30-Minute PULL Workout (Back, Biceps + Cardio)

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.

Jump to Pull Workout Routine: 6 Upper Body Pull Exercises At Home

Ever since we published this popular Push Day Workout (targeting the chest, shoulders and triceps), my DMs have been FULL of requests for a PULL DAY WORKOUT!

Here it is a 30-Minute Pull Workout at home using a set of dumbbells.

This workout is brought to you in partnership with NOW® — supporting my fitness goals with natural nutritional supplements and sports nutrition products (aka pre and post-workout fuel).

I’m sharing more about NOW® and my favorite protein powder and post-workout recovery supplement below.

30-Minute PULL Workout At Home | single arm bicep curl

What are Push/Pull Workouts? 

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:

Pull Day Workout | single arm dumbbell back fly

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
  • Pull Ups
  • Seated Rows
  • Barbell Rows
  • Cable Curls

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 
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Bicep Curls
  • Hammer Curls 

All of these upper body pull exercises you can do at home with dumbbells are included in today’s 30-minute pull workout.

Pull Day Workout (back and biceps) Pin for Pinterest

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. 

Equipment:

Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells (5-30 lbs). 

I toggled between 15 lb dumbbells and 20 lb dumbbells during this pull day workout.

Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Pull Workout video at the top of this post.  I’ll provide form cues for all pull day exercises.

The format looks like this:

  • 3 Circuits – one circuit for back, one circuit for biceps, and one combo back and biceps circuit.
  • 2 Dumbbell Strength Exercises Per Muscle Group — completed in 40/20 splits (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest) x 3 sets.
  • 2 Cardio Tabata Exercises in Each Circuit x 3 sets.

Alternatively, work through the pull day exercises below at your own pace. I’ve included GIFs and how to do the six upper body pull exercises below.

PULL CIRCUIT ONE: BACK
Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Single Arm Row
2. Dumbbell Pullover
X3 Sets
Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Lateral Hop + Burpee Row
2. Lateral Shuffle Over Dumbbells
X3 Sets

PULL CIRCUIT TWO: BICEPS
Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Single, Single, Double Curls
2. 4 Hammer Curls + Isometric Bicep Hold and Pulse
X3 Sets
Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Jab, Hook, Knee
2. Plank Jacks + Shoulder Taps
X3 Sets

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
X3 Sets

Single Arm Row | upper body pull exercise at home

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.

dumbbell single arm row

How to do a Single Arm Row:

  1. 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).
  2. Hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine.
  3. 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.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  5. 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.

dumbbell pullover

How to do a Lying Overhead Pull or Dumbbell Pullover: 

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

alternating bicep curls

How to do Single, Single, Double Bicep Curls:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

hammer curls with dumbbells

How to do 4 Hammer Curls + Isometric Bicep Hold and Pulse:

  1. 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).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height.
  3. With control, lower dumbbells back down to starting position. Perform 4 hammer curls.
  4. Then hold your bicep curl half way in the hammer curl position (elbows at 90 degree angles) and pulse for a four-count.
  5. 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.

reverse grip row and bicep curl

How to do Reverse Grip Rows + Bicep Curls:

  1. 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).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Perform two supine bicep curls.
  3. 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.
  4. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  5. 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.

single arm back fly and hammer curl

How to do Single Arm Back Fly + Hammer Curl:

  1. 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).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in toward your left thigh.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Control the dumbbell back down as you return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds.

hammer curls | pull day

More Upper Body Push/Pull Workout Routines:

Post-Workout Nutrition featuring NOW®

I’m answering two of the most common questions that land in my DMs around post-workout nutrition.

1. What protein powder do you use?

I use this Organic Pea Protein Powder.

It’s a non-GMO vegetable protein isolate that has 12 grams of easily digested protein.

Each two-scoop serving typically has:

  • 12 grams of protein — to assist with muscle growth.
  • 2,300 mg of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) 
  • 1,000 mg of arginine

I add two scoops to fruit and vegetable smoothies in the morning. Or I’ll just add two scoops to plain water or milk in a shaker bottle after a strength workout.

2. What do you do to help with muscle soreness after workouts?

  1. Stretch — try this 10-Minute Full Body Stretch Routine.
  2. Foam Roll — try these 8 Best Foam Roller Exercises.
  3. ZMA®Capsules — a combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B-6 that I take before bed. Designed to maximize absorption and to promote recovery from exercise.*

Why zinc and magnesium for exercise recovery?*

  • Zinc plays a central role in the regulation of normal cellular growth and tissue repair, as well as the maintenance of a healthy immune system.*
  • Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of electrolyte balance, energy production and normal neuromuscular function.*

Because physical activity can increase the need for these two minerals, ZMA® is the ideal supplement to aid in their replenishment.*

If you want to give these supplements a try, you can get 20% OFF your NOWfoods.com purchase using code: NML

*Promo code valid through 12/31/2021.

Post Workout Recovery Supplements from Now

We all have unique nutritional needs and these needs change throughout our season of life.

Supplements are an effective way to ensure we are getting the daily recommended intake of essential vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients necessary for optimal health. 

My other favorite NOW nutritional supplements include: 

  1. Vitamin D – for immune system support (especially during MN winters).* And to help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.* I personally take these Vitamin D Softgels and use this Liquid Vitamin D-3 for the kids (it comes with an amazing drop dispenser for infants, babies and toddlers).
  2. Prenatal + DHA – I’ve been taking these prenatal vitamins for the past five years; while pregnant, nursing, trying to get pregnant, and repeat. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that my body can use whether I’m pregnant, nursing, or just being a woman. I love the quality of the ingredients and price-point considering I consume these daily and that can add up.
  3. Elderberry + Zinc Lozenges or these ElderMune™ Capsules for immune system maintenance if I’m feeling run down, or under the weather.* 

If you want to give these supplements a try, you can get 20% OFF your NOWfoods.com purchase using code: NML

*Promo code valid through 12/31/2021.

Note, these are the supplements I personally take on a daily basis, but of course I have to say that you should personally check with your physician or midwife about what might be best for you especially if you’re pregnant or nursing. 

FDA Disclaimer

This is a sponsored post in partnership with NOW®. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

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At Home Pull Day Workout Routine: Back and Biceps

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