A 30-Minute PULL WORKOUT at home targeting your BACK and BICEP MUSCLES! This pull workout routine with dumbbells builds upper body strength in your “pull” muscles (back and biceps), while also raising your heart rate with quick cardio bursts.
A push/pull workout split breaks the muscle groups down into two categories, depending on whether the “work” of the exercise is happening when the muscle is lengthening (push) or contracting (pull).
The key difference between push workouts and pull workouts is the order in which the muscle contracts (shortens) and extends (lengthens).
During push exercises, the muscle starts short and ends the movement long. For an example reference these 6 upper body push exercises at home targeting the chest, shoulders and triceps.
During pull exercises, the muscle starts the movement long and ends shortened. See below and reference the 6 upper body pull exercises at home targeting the back and biceps.
Split training routines suggest strength training push muscles 1-2 days per week and pull muscles 1-2 days per week. This builds muscle and allows the body parts to rest and recover before the next split training strength workout.
What is a Pull Workout?
A pull workout, or pull day workout, focuses on muscles that contract when you pull the weight towards you; pulling movements. Think of how your bicep flexes as you pull the weights up towards your shoulder in a bicep curl.
An upper body pull day workout targets the:
How can I do Pull Exercises at home?
If you search “pull workouts” on Google the majority of the search results include upper body pull exercises that require gym equipment or a pull up bar, like:
Lat Pull Downs
But there are several pull exercises you can do at home using a set of dumbbells; including these six best upper body pull exercises:
Single Arm Rows
Double Arm Rows
Reverse Grip Rows
All of these upper body pull exercises you can do at home with dumbbells are included in today’s 30-minute pull workout.
30-Minute PULL Workout At Home: Back, Biceps + Cardio
Back, biceps and cardio — this PULL workout routine is perfect for building upper body strength at home.
And the quick cardio bursts are sure to raise your heart rate too, giving you an effective upper body strength training and cardio workout at home.
This workout alternates upper body pull exercises with cardio tabata intervals to build muscle and burn calories at home in 30 minutes. A great upper body split training routine to add to your weekly workout routine.
Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells (5-30 lbs).
I toggled between 15 lb dumbbells and 20 lb dumbbells during this pull day workout.
PULL CIRCUIT THREE: BACK and BICEPS Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. 2 Reverse Grip Rows + 2 Bicep Curls
2. Single Arm Back Fly + Hammer Curl
X3 Sets Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x2 sets)
1. ½ Burpee + Single Arm Back Row
2. Lateral Shuffles + Isometric Bicep Hold
6 Best Upper Body Pull Exercises At Home
1. Single Arm Row
Targets: the latissimus dorsi (or lats); largest back muscle. This unilateral exercise (working one side of the body at a time) also engages the bicep and core.
Trainer Tip: I recommend taking a staggered stance (as shown below) to take the pressure off your low back. Alternatively you can place your left knee and hand on a bench or chair to better support your low back.
How to do a Single Arm Row:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Option to keep feet parallel or take a slightly staggered stance to better support your low back (stepping your right leg slightly behind your left leg). Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in towards your left thigh (overhand grip).
Hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine.
Pull the dumbbell back towards your right hip (think of pulling from your elbow versus your wrist), as if you were starting a pull-start lawnmower. Stop once your elbow is in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from shoulder to elbow. Hold the row at the top for a moment squeezing your shoulder blade in.
With control, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
Repeat this movement for 40 seconds.
2. Dumbbell Pullover
Targets: The lats(latissimus dorsi), core and abs. This back exercise is often used to get rid of back fat under your bra.
How to do a Lying Overhead Pull or Dumbbell Pullover:
Lay flat on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees. Hold one or two dumbbells in your hands with arms extended overhead (one dumbbell horizontally or two dumbbells vertically).
With a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground.
Then exhale as you pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats. Think of pulling your armpits down towards your hips to return back to the starting position.
Repeat this movement for 40 seconds.
3. Single, Single, Double Bicep Curls
Targets: The bicep muscles (upper arms), core and abs. The brachialis (mid-arm) and brachioradialis (forearm).
How to do Single, Single, Double Bicep Curls:
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart and core engaged. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, alternate curling the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Perform one curl on the left arm, and one curl on the right arm, and then a double curl with both arms at the same time.
Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds.
4. 4 Hammer Curls + Isometric Bicep Hold and Pulse
Targets: The bicep muscles, specifically the long head of the bicep.
How to do 4 Hammer Curls + Isometric Bicep Hold and Pulse:
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart and core engaged. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in towards each other (hammer curl or overhand grip).
Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height.
With control, lower dumbbells back down to starting position. Perform 4 hammer curls.
Then hold your bicep curl half way in the hammer curl position (elbows at 90 degree angles) and pulse for a four-count.
Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds.
5. 2 Reverse Grip Rows + 2 Bicep Curls
Targets: The lower back, upper back (lats and rhomboids) and bicep muscles.
This is a true compound upper body pull exercise.
How to do Reverse Grip Rows + Bicep Curls:
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart and core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand/reverse grip or supine curl).
Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Perform two supine bicep curls.
Then hinge forward at the hips and perform two bent over reverse grip back rows. Dumbbells facing out, away from your body (reverse grip), pull the weights back towards your hips as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Stop once your elbows are in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from shoulder to elbow.
Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Repeat this pattern of two bicep curls and two reverse grip rows for 40 seconds.
6. Single Arm Back Fly + Hammer Curl
Targets: The rear delts (rear shoulders), and major upper back muscles including the rhomboids and trapezius; as well as the biceps and core.
A compound, unilateral exercise that requires core engagement while targeting the back and bicep muscles.
Trainer Tip: Again I recommend taking a staggered stance (as shown below) to take the pressure off your low back.
How to do Single Arm Back Fly + Hammer Curl:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Option to keep feet parallel or take a slightly staggered stance to better support your low back (stepping your right leg slightly behind your left leg).
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in toward your left thigh.
Keeping your right elbow locked by your side, squeeze your right bicep muscle to curl the weight up toward your right shoulder. With control, lower the dumbbell back to starting position.
Then hinge forward at the hips and perform a single arm bent over back fly. Pulling the dumbbell out to the right side of your body, up to shoulder-height. Squeezing your right shoulder blade.
Control the dumbbell back down as you return to the starting position.
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