6 Best Ways to do a Back and Bicep Workout | And the Best Massage for Muscle Recovery

Do you dream of a perfectly muscular back and bulging biceps? Check out these back and bicep workouts followed by the best massage for muscle recovery!

Have you ever found yourself admiring a pair of perfectly sculpted back and biceps? Who wouldn't love having a highly sought-after V-taper and big traps for a symmetrically sculpted upper torso? 

Your back is also responsible for your posture, and a weak back is a common culprit behind injuries during workout and weightlifting exercises. So, if you are serious about building a solid back and massive traps, let's not waste any time. 

This post is all about working your back and biceps to gain strength while avoiding unnecessary strain. We will also discuss the best massage for muscle recovery for quick healing and bigger muscles. 

Let's get things underway.  

Back and Bicep Workout Targets

Back and bicep workouts usually involve push-pull splits to hit the back muscles. It's simple, effective, and you won't neglect any muscle group following this training.

The push and pull training splits refer to workouts that focus on particular muscle groups that perform similar actions. The push workouts train the chest, shoulders, and triceps, while the pull workouts focus on the back, biceps, and forearms. Your workout can include one day of lower body training.

Starting your back and bicep workout with bicep curls would fatigue your arms, and they might not be able to help you with the back movements. Hence, it is better to train your back before moving onto your biceps.

The push-pull training allows you to spread out your workouts so that all your activity is balanced and no muscle groups are neglected. You don't have to target every muscle in your body each day, so you can divide upper body pushing and upper body pulling i.e, back and bicep workout on separate days. 

A back and biceps workout will easily fit into different take-ups of the push-pull split. For example, you can train your chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and calves on one day and then back, biceps, glutes, and rear on the next day.

Major Muscles in Back and Bicep Training

Before we get into the back and bicep exercises, let us quickly look at some major muscles we will be targeting. Below, we have listed the primary muscles involved in back and biceps workouts that are hard to see during workouts.

Back Muscles 

The major back muscles include:

  • The Lats

The latissimus dorsi muscle known as the lats are the broad, flat V-shaped muscles that connect your arms to your spine and hip. They are big sheets of muscles that allow you to pull your arms downward and backward. 

The lats also help with your shoulder and arm movement, and they are also responsible for your posture.

  • Teres Major

Teres Major or "TM" is a small muscle that runs below your shoulder and helps you with drawing your arms down and back.

  • Rhomboids

The rhomboids are a large group of muscles located in your upper back that elevate, retract, and rotate the shoulder blades. The rhomboids, along with other muscles, keep your shoulder blade and shoulder stable.

  • Middle and Lower Trapezius

The trapezius muscles, also known as "traps", are large, triangular muscles in the upper back, extending from the shoulders and skill to the middle of the back. The traps are divided into three segments, the superior, the middle, and the lower section. 

The middle section helps retract the shoulder blades and provide stability for the shoulder during arm movements, while the lower trapezius brings the shoulder downward.

Biceps

The major back muscles include:

  • Bicep Brachii

The bicep brachii, or "BB," also known as the biceps, is a thick muscle on the underside of the upper arm. The muscle twists the wrist outward and flexes the elbow.

  • Brachialis

The brachialis muscle is a broad muscle that lies deeper than the biceps, between the biceps and triceps on the outer side of the arm. It is the forearm's primary flexor, which means the muscle pushes the forearm towards the upper arm by bending at the elbow.

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6 Best Workouts For Back and Biceps

There is no compulsion to schedule your back and bicep workouts on the same day but working these two muscle groups on the same day can logically be helpful. Back and biceps exercises can be broken up into different categories.

Several exercises target the back but very few for direct bicep training. Since the elbow is a simple joint, you can only use variations of "the curl" movement to target the biceps and the surrounding muscles. 

These six types of workouts for back and biceps will help you build a strong back and bulging biceps.

  1. Horizontal Pulls

One of the most basic horizontal pulling exercises is horizontal rows, which strengthen the upper back and shoulders. It includes any exercise that involves pulling something towards your midsection in the same path as a bench press. 

Rowing is a very effective full-body workout from the start, which builds tolerance and endurance. It activates twice the muscle mass as other exercises, and a single stroke works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, and back muscles. Therefore, rows should take up a major chunk of your training routine when focusing on your back. 

Even if you change your torso position, like bending your hips while your torso is parallel to the floor will still be counted as a row. The most basic example of horizontal pulls is a bent-over horizontal row with dumbbells. 

The many varieties of horizontal pulls include:

  • Barbell bent-over row
  • Seated cable low row
  • Trap-bar row
  • Machine row
  • Bodyweight row (with a barbell or suspension trainer).

Horizontal pulls target all the major back muscles, including lats, rhomboids, trapezius, and teres major. Developed rhomboids and trapezius contribute to a thicker back with more mass. 

2. Vertical Pulls 

Vertical pulls include all exercises that make you pull yourself upward in a straight line, or pull down a bar towards you. These exercises include pullups or chin-ups and the many variations of lat pulldowns. 

The many varieties of vertical pulls include:

  • Wide-grip pulldown
  • Reverse-grip (supination) pulldown
  • Neutral-grip lat pulldown
  • V-bar pulldown

A standard pull-up starts with hanging from a bar and pulling your body up with a medium-width grip. The pullup variations include:

  • Wide-grip pullup
  • Neutral-grip pullup
  • Chip-up using machines or bands

These exercises target upper lats and teres major, adding to the width of your back. 

3. Isolation Exercises 

While compound exercises target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, isolation exercises specifically target one muscle group to provide muscle growth. For example, the horizontal and vertical pulls discussed above are compound lifts that specifically work the lats and include biceps as a secondary target. 

When doing isolation exercises, it is easier to focus your mind on the specific muscle group you want to grow. The fixed attention helps your target the muscle more directly, improving its growth potential. 

Isolation exercises include:

  • Straight-arm pullover
  • One-arm straight-arm pulldown
  • Dumbbell pullover
  • Barbell pullover
  • Cable Pullover
  • Dumbbell pull back¬†

These variations target the lats and teres major muscles in the back. 

4. Supinated-Grip Curls 

These standard barbells, dumbbells, and machine curls place most of the load on the bicep brachii (underside of the upper arm). The forearms are in a supinated position during these curls, with palms facing forward. 

The exercise variations include:

  • Barbell curl
  • Dumbbell curl
  • Cable curl¬†

5. Neutral-Grip Curls 

Neutral-grip curls, or hammer curls, involve turning your wrists, so your palms face toward your body. They are halfway between a pronated grip and a supinated grip, and they can be a great addition to an upper-body strength workout. 

The neutral-grip curl variations include:

  • Dumbbell hammer curl
  • Cable hammer curl
  • Cross-body hammer curl

These curls target the biceps, the brachialis muscles (muscle underneath the bicep brachii), and the brachioradialis (muscles along the thumb-side of the upper forearm). 

6. Pronated-Grip Curls 

Pronated-grip curls, or reverse curls, involve your palms facing towards you in the down position and downward at the top of the lift. Reverse curls build bigger biceps and improve your grip strength. 

The variations of reverse curl include:

  • Dumbbell reverse curl
  • Barbell reverse curl
  • Cable reverse curl
  • Preacher reverse curl (using dumbbell, barbell, or cable)

These exercises activate the brachialis muscles and the brachioradialis more effectively than supinated curls. 

How Many Back and Bicep Exercises Should You Do?

While back and biceps are worked together in compound upper-body pulling movements, you have to be mindful of the amount of work the two muscle groups can endure. A total of four to six exercises for back and bicep muscle with a two-to-one ratio is enough for a workout session. That means four back exercises and two bicep exercises in one workout.

The bicep muscles act on the elbow and shoulder joints that you don't want to overwork, especially when training your triceps and shoulders on other days in one week. Since the muscles in your back are supposed to support your posture, they are more durable and recover more easily. 

Following this logic, you can train your back in multiple workout sessions spread across the week. On the other hand, biceps can not endure heavy training too frequently, and overdoing them can negatively affect your health and final results.  

So, if you are thinking of doing back and bicep workouts in a one-to-one ratio, reconsider the amount of load you are putting on the two muscle groups. However, serious workouts will still leave your body sore, and your muscles will need the best massage for muscle recovery to keep up with the training.

Best Massage for Muscle Recovery: Percussion Massage

When targeting back and bicep muscles, you will also experience targeted muscle pain in those areas. However, it can easily be treated by massages that increase blood flow, leading to faster healing.

What is the best massage for muscle recovery? A deep tissue massage. It loosens up tightened muscles, speeds up tissue recovery, reduces inflammation, and relieves muscle soreness and pains. 

This type of massage is a quick way to put pressure on your muscles and tissues to relieve built-up knots and reduce stiffness so you can train better. In addition, it ensures rapid muscle recovery and pain relief before your next workout. 

You can use a therapeutic percussion massager, such as the ultra-powerful Exogun, to target specific muscle groups to improve blood circulation and increase the range of motion. This percussion massager sends pulsating strokes to the deepest layers of muscles for a speedy recovery and quick comfort. Gymnasts and athletes use it to get their muscles working and healthy.

Exogun comes with a standard set of four detachable massagers:

  • The flat-head attachment glides over your muscles for a full-body massage.
  • The foam dome attachment is for sensitive tissues, like your biceps and triceps.
  • A u-shaped prong is perfect for massaging along the spine to eliminate back pain.¬†
  • The pin-point attachment targets a specific area with a greater pressure for a targeted massage.

You can use Exogun as a pre-workout to loosen up muscles so you can move them more freely and after every workout session to improve muscle recovery. It can help you target specific areas like your biceps, triceps, back muscles, and even joints. 

Plan a massage at least twice a month during intense training, ideally within a few hours of your workout session.

Also read: How to Properly Give a Deep Tissue Back Massage Therapy | Exogun


Final Thoughts

Now that you know the best ways to train your back and biceps and the best massage for muscle recovery, give it a go! You can work the back and bicep muscles together or divide the exercises on separate days to target the muscle groups with more pressure without causing exhaustion. 

Use a percussion massager pre and post-workouts to increase your range of motion, improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and lessen tissue scarring in tight muscles. Exogun is the best massage for muscle recovery that sends deep pulsating strokes into your muscles and reaches the deepest layers of muscles for the best results.