Building a strong back can pay dividends for not only a muscular look but also living a healthy lifestyle. Strong traps can not only add a nice look to your shoulders but also help prevent neck injury. To finish things off, everyone likes a nice looking pair of biceps. To that end we have a nice, basic program for the beginner to work these body parts.
Beginner workouts usually focus around basic compound movements. You don’t need a lot of fancy exercises or weird progressions at an early stage of lifting. Instead we focus on great form, brief workouts, and learning how to work the muscles properly. Ideally this is part of a 3-day split routine.
Beginner Back and Biceps Training
Make sure to do a nice 10 minute warm-up for the entire body with light cardio such as an elliptical machine to get the blood flowing. Then stretch lightly before you start lifting.
- Deadlifts – 5 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions – This is a big, heavy exercise that will build your body up. Basically you are lifting a weight from a ‘dead’ position. Your back should be flat, knees slightly bent, arms straight, and using your body like a piston to go up and down. Don’t increase weights until the form is comfortable and correct.
- Pullups – 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Hands should be placed with hands wide. Aim for a full stretch and the bottom and pull your chest to the bar. Reps should be slower to engage more muscles. Using momentum is okay on the last few reps when you can’t lift your body with muscle alone.
- Bent Rows – 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions – This is a classic exercise that works the middle back. You keep the knees slightly bent, head up, and back flat. The weight is pulled up towards your lower ribs. You should be going slowly enough that the weight has a slight pause at the top before slowly lowering it.
- Dumbbell Shrugs – 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Trying and squeeze your shoulders up until you touch your ears. Hold at the top for a few counts and then lower slowly for a full stretch.
- Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions – Using a large straight bar is preferred. Load up a reasonable weight you can control. The curls should be slow on the way up and down with a slight hold at the top and full stretch at the bottom. No Swinging for best results.
- Dumbbell Curls – 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Do these sitting and alternate each hand. As you get near the top rotate your hands so your palms are facing your shoulders. This will help with the rounded shape of the bicep. Try and move the elbows as little as possible.
Workouts should be hard, focused, and then finished. You don’t want to train longer but instead harder in a brief time before you get to rest and recovery. A muscle doesn’t grow in the gym; it grows during rest.