The Best Calisthenics Exercises for Back and Biceps Development

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Pull-ups are widely renowned as the exercise of choice for developing an impressive upper body in the calisthenics space.

This applies regardless of whether you’re following a Street Workout approach involving more advanced movements and exercises or adhering to traditional calisthenic regimens.

In either case, training with pull-ups regularly is absolutely essential if you want to attain biceps and back muscles that stand out from the crowd.

To put it simply, pull-ups are the go-to calisthenics workout for building your back.

Keeping your workout routines simple and focused on the basics can go a long way in terms of improving your overall fitness level. For example, many people start off with just doing a few pull-ups.

After consistently performing them, they begin to note improvements in their execution, form, volume, speed, and muscle development. Pull-ups are particularly effective at helping tone biceps and back muscles, which are two important components for any strength training routine.

A general approach to working out should consider incorporating such basic exercises into the repetitive cycle as it’s an efficient means of attaining results without needing to get too complicated.

The Best Calisthenics Exercises for Back and Biceps Development

Can I Train My Back Without Equipment?

Strengthening the back with bodyweight exercises is absolutely possible and can be done without any equipment at all.

However, to fully maximize your back workout, investing in a pull-up bar, a suspension trainer, or a set of resistance bands is highly recommended. Not only are these pieces of equipment fairly affordable but they are also compact, thus easily storable and transportable if need be.

With these items you can tap into many classic exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and planks, as well as more creative routines that can help build stronger muscles throughout your entire back.

If you’re looking to take your back training to the next level, investing in one of these tools is definitely the way to go!

Can You Build Biceps With Calisthenics?

Building biceps through calisthenics is an attainable and beneficial goal. The most important requirement to achieving this is focusing on the correct exercises while ensuring good form.

This means mixing and matching a variety of pulling exercises optimized for the bicep muscle. Additionally, internalizing the mind-muscle connection by focusing on the contracting of the bicep during each exercise will yield better results.

Finally, taking your time with exercise is essential slow down the lowering phase of movements for increased time under tension for maximum hypertrophy of your biceps.

Best Calisthenics Exercises for Back and Biceps Wide Grip Pull-Ups

Below is my Opinion on the best exercises to work both your back and biceps:

Wide Grip Pull-Ups

The pull-up is a challenging calisthenics exercise that targets the entire upper body. If you are new to this exercise, a rubber band can help you make it manageable by reducing the tension in the pull-up motion.

After gaining confidence and strength in this variation, it can be used as a great way to start off your workout before transitioning into an easier pull-up exercise.

Despite being difficult initially, push yourself to achieve this exercise as it is an excellent method for building upper body strength and endurance.

Close Grip Chin-ups

Adding close grip chin-ups to a fitness routine is an effective way of targeting the biceps.

It is recommended to combine these with regular or wide pull-ups, and doing sets of 4-5 reps for each exercise can be sufficient for working those muscles well.

Doing this as part of an overall fitness program will not only make you stronger, but it can also help sculpt the biceps for more attractive arms.

Regular Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are a fantastic calisthenics exercise that activates multiple muscle groups depending on the grip you use.

Regular grip pull-ups offer great versatility due to the wide range of muscles it uses and its effectiveness in engaging the lats. Chin-ups, on the other hand, focus primarily on the biceps and work in synergy with regular pull ups to form an effective combination.

The number of sets to include depends on other exercises you’re also doing in your routine if you’re also doing push-up and dips for example, you may not need to devote too much time to additional variations.

When focusing solely on regular pull-ups, I recommend 5-10 sets for optimal benefit.


Chin-ups are a fantastic exercise for those new to calisthenics. Although one of the easier back exercises, they help your body to become familiar with pull-up movements and develop critical muscles in the back such as your lats, traps, and rhomboids.

Regular chin-up training can strengthen these muscle groups over time, allowing you to move on to more challenging variations like weighted pull-ups.

As you become more proficient in the movement, your best bet is to begin by doing the most difficult pull-up variations and end with chinups reps. This will help take advantage of your higher energy levels while building maximum strength.

Horizontal Pull-Ups/Body Rows

The body row is an effective exercise which is great for athletes looking to target their back muscles, biceps and rear deltoids.

This horizontal pull-up variation works the muscle groups differently than vertical pull-ups, making it ideal for both beginners who want to build strength as well as advanced athletes hoping to focus on skill training.

Through regular practice of this exercise, you can learn how to better use your own bodyweight while gaining a toned physique with activated, pumped and burned biceps, lats and rear deltoids.

All in all, body rows are an excellent exercise for developing upper-body strength and power.

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