When it comes to weight training, choosing a workout can be a tough call for many of us. There are so many ways you can go and so many ways to do every exercise. It can get tricky to make a decision. Even if you decide what you want to train, like your back and biceps, for example, there’s still too much choice for you to make the most of your time every single time.

That’s where we step in. This back and bicep workout hits every main muscle from the necessary angles in just six moves. You can make the most of your time and your effort while still hitting your whole back and your arms together in one intense workout. Ideal, right?

Deadlift 5x5 reps

Starting with the king of exercises, we jump straight into the barbell deadlift. It’s a controversial exercise because of how complex it is. It can be done as either a back workout or a leg workout, so it’s up for debate. This workout is a great place to start to build up massive strength and make sure your lower back is going to get the attention it needs.

There is a lot to keep in mind when you are adding deadlifts into your workout, with too much to discuss in just one workout, but make sure that you know what you are doing. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, grab the bar, and push your hips forward to get the lift. Those are the main things to keep in mind. Be careful!

close-up of people lifting weights

Pull Up 5x5 reps

The pull up is one of the best upper body exercises that you can possibly do. It’s challenging, sure, but its results are guaranteed. It is an absolute titan of back training, and it has more benefits than we have space to list. Make sure your technique is perfect and train as hard as you can, and you will reap the rewards without question.

It does hit your whole upper body, but as with everything else in this workout, you need to concentrate on the muscles you are working. With a wide grip again, pull your weight up to your chin on the same level, hold it, and bring yourself back again. The slower you go, the more functional strength you will build for your stabilisation too, so it’s a win-win. It may be hard at first for you to follow the workout, but with pull-ups, even the smallest of steps make a significant impact.

Straight Arm Pull Down 3x12 reps

The straight pulldown is a much easier exercise to master, but it still has its own risks. It’s an upper back focussed exercise, so keep your lats in mind throughout. Make sure that you stick to a wide angle for the best activation.

To do it, grab the bar from the wide angle you need and pull the weight down toward you. It’s vital that you keep your arms straight while slightly leaning forward so that you are moving the weight toward you down and not towards you. Squeeze your shoulder lats hard for the best possible contraction and you’ll feel it straight away. Don’t go too fast either or you’ll start building momentum and lose your form.

Seated Row 3x12 reps

The seated row follows a lot of the same mechanic as the lat pull down, but from a different angle. The seated row is an excellent exercise for your mid and your upper back. Using a V handle rather than a bar gives a refreshing change to back exercises, too, with most things being focused on a wider grip.

When you have chosen the right weight and you are ready to go, lean back slightly with a straight back and a slight bend in your knees. Pull the weight into the top of your abs, squeezing your shoulder blades together again to make sure you aren’t tempted to use the biceps too much and get your elbows just behind your back for a complete rep.

man exercising on a rowing machine

Preacher Curl 3x8 reps

Now that you back will be pretty much exhausted, it’s time to move onto the bicep exercises. You’ll have been using them in every other exercise we’ve already been through, so you’ll likely already be feeling the burn, but push through it. Your biceps will help you a lot in all of your workouts, so they deserve the extra effort.

The preacher curl is a variation of the standard bicep curl but seated and with a preacher pad in front of you. The pad means you get a fuller and more isolated contraction for your biceps which is just what we need. With your arms over the pad, supported and comfortable, lift that bar up as far as your biceps will let you. Hold, return, repeat. Way harder than it sounds, trust us.

Incline Hammer Curl – Drop Set

Hammer curls are another variation of the standard bicep curl, but they change the game so that you’re really working on that dip in your arms, giving you great bicep definition. You will need to switch from the barbell on the preacher curl to dumbbells here though and need to make sure that you have a bench at a suitable incline, to really maximise the bicep motion range and give you the best contraction possible.

To do it, use a neutral grip on the dumbbells rather than the usual palms up grip, and curl as you normally would. Keep your elbows pivoted and don’t sway your back. It’s your arms that should be doing all the work here! Just to make sure you’ve really overloaded the biceps; the drop set should make sure that you literally cannot do any more than you have, and your arms are going to see some serious growth.

 

Once you’ve done all of these to the best you can, you’re probably going to be pretty spent, but you will have worked everywhere you needed to, and pretty intensely at that. Your progression should be rapid because of the types of exercises that are involved, and overall, you should be satisfied with your workout. All of these exercises have variations that you could add into the workout if they would be more comfortable for you. Do what’s best for you.

 

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