This is the workout I do to train my back and biceps. I work these muscle groups together because most pulling exercises are compound movements that use both the biceps and the back muscles. It only makes sense to train them both on the same day. I like to save the bicep exercises for the end, because I need my arms fresh for pull ups and rows. You diet is also very important while you keep doing these workouts.

That being said, I’ll do this routine once per week to allow for a full recovery.

Pull Ups

Mechanics and Routine

1. Wide Grip Pull Ups

Two sets of as many as you can.

How To:

Find a pull up bar and use a shoulder-width or wider grip. Palms facing away from you. Look upwards and pull your chest to the bar, all the way up and all the way back down. Go for as many as you can do.

Tip: A pull up assist machine can also be used. Look for a pull up bar that you can kneel on. This apparatus can subtract some weight, allowing for easier pull ups. This is a lifesaver for beginners.

2. Inverted Push Ups

Two sets of as many as you can

How To:

Find a Smith Machine and lock the bar about 3 feet off the ground. Next, pull a bench up to it, that you can rest your feet on. Now hang from the bar, overhand grip, upside down. You should be in a reverse push up position, with just your shoes resting on the bench.

To do the exercise, pull your upper body to the bar. This will raise yourself to a horizontal position. Hold yourself at the top for a second, then slowly lower down until your arms are straight and your head is close to the ground. Do as many as you can.

Lat Pulldown

Mechanics and Routine

I will usually do 5-6 sets on this machine, but with different grips.

  • 2 Normal sets of 10 (shoulder width, palms away)
  • 2 Bicep sets of 10 (narrower grip, palms towards you)
  • 1-2 Wide grip sets of 15, less weight (grip the wide, angled part, palms away)

How To:

To start, try lifting about 50% of your bodyweight, and set the knee pads to a comfortable level. Grab the bar, and sit down. Keeping your back straight and upright, lower the bar to your chest. To better target the Latissimus Dorsi, focus on pulling your elbows to your sides, instead of squeezing with the arms.

Cable Row

Mechanics and Routine

3 sets of 10. Use a little less weight than the Lat Pulldown we just did.

How To:

Take a seat on the bench, grab the handle, and use your legs to push yourself back into position. With your back upright, pull the cable to your center and slowly release.

This exercise is very easy to learn, but it’s important to not rock back and forth at the hips. Try to keep your body as stationary as possible to avoid straining the lower back.

Dumbbell Rows

Mechanics and Routine

2 Sets of 10, both sides.

How To:

Lean alongside a bench and rest a hand and a knee on top of it. Reach down and grab your dumbbell. Without rotating your torso, pull the weight to your side, as high as you can. Lower and repeat.

Preacher Curls

Mechanics and Routine

2 Sets of 10

How To:

Locate the preacher bench and load up a bar with weight plates. Slowly curl the bar all the way up to your head, and then back down until your arms are straight. This one isn’t too hard to master.

Alternatively, find a trainer or friend to assist you with Resistance Curls. The same curling motion applies, except there is no weight on the bar. Your buddy should give you downward resistance so the bar raises very slowly. At the top, the roles switch, and the lifter tries to keep the bar raised while the partner pushes it down.

With these curls, every lift is working to failure, so they are a very effective way to end a workout. Try to do 6-7 and then switch.