Bicep & Back Workouts

by Tina Pashley

To tone and shape your biceps and back muscles, you'll need to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. For optimal results, perform biceps and back strength-training exercises at least twice a week, allowing at least a day of recuperation for each muscle group before retraining. You have several choices of exercises to target these areas.

Biceps Curls and Hammer Curls

Biceps curls help strengthen and tone your biceps with free weights. With a barbell or two dumbbells, start with your arms at your sides, palms facing away from your body and grab the dumbbells or barbell. Slowly bend your elbows and curl the weights toward your chest, squeezing your biceps. Slowly return the weight to the original position. Hammer curls are much like biceps curls, except you keep your palms facing your body. With dumbbells, rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing your body. Keeping your hands in the same position throughout the exercise, bend your elbows, bringing the weights toward your shoulders. Return to the original position. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions of biceps curls and hammer curls.

Preacher and Concentration Curls

Preacher curls are performed with your upper arms resting on an incline, such as the padded preacher bench utilized at many fitness facilities. Sit on the seat of the preacher bench and extend your arms down the incline of the preacher bench with your palms facing upward while grasping a barbell or dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bend your elbows and curl the weights toward your body, while squeezing your biceps. Return the weight to the original position. Concentration curls are performed while sitting on the edge of a chair or weight bench. Grasp a dumbbell in your right hand and place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee. Fully extend your arm so that your palm is facing up. Bend your elbow and bring the dumbbell toward your body. Return to the original position. Perform three sets of 10 preacher curls and 10 repetitions of concentration curls with both arms.

Deadlifts

Deadlifts help strengthen your lower back. To perform a barbell deadlift, stand behind a barbell resting on the floor and bend your knees, keeping your back straight and weight on the heels of your feet. Grasp the bar and begin to straighten your legs while keeping your arms straight and close to your body. Continue this motion until you stand straight, still keeping your arms straight. Slowly bend at the waist and knees, and lower the weight to the floor. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.

Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows and cable rows strengthen the latissimus dorsi of your middle back. To perform a bent-over row, stand behind a barbell and bend at the waist and knees and grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keeping your back straight while continuing to bend over, bend your elbows outward to bring the bar toward your belly-button. Hold for one count. Lower the bar by straightening your arms. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.