Ask the Experts: Why Do Back Exercises Work My Biceps More Than My Back?

If you are feeling more burn in your biceps than your back during a back exercise, you are probably doing it wrong. Learn how to fix your technique on


Q: Back exercises seem to work my biceps more than my back. How can I fix this?

A: If you feel a burn in your biceps during a back exercise, you are probably doing it wrong. A simple technique flaw will fail to engage your back and inadvertently turn it into an arm exercise. Despite your everlasting quest to build huge biceps, this should not be your goal with back exercises.

When performing a back exercise, you need to actually pull with your back. It's easy for your shoulders to remain in a forward position, prompting you to complete the exercise by pulling your elbows backwards. Prevent this by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing them together during the move.

Try segmenting a back movement into two parts. First, pull your shoulders back as far as possible to initiate the pull. Then pull your elbows back to finish the movement. Once you master the segmented movements, start performing reps in a fluid motion.


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