Back Workout with a Bicep Finisher!

This week has just been one of those weeks–crazy, busy, stressful, etc…

So, even though this workout is my first lift of the week ( ), I’m not calling the week a wash; instead, I’ll make the most of the days I have left this week (which means Thursday-Friday and consistency through the weekend), hit each body part, and be ready to start fresh next Monday.

One of the positives about having taken several days off from lifting is that my body was rested and ready to go yesterday.  I teamed up with Frank of Frank’s Fitness again yesterday, and needless to say, we were pumped up with the eye of the tiger before we set out to bend that bar ( okay, so I didn’t bend the bar…but Frank definitely did!).

  • The workout started with a quick warm-up on the bike (5-10) to get the blood flowing and a bit of stretching.
    • I tend to have a tight low back and hamstrings, so stretching is always essential for me prior to pretty much all compound lifts, but especially squats and deadlifts.
  • Then we set out to the bar for deadlifts.DL Serious Face
    • First set was just the bar, warming up the body for the movement, getting used to my new Schiek weightlifting belt , and feeling out how loose/tight my back was to determine if further stretching was necessary before I added more weight to the movement.
    • Second set for me was the addition of a 25 lb plate to either side of the bar for 10-12 reps.
    • Third set I jumped up to a 45 lb plate on either side of the bar for 10 reps.
    • Fourth set was my heavy set, and my PR.  Added a 45 lb plate and a 25 lb plate to either
      side of the bar for 2 reps at 185 lb…then I quickly switched out the 25 lb plates for a 10lb + 5 lb plate to finish the set for a total of 8 reps.  Whewww, those first two reps definitely took the energy out of me, and DL Hip Hingethe reason I only completed two reps is that I didn’t feel comfortable with my form after that second rep; and for me, if I can’t complete a rep using proper form, then I should lower the weight.Fifth and final set for me was back to the 45 lb plate on either side for 12 reps…and this felt so much lighter on this set than it did on the third set so I was able to knock out those 12 reps pretty easily which felt pretty awesome .
    • So if you’re wondering about that bending of the bar I mentioned, that actually happened when Frank PR’d at 505 lb for 3 reps… whoa!
  • Next, we used the assisted pull-up machine to work on the negative portion of the pull-up movement instead of just the straight assisted pull-up.

Pull UpI’ve been sort of working on getting myself up over the bar for the past 6 months or so…and I say sort of because I have been working on it, but I also realize that I haven’t been putting forth the focused and consistent effort that I really should have been in order to reach my goal.  I honestly, just kind of hate working on pull-ups…I just want to be able to do them .

  • Anyway, in an effort to work on the strength required to complete an unassisted pull-up, I decided to use the assist machine to focus on the negative portion of the movement.  So this meant power in the up motion of the move, and slow focused control in the lowering portion of the move.

Pull Up Negative

  • You have to play with the weight a bit to get to the “Goldilocks” place where you can get yourself up but the negative really exhausts the muscles.  Completing negatives unassisted when working on pull-ups is super effective and leaves you feeling sore the next day (in a good way!), so if you’ve never tried them, you definitely should!




  • Our last back exercise was a barbell row.
    • We used a standard barbell, first set added a 10 lb plate to either side for 10 reps.
    • Second set I added another 5 lb to each side for 10 reps.
    • Third set another 5 lb to each side for 10 reps.
    • Fourth set back down to just a 10 lb plate on either side and pushed it out to 15 reps.
  • I decided to throw in a bicep finisher, since as I said, my goal is to hit all body parts this week even if just for 1-2 exercises.
    • This bicep finisher is what I know as 21s.  It consists of 7 reps on each arm for 3 sets of different bicep curls–one set of 3 = 1 full set.
    • So, alternating standard bicep curls (7 each arm–total of 14); alternating hammer curls (7 each arm–total of 14); and alternating cross body hammer curls (7 each arm–total of 14).
    • For my sets, I used 12.5 lb dumbbells for my first two sets and then upped it to 15 lb dumbbells for my third and final set.
    • I like doing this exercise because I have never enjoyed working my biceps, so I feel like if I do this, even if only this, at least I’ve worked the muscles in multiple ways.

**Side Note** I really liked using a weightlifting belt for this workout.  I have never used one prior to this, but I felt that, especially with the lower back soreness I tend to experience, it helped provide extra support that made a positive difference in how I felt during the movements and also post-workout.  I used the belt for both deadlifts and rows.

All around, great workout…as evident in my post-workout smile pictured above .

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