Strengthen Your Back And Biceps In 40 Minutes With This Five-Move Workout

Man performing single-arm dumbbell preacher curl in gym
(Image credit: Viacheslav Peretiatko / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

In the ’70s, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest and back workout was two hours long. For us mere mortals who don’t have that kind of time to spare, we need faster ways to get a great pump and pack on muscle. 

Enter this “Clang ‘N’ Bang” back and biceps workout from six-time CrossFit Games athlete Dan Bailey. It pairs strength work with a circuit to help you build muscle, strength and power in less than an hour.

Watch Bailey’s Instagram Reel to find out which exercises await you, then warm up and give the session a go for yourself.

Dan Bailey’s “Clang ‘N’ Bang” Workout 

Bailey kicks off with one of the best barbell exercises: the bent-over row. This is performed as a five-sets-of-five-reps strength piece, so go as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. You should be working hard to perform the last rep of each set.

That will get your back and biceps fired up and more than ready for Bailey’s four-move circuit that targets a number of smaller muscles. The two dumbbell curl variations zero in on your biceps, while the rear delt row and face pull recruit muscles across the upper back as well as the posterior deltoids—the rear heads of your deltoids or shoulder muscles, which play a crucial role in stabilizing the joint. 

By performing these exercises as a 10-8-6-4-2 rep circuit, Bailey accumulates as much volume as a longer bodybuilding session in less time. You’ll still complete 30 reps of each exercise but it’s broken up differently. You’ll also rest less than if you did three sets of 10 with 60-second breaks.

The cumulative effect of Bailey’s straight sets-circuit combo is a comprehensive upper back and biceps session that’s wrapped up, by my estimation, in about 40 minutes.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.