Workout 17: Back & Biceps


Back Exercises

1. Bent Over Barbell Row

  1. Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist. Ensure that you are keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
  2. Keeping the torso stationary, lift the barbell towards your torso. Keep your elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
  3. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Do not bounce up and down to get the bar up and down, and do NOT perform this exercise if you have back issues!

2. T-bar Row

  1. Load an appropriate weight onto the end of the T-bar.
  2. Stand over the bar so that it’s in between your legs and your chest is resting on the pad. Keep your back flat and make sure you have a firm grip on each side of the V-grip handle. 
  3. Remove the bar from the rest. Keep your chest up, your hips back, and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Lead the movement with your back, your arms should follow. The focus should not be on the angle of your arms, but on the contraction of your back.
  4. After your back reaches its maximum contraction and your shoulder blades are retracted, slowly let the weight of the bar pull your shoulder blades down to stretch your back. 
  5. Let your arms follow naturally until the T-bar is returned to its starting position.

3. Straight Arm Rope Pulldown

  1. Attach a wide bar at your shoulder-level on the pulley of the pulldown machine. Grab the bar with an overhand grip with your palms facing downward, and make sure your grip is wider than your shoulder-width.
  2. Take a couple steps back and make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Slightly hinge at the waist so that your torso is leaning forward. Keep your arms fully extended so that they’re parallel to the ground. Your arms can have a slight bend at the elbow.
  3. Pull the bar down while keeping your arms straight. Continue pulling down until your hands are beside your thighs; you should feel a contraction in your lats. 
  4. Reverse this movement while keeping your arms fully straight.

4. Close Grip Cable Row

Caution: Avoid swinging your torso back and forth. This can result in a lower back injury.

  1. Attach a V-bar to the low pulley on a seated row machine. When gripping the V-bar, your palms should be facing each other.
  2. Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform with your knees slightly bent.
  3. Grab the V-bar handles, lean over, and keep your back upright with your shoulders back. Your back should be slightly arched with your chest sticking out. As you hold the bar in front of you, you should you should notice a stretch in your lats.
  4. Keep your torso stationary and your elbows tucked in as you pull the handles back towards your torso. You should be squeezing your back muscles and holding that contraction for a second.
  5. Slowly return the weight to starting position by releasing your shoulder blades back down. 


Bicep Exercises


1. Preacher Curl 

  1. To perform this movement, you will need a preacher bench and an EZ bar. Load your desired weight onto the bar and adjust the seat on the preacher bench so that your upper arms sit comfortably on the padding when you’re seated.
  2. Grab the EZ bar using an underhand grip with your palms facing upward. Lift the EZ bar to shoulder height.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the bar until your upper arms are extended and your biceps are fully stretched.
  4. As you exhale, curl the bar up until your biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at your shoulder height. Try to squeeze your biceps tightly and hold this position for a second if you can.

2. Concentration Curl

  1. Sit at the end of a bench and place one dumbbell in front of you between your legs. Keep your legs spread apart, your knees bent, your back straight, and your feet on the ground.
  2. Use your right arm to pick up the dumbbell. Place the back of your arm against the inside of your same-sided thigh.
  3. Begin with the the palm of your hand facing away from your thigh. Keep your arm extended and the dumbbell slightly above the ground. 
  4. Make sure that your upper arm remains stationary as you contract your biceps and curl the dumbbell toward your opposite-sided pec. Continue the movement until the dumbbell is at shoulder-level. Remember, only the forearms should move.
  5. Slowly begin to lower the dumbbell back to its starting position. Avoid swinging motions at all times. 
  6. Perform all reps using the same arm, then repeat this movement with your other arm.

3. Rope Hammer Curl

  1. Hook a rope attachment to the low pulley and stand facing the machine about one foot away from it.
  2. Grasp the rope with your palms facing inward. Make sure you stand up straight, maintain the natural arch of your back, and keep your torso stationary.
  3. Start with your elbows tucked in by your side. Using your biceps, pull your arms up until your forearms touch your biceps. Only your forearms should move, not your upper arms. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in by your sides and your upper arms stationary.
  4. Slowly lower the rope back to the starting position.

4. Single Arm Cable Curl 

  1.  Set up for the one arm cable curl by attaching a single grip handle to a low pulley cable and selecting the weight you want to use.
  2. Stand in front of the cable machine and grasp the handle with an underhand grip.
  3. Keeping your body fixed, elbow tucked in at your side, and eyes facing forward, slowly curl the weight up as far as possible.
  4. Squeeze the bicep at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat for desired reps, and then repeat for the other arm.

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