Dumbbell Incline Curls and Seated Rows
    • Dumbbell Incline Curls: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
    • Cable Seated Rows: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Drop set: Machine Rear Delt Fly
    • 3 sets (Reduce the weight by about 20-30% and immediately perform 8-10 reps, gain repeat)
  • Drop set: Hammer Curl
    • 3 sets (Reduce the weight by about 20-30% and immediately perform 8-10 reps, gain repeat)

Note: Perform each exercise with proper form and control. Rest between sets as needed, but aim to keep the pace brisk to maintain intensity. Adjust weights to challenge yourself while maintaining good technique.

Back and Bicep Superset Workout Plan

 A superset is doing two different exercises without enough rest in between.

The workout includes supersets, which means you’ll do two exercises for the same muscle group back-to-back, then rest and repeat one or more times. You’ll use enough weight that you can only complete 8 to 12 repetitions per set.

  • Barbell Bent Over Row: 4 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
    • Barbell Curls: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
  • Lats Pull Down: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, superset with,
    • Cable Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
  • Barbell Upright Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
    • Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Back And Bicep Training.

Can you train back and bicep together for mass?

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 Many Sets and Reps Should I Do?

For just about every exercise of back or bicep, 3–4 work sets (the real work you do, not warm-up sets) is a good choice. But rep ranges fluctuate. You can go as low as 5 reps on heavy presses, and up to 15–30 reps for accessory work.

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 workout gym

All the below exercises are the best options for back and bicep workout at the gym. Having a V-taper back and big Gun are accomplished through building your back and biceps, and is a sign of dominance at the gym.

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 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 back and bicep workout plans forbeginner, Intermediate and advanced. We also presented a back and bicep superset workout plan.

Depending on your preference, you can try out one of these and then let us know how it worked for you.


  1. 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
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(10):2857–72. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3.

Best Back And Biceps Workout for Mass and Strength

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