If you are looking for the best dumbbell exercises to train your back and bicep at home or the gym, then you are in the right place.
This best back and bicep dumbbell workout focuses on building mass and strength in the latissimus dorsi, lower back, rhomboids, both heads of the biceps, and forearms.
Back and bicep exercises, when combined, help to increase muscle strength and endurance in back and bicep. The back and bicep muscles have been used in rowing exercises for as long as the exercises have been around.
Most rows exercises focus on the back muscle, and the bicep and rear deltoid are crucial synergistic muscles.
Training your back and biceps together in the same workout is something very common in today’s bodybuilding training routines. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter, or if you are doing it at home or in a gym.
Back Muscle Anatomy
The back or upper posterior chain (Backside of the body) is composed of many muscles which include.
- Trapezius -Muscles near the neck responsible for neck rotation/lateral flexion, scapular retraction/depression, shoulder stabilization, and arm rotation
- Rhomboids – Located below the traps and responsible for scapular retraction.
- Latissimus Dorsi – The largest muscle of the upper body which performs the functions of adduction, extension, and horizontal abduction of the humerus.
- Erector Spinae – Muscles located along the spinal column responsible for lumbar spine function like lateral flexion, bending, and twisting.
Bicep Muscle Anatomy
The Bicep Muscle consists of the following parts:
- Biceps brachii
Biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (the Bicep gets its name from the two heads).
Brachialis lies on the outer side of the arm.
The brachioradialis muscle group is firmly attached to the bicep and is also activated when tracking back and biceps.
Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout Benefits
The back and bicep exercises and workout plan are divided into dumbbell rowing exercises, deadlift, and DB Bicep curls However, there are many advantages of doing back and bicep exercises using dumbbells, such as:
- Dumbbells require more balance than barbells or machines that can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
- Dumbbells are ideal for unilateral training, which means you can also train with just one dumbbell.
- increase core stability, and improve muscular imbalances.
- It provides greater joint safety and stabilization, and allows the joints to move naturally within their range of motion.
- It gives you more variety, which prevents you from getting burned out physically and mentally.
- Back and bicep dumbbell workout provide variations and allow for a greater range of movement (ROM), which leads to an increased number of muscle fibers recruited.
- Back and bicep dumbbells workout are perfect for the at-home exerciser with the limited space.
10 Best Back and Bicep Dumbbell Workout for Mass and Strength
Here are 10 exercises you can do with dumbbells to build back and biceps muscles. These exercises can be used as part of a regular workout or as a standalone circuit.
Back Exercises With Dumbbell
1. Dumbbell Deadlift
The deadlift is the best exercise for posterior chain muscle strengthening. This chain includes the erector spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
It can be done with either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. You can also perform the deadlift with a single dumbbell.
One of the biggest benefits of using dumbbells for deadlifts is that you increase the range of motion you can work with compared to barbell deadlifts.
Primary: Erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings.
Secondary: Trapezius, lats, quadriceps, forearms.
- Place a dumbbell in front of you. Grab the Dumbbells with each of your hands. Remember to keep your back as straight as possible and contract your back and hamstrings.
- Lift the dumbbell from the ground with your hamstrings and glutes. You should keep your legs slightly bent, back straight, and head looking up.
- Raise it up so that you’re standing up straight. Do not hyperextend your body as the weight shifts to the lumbar spine. Hold the bar for a moment at the top of the lift and remember to lockouts.
- Now, lower the dumbbell slowly and steadily at a slow pace by bending at the hips first and then at the knees. Let the weight almost touch the ground for a moment before you begin the next rep.
- Don’t just lift the weight halfway, finish the lift.
- If a deadlift is performed incorrectly, it can have more negative effects than positive ones. Always keep your back straight.
- Make sure you are going through the full range of motion and keeping your form correct.
- Make sure your movements are smooth and controlled.
2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row
One-Arm Dumbbell Row is an excellent full-range exercise to build the lats muscles. It’s a great form of exercise if you only have a single dumbbell.
This helps to work on each side independently, thereby provide better muscle isolation and a longer range of motion.
It is an excellent alternative to the barbell rows. You must add this back and bicep dumbbell workout to your exercise arsenal.
Secondary: Trapezius, rhomboids, rear deltoid, biceps.
- Grasp a dumbbell with palm facing in. Rest the opposite hand and knee on a bench, keeping your spine straight and just above parallel to the floor.
- Pull the dumbbell vertically upward alongside your torso, raising the elbow as high as possible.
- Lower the dumbbell as slowly as possible, feeling a good stretch in your lats.
- Repeat on the other side.
- For better isolation, keep motion under strict control.
- Avoid hunchback bending as it leads to Injury.
3. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
If you are looking to strengthen the upper back and adding massive muscle to the upper back region, then bent over dumbbell rows is the exercise.
The dumbbell row is a variation of the barbell bent-over row that can easily be done at home with an only pair of dumbbells.
Raising the dumbbell higher toward the chest focuses on the upper latissimus and trapezius.
Pulling the dumbbell through a lower trajectory to touch the abdomen targets the lower lats.
Primary: Latissimus dorsi.
Secondary: Erector spinae, trapezius, rhomboids, rear delt
- Stand with a narrow stance and a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip.
- Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with knees slightly bent.
- Now use the back and raise the dumbbell until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell, keeping it in control to the starting position.
- Make sure you are not exceeding the weight you can handle. Heavy weight puts a great strain on your spinal erectors and says goodbye to form.
- Keep movement always under control, without letting gravity take you down faster.
4. Dumbbell Upright Row
The upright row is a compound exercise that targets the muscles in your shoulders and upper back.
DB Upright Row exercise is an excellent exercise to build huge trapezius muscles and create that deltopectoral separation. Shrugs and upright rows with dumbbells are great for building massive traps.
If you only have one dumbbell, you can try the single arm upright row.
Primary: Lateral deltoid, Trap
Secondary: Anterior deltoid, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus
- Take a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder- to hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
- Slowly pull the dumbbells up toward your lower chest while keeping the dumbbell close to your body.
- At the top, pause for a moment and contract the muscles.
- Now lower the dumbbell under controlled motion until it comes back to its starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Keep your elbows higher than your forearms.
- Keep your movements controlled and avoid making jerky movements.
- You should keep your back straight.
5. Renegade Row
The renegade row is also called a plank row, which is almost the same as a dumbbell row. It is designed to target the upper back. Like a plank, it is designed to work the core.
The renegade row is a multitasking exercise that tones your back, arms and works your core, while also testing your balance and stability.
It is the ultimate strength-training move and will give you a huge back.
Primary: Lats, Chest, Anterior deltoid.
Secondary: Anterior deltoid, supraspinatus
- Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Start in the top position of a push-up position with your hands on the weights.
- Pull right elbow back, raising dumbbell toward chest, keeping right elbow close to the torso, abs tight, and hips in one line.
- Hold for one second at the top and return the weight slowly to the starting position to repeat on the other side.
- Complete the desired number of repetitions.
- Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles as you row the weight.
- Do not jerk the weight up.
- Make sure you do the same number of repetitions for each arm.
Dumbbell Bicep Exercises
6. Standing Dumbbell Curls
Standing dumbbell curl works the biceps muscles at the front of the upper arm and the lower arm’s muscles, brachialis, and brachioradialis.
When you do the standing arm curl, you build strength in your upper arm and learn to use your arm muscles correctly, bracing with your core muscles.
The dumbbell curl is the best exercise you can add to your back and bicep dumbbell workout routine to build mass.
Other Variation of it: Alternate dumbbell curl, Arm one dumbbell curls.
Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.
- Stand straight, keeping feet shoulder-width apart, grab a pair of dumbbells by your side. The dumbbells should not be touching your body.
- Your palms should be facing upwards. Take up the slack by bending the elbows slightly. Tension should be on the biceps.
- Slowly curl the dumbbells up as far as possible.
- Then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
- Do not swing the body back as you curl up the weight.
- Do not let the dumbbells touch your body.
7. Dumbbell Reverse Curl
Dumbbell Reverse curl is a variation of the standard bicep curl where the dumbbell is gripped palms up (overhand grip). The motion is the same, but the change in grip allows for specific arm muscles (brachialis and brachioradialis) to be targeted.
The reverse bicep curl is performed by contracting the biceps with your palms facing down using a barbell, dumbbells, or EZ-curl bar.
This exercise provides stability and a full range of motion. You could also do a reverse curl with a single dumbbell.
Primary: biceps brachii and brachialis.
Secondary: brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.
- Stand straight, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip and arms should be extended.
- Keeping your upper arms stationary and your back straight, curl the weights up towards your shoulders, exhale as you do so. Use only your forearms for this movement.
- Continue curling the dumbbells up until they are at shoulder level and your biceps are fully contracted.
- Return to the starting position in a smooth arc, inhale as you do so.
- Using a slower eccentric phase of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind-muscle connection.
- Make sure you use the right weight and body mechanics with this exercise at all times.
8. Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is the best exercise for building a biceps peak. This exercise should be a part of your arms race, as peaked biceps are very impressive to look at.
This exercise is done standing or seated with a bent torso, using a single dumbbell. Resting the upper arm against the thigh prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.
Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm
- Bend down at your torso holding a dumbbell in your hand and resting your other arm on your knee.
- Curl your arms to the maximum and twist your wrist so that the little finger is at a lower level than the thumb.
- Curl the dumbbell back to start position.
- Repeat the desired number of sets.
- Breathe out when you exert yourself.
- Go as heavy as possible, but make sure you keep your form strict.
9. Hammer Curl
The Hammer curl is a classic weightlifting exercise that targets the biceps and forearms. It is different from a regular bicep curl because it uses a neutral grip instead of an underhand grip.
It comes to building muscular hypertrophy and strength, the hammer curl exercise is one of the most popular exercises amongst bodybuilders and regular weightlifters.
Primary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, Bicep
Secondary: Anterior deltoid, Forearm.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders.
- Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.
- Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
- Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.
10. Zottman Curl
The dumbbell zottman curl is one of the best variations of the standard bicep curl.
The zottman curl targets your biceps and forearms at the same time. It utilizes different hand positioning at different portions of the lift.
The first portion, the regular curl, focuses on bicep strength. The second lowering portion, the dumbbell reverse curl, allows you to overload the forearms.
Primary: Biceps, brachioradialis.
Secondary: Brachialis, and forearm.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides.
- Keep your palms facing up as you curl the weights up to your shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement.
- Slowly rotate your grip, so your palms are facing downwards. Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position using an overhand grip.
- When the dumbbells are close to your thighs, again turn your hands while returning to the starting position.
- Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
- Don’t go heavy. Choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form.
Training Volume (Sets And Reps) For Back and Bicep Muscles
Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:
- Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
- Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
- Advanced: ~20 sets per week.
- 6-8 reps with heavy load
- 8-15 reps with moderate load
- 15-20+ with light load
Workout Plan #1
- Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
- Renegade Row: 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Deadlift: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Single Dumbbell Back And Bicep Workout Plan #2
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Single Dumbbell Upright Row : 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Single Dumbbell Deadlift: 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
- One Arm Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Concentration Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Superset Workout Plan #3:
- Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 4 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
- Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
- DB Upright Row: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, superset with,
- Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Renegade Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps, superset with,
- Dumbbell Reverse Curl: 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
Frequently asked questions regarding back and bicep training.
is back and biceps a good workout?
Yes, you can train back and bicep together in your workout regime to gain mass. It’s actually preferred by many fitness gurus and bodybuilders to train them together, since you are already working the bicep when doing back.
How long should a back and bicep workout be?
There is no such thing as the optimal time for a back and bicep workout. Generally, a workout routine is between 45-90 minutes and shouldn’t take any longer than that. Some people like to train fast, and some people want to train slow.
Back and bicep Dumbbell workout Dumbbell at home
All the above exercise are best options for back and bicep dumbbell workout at home. Having a V-taper back and big Gun are accomplished through building your back and biceps, and is a sign of dominance.
How frequently should I train my back and bicep?
Since the back is a large group of muscles, you’ll have to be strategic about training them, since they need more attention than the biceps.
How often you train depends on the muscle, your schedule, and your goals.
So, if you can only make it to the gym once per week, then you need to up your volume. But, if you train 2 times per week, then just train a muscle to the start of exhaustion and quit.
We’ve already introduced you to the best dumbbell back exercises and the best biceps exercises for building muscle mass.
I strongly encourage you to ensure you perform these exercises correctly, as that will have a massive impact on your progress.
You have also been shown three types of back and bicep workout routines—with a pair of dumbbells, with a single dumbbell, and as a superset.
Depending on your preference, you can try out one of these and then let us know how it has worked for you.
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