Posted January 29, 2014

Back Friendly Biceps Training

Today’s post comes from Rob King, all the way from Newfoundland, Canada. Rob’s a good friend and solid guy who is incredibly passionate about helping people. He runs a gym called Heavyweights, which regularly works with dozens of people at once, putting them through body transformation programs and churning out amazing results.


There is no way around it back pain sucks.

If you have or have had back pain you know what I mean.  It’s torture.

You know what else sucks.

Having small biceps.

The horror.


When you combine a bad back with small biceps you have a very unhappy lifter.

Most of the big lifts for biceps are off the menu when you have back pain.  Exercises like standing bar curls, standing dumbbell curls will generally make the pain in your lower back even worse.  When you add ego of lifting too much with bar curl on top of a bad back and you are asking for disaster.

I hurt my back years ago doing a heavy single on sumo deadlift.  My ego got the better of me and I paid the price for it.

But getting back to the point of this article having a bad back sucks, having small biceps sucks almost as much.

These exercises are designed to have NO spinal compression.  Your biceps will get worked, but your lower back won’t take a beating which is important.

A few months ago I wrote an article for Dean’s blog called “Back Friendly Leg Training” so I thought an article on Back Friendly Bicep Training would benefit those with back pain that are trying to build their biceps.

Here are 5 bicep exercises that you can do with back pain

Facing Forward Incline Curl

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3 Cues For Facing Forward Incline Curl

  • Get comfortable in your starting position
  • Make sure to squeeze at the top, this is a great contraction exercise
  • You can also do hammer curl and zotman curl variations

Lying On Back/Ground Cable Curl

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3 Cues For Ground Cable Curl

  • Lie flat on your back, use a pad under your back if necessary.  Be in a no pain position if possible.
  • Keep your elbows tight to your body
  • Keep your head back against the flooor

1 Arm Cable Curl (Full Stretch & Shortening)

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3 Cues For 1 Arm Cable Curl

  • Focus on fully stretching and fully squeezing the muscle
  • Use a weight that isn’t too heavy, again focus on the squeeze and stretch
  • Depending how tall or short you are adjust the cable height as necessary

Lying Bicep Cable Curl

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3 Cues For Lying Bicep Curl

  • Keep your elbows tight
  • Focus on the contraction
  • Get someone to pass you the weight down to you once it gets heavy

TRX Bicep Curl

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3 Cues For TRX Bicep Curl

  •  Keep your core and glutes tight so your lower back doesn’t get involved
  •  Keep your elbows tight
  •  Walk your feet forward or backward to find the right resistance for doing your curls

For years I was hurt and in pain and couldn’t train the way I wanted.  Thankfully for T-Nation & Dean’s Blog I have learned so much to make my own training and my clients with bad backs training so much better.

Give these exercises a try and any questions or comments I am here to help.

About The Author

Rob King is an entrepreneur, fitness writer, fitness presenter, strength coach, and body transformation expert. He is a competitive power lifter, martial arts black belt, and has been featured in publications such as T-Nation, Muscle-Insider, Inside Fitness, EliteFTS and more. He is the creator of the Rippedin42 and Builtin42 Transformation Programs.



Rob king