Last updated on November 5th, 2022 at 01:50 pm
I was actually surprised to see this question asked so often, “Is it Okay to Do Biceps Before Back Day?”
However, I guess we all have different training schedules.
Plus, our bodies typically react differently to exercise.
With that being said, something doesn’t feel quite right about training biceps before back day, does it?
So, allow me to explain the potential benefits and pitfalls.
Is it Okay to Do Biceps Before Back Day?
It’s not usually a good idea to train biceps before back day. Your biceps are typically one of the weak links whenever you train back. So, if you’ve exhausted your biceps the day before then your back training will suffer. However, you may be able to do this if you have a day in-between your bicep training and back day, although this will depend on your powers of recovery. Even if you’re on a bicep specialization program it still isn’t recommended to train your biceps before back day.
1. Are You Selling Your Back Short?
To be honest, it doesn’t make any sense to me to do biceps before back day.
Okay, I admit the main weak links when it comes to training back is your grip and forearms.
Basically, either your grip or your forearms are going to give out before your upper back or lats.
However, you can typically get around this by using chalk or even straps if you really have to.
With that being said, another weak link when it comes to back training is your biceps.
And unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do to stop this happening.
I mean it’s not like wearing straps is going to help with bicep fatigue.
So, once your biceps are done, your set of rows, pull ups, pulldowns, or whatever other back exercise you’re performing, is over.
And this is exactly why I don’t think you should do biceps before back day.
In reality, you’re going to be selling your back short.
You’ll probably get a great pump training biceps the day before, especially if you train biceps alone, or even with just your triceps.
But, for most of us, our biceps won’t have fully recovered by the following day.
I appreciate that we all have varying powers of recovery.
So, this may not be an issue for some of you.
However, it’s likely to have an impact for most of us.
2. The Back is One of the Most Important Muscle Groups
I truly believe that the back is one of the most important muscle groups to train.
The back is the main support structure for your entire body.
It also houses some of the largest muscles in the body.
Plus, back training will help to support and stabilize your spine.
And this is just so important in the modern day and age.
The vast majority of us spend many hours a day in a seated position.
Whether this is being slumped over a desk, sitting at the wheel of a car, or simply sitting on the couch at home.
This can then manifest itself into other parts of our life, e.g. the way we stand, the way we walk, etc.
And of course, let’s not forget the huge pressure that we put on the spine every day through “texting neck”.
Basically, we do so much on a daily basis to almost ruin the integrity of the upper back and the surrounding muscles.
If there’s one muscle group that you want to train to the best of your abilities, it has to be the back.
So, I would never recommend having a half-hearted back session simply because you trained your biceps the day before.
The Importance of a Strong Back
3. Do You Have Something in-Between?
I’ve already mentioned that we all typically have varying powers of recovery.
Therefore, this could all be a complete moot point for some of you.
By this I mean that some of you may have the ability to miraculously recover from a bicep training session in order to hit your back the following day.
It’s unlikely, but it can still happen.
Then again, perhaps you simply want to train your biceps earlier in the week and your back a couple of days after.
So, maybe you train arms on a Monday, legs on Tuesday, and then back on Wednesday.
By the way, this probably isn’t the best body part split, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
However, with this type of training-split your biceps will have 48 hours to recover before you train your back.
This is actually a lot more sensible and you’re likely to get the best out of your back training.
Remember, your back is one of the most important muscle groups, not only in terms of muscle and strength, but also for your overall health.
So, training another body part, or even having a rest day, in-between training biceps and back is a far better option.
4. Are You Specializing Biceps?
I guess one of the main reasons that you’re looking to do biceps before back day is because you want to focus more on your biceps.
There are times that we all feel that one muscle is lagging behind the others and therefore it could do with some extra work.
Then again, the biceps are also one of the most popular muscles to train.
I mean, who doesn’t want a pair of t-shirt busting, bulging biceps?
If this is the case, you know that your biceps get a pretty good hit on back day anyway, but you want to train them more often to literally force them to grow.
I have no problem with focusing more on one particular muscle group, but there’s still a right way and a wrong way to do it.
And once more, I don’t feel that training your biceps before back day is the right approach.
Adding muscle and size to any body part, and this includes the biceps, means that you need to add mass to your frame.
So, the best way to achieve this is through eating a calorie surplus and training the largest muscles in the body.
You can then put some extra work into the specific muscle group you want to focus on.
So, this means that you should still be training your back to the best of your abilities.
I would much rather that you added a bicep exercise to the end of your back workout at the beginning of the week.
Then you could also add another bicep exercise to the end of your shoulder workout in the middle of the week.
And finally, you can have an arm-specific day at the end of the week, which allows you to hit the biceps with more exercises.
5. Rearrange Your Weekly Schedule
So, you can probably tell that I’m not a fan of training your biceps before your back.
In fact, I would much rather that you completely rearrange your weekly workout schedule in order to stop this happening.
I guess that you’re probably looking at a typical “bro-split”, i.e. training one body part a day.
If this is the case then there is a much better way to ensure that you get the best out of every single muscle group.
For me, I would want to start the week with a chest day followed by a back day.
I would then have a rest day, which is then followed by shoulders, legs, and finally arms, before having another rest day.
By using the above training split you’ll find that none of the muscle groups overlap with each other.
This means that you can train each muscle group without fear of impacting on one another.
Furthermore, this would also be the ideal split if you want to concentrate more on training your biceps.
As I’ve mentioned, you can add a biceps exercise to the end of your back and shoulder workouts.
And then you have the final day of the week to really nail your arms.
Are Bro-Split Workouts Any Good?
So, as you can see, it’s not advisable to do biceps before back day.
The biceps typically play a role in your back training, so if they’re fatigued beforehand you won’t be getting the best out of your back workout.
The back is definitely one of the most important muscle groups to train.
Not only for muscle and strength purposes, but also for your overall health.
Therefore, it makes much more sense to approach your back training completely fresh.
And you can still achieve this if you’re training biceps once or even three times a week.
I’ve taken this opportunity to answer another bicep-related questions, namely whether you should train your biceps if your triceps are sore.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.