Full Back & Biceps workout
If you’ve ever had a backache, you know just how miserable it can be. Every movement your body makes will engage your back in some way, so a hurt one means you’re down and out — which is no fun at all!
Strengthening your back muscles can help prevent these types of injuries and ensure that your entire body works smoothly, both during daily movements and during exercise.
But with the plethora of back exercises out there on the internet, you may be a little overwhelmed — especially if you’re a newbie. We’ve taken out the guesswork for you and put together a list of the best back moves you can do for overall strength and performance.
When we talk about your back, which muscles are we targeting? Primary muscles in the back include the:
- lats, which are in the area below your armpits down the sides of your back
- rhomboids, which are in the mid-upper back
- traps, which run from your neck to your mid back
- erector spinae, a group of muscles that run along your spine
All of the exercises below target a combination of these muscles.
Start with 5 to 10 minutes of moderate cardio to get your blood pumping and start to awaken your muscles. Then do a five-minute stretching sequence to prep your back for targeted exercises. This routine is a great starting point. Also, if at any point these moves cause you pain, stop what you’re doing and rest.
Choose three to five of these exercises to create your own back workout, which you can do twice weekly (or more) to reach your goals. Aim to hit all of these exercises within a two-week span to ensure your routine is well rounded.
Next time you take a trip to the gym, look around and take a head count. How many members are performing some sort of bicep exercise? Chances are you’ll spot at least a few.
The bicep curl is arguably one of the most popular weight training exercises; according to Google, bicep exercises consistently rank among the top 10 most popular workout-related searches.
Perhaps it’s because bicep exercises like the dumbbell curl are fairly basic and beginner friendly. Or maybe it’s because we all long for exceptional assets to show off at The Gun Show. But ease and aesthetics aside, every strength training routine should certainly include exercises for the biceps anyway, because the bicep muscles are essential to accomplishing daily activities like opening doors and carrying groceries.
However, until now there’s been little research to determine which bicep exercises are the best. In order to shed light on the subject and determine which of the most common bicep exercises are most effective, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned an independent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse.
With 16 healthy male and female volunteer subjects, the study, led by John Porcari, Ph.D, evaluated the cable curl, barbell curl, concentration curl, chin-up, wide- and narrow grip EZ curl, incline curl and preacher curl.
For each participant, muscle activity in the biceps brachii, anterior deltoid and brachioradialis was measured using electrodes during each exercise.
The final results revealed that the concentration curl produced a significantly greater amount of bicep muscle activity when compared with the other exercises. As depicted in the chart below, the preacher curl was the least effective bicep exercise in the study.