Beachbody Reviews

P90X Back & Biceps: All the Details (A review)

April 12, 2016

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P90X Back & Biceps–It’s NOT Just for Men. Girls, you can (and should) do this workout, too. Buy Beachbody’s P90X as a gift for the man in your life then ‘borrow’ it for the next 3 months.

You’ll both be happy with the results.

Worried that lifting weights will be boring?  Guess what?  Sometimes it is.

But Tony Horton does a great job at keeping things as exciting as possible in Back & Biceps.  And the results are worth it.

Ladies, are you worried about bulking up?  Ain’t gonna happen.  Use the weights I do and you’ll slim and tone your physique.

Back and Biceps is just ONE of the routines in the P90X program.  Here’s a reminder of what the entire P90X series is about:

Let me tell you exactly what you’ll need to do P90X Back and Biceps…

This post may contain Amazon (or other) affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission. You can get more information about that here.

the cover art of the P90X Back and Biceps video

Instructor-Tony Horton


Equipment*-Dumbbells (8, 10, 12, 15, 20, & 25’s), pull-up bar with or without assist (I use an assist band but you can use a chair, too)

*These are the weights I use.  You may want to go heavier (or lighter).   You can always start with these and do less reps if it’s too much weight.

Length-52 minutes

HRM-296 calories


My rating– A

Girls, if you’re still shopping for weights check out these colored dumbbells. They’re my favorite.  And read, A Woman’s Guide to Buying Dumbbells, for more helpful suggestions.

The Important Stuff about P90X Back & Biceps

There’s a guy showing you how to do every exercise with a band. If you have dumbbells use those instead.  It’s so hard (nearly impossible) to find a band that’s the right resistance for every exercise.  If you don’t have a pull-up bar, that’s where I’d focus your band work.

If you hardly ever do weights then you can start one step down in weight from what I’m using on each exercise until you figure out what works for you.  Remember, quality is more important than quantity with weight work.

I’ve said this before but just because some of the people on this video are in a full-out flop sweat doesn’t mean you will be. If you’re barely sweating it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.  I sweat like an animal during cardio but very little when I do resistance training.

There are 24 exercises in this workout that focus on either biceps or back muscles. In this review I share with you the dumbbells and number of reps I do for each exercise.  You can print this summary out to use as reference.

If you’re using an assist band (like I do) to do the pull-ups make sure you switch feet every now and then.

I didn’t realize how many styles of bicep curls there were until I did them all in this one workout.  Variety is what keeps this routine interesting.

Remember to read to the end of this post for details on every exercise as well as links to a few places you can compare prices on this video 🙂


The warm-up is about 2 minutes of aerobic moves and then 6 minutes of stretching.  This is a nice stretch segment (I always forget about my neck).

Main Workout (The Exercises in P90X Back & Biceps)

Wide Front Pull-Ups

I use my assist band and do 10 reps.

The girl on the video is using a chair for an assist.  I’ve never done that before but I’m sure it works fine, just make sure you stop when you’re tired so you don’t flip your chair.

Lawnmower (One-Arm Lat Row)

I use a 25 lb. dumbbell and do 10-12 reps.

You’ll be tempted to yank the weight up but that’s not right.  The exercise is a smooth motion.


Everybody does 21 repsI use my 12’s.

Keep your core tight.  Try not to swing.

One-Arm Cross-Body Curls

I keep my 12 lb. dumbbells for this exercise and my goal is 12-15 reps

Switch Grip Pull-Ups

You do half the pull-ups with your hands forward and half with an underhand grip.  I can only do about 8.  I try to use minimal assist (of course).

Elbow Out Lawn Mower

I do about 12 per side with a 20 lb. dumbbell.

Take note of the form before you start.

Standing Bicep Curls

For this bicep exercise I use 15’s and do 10-12 reps.

Try not to rock.  Focus on form so that every rep counts.

One-Arm Concentration Curl

I go down to a 10 lb. dumbbell for this exercise and my goal is at least 12 reps

Corn-Cob Pull-Up

I always forget how bad I am at pull-ups until I do this program.  I can only do about 4 of these.  It’s annoying.

Reverse Grip Bent-Over Row

I do 12-15 reps with 20’s.

I put my feet side by side for this exercise instead of staggered.  Keep your back flat and try not to bounce.

Open-Arm Curls

I use my 15’s and do at least 12 reps

Static Arm Curls

Everybody’s goal is 16 reps for this exercise so I only use 10 lbs.

Your arms will feel pumped up to the size of bowling balls at this point.  Don’t get cocky but, yes, you’re a badass.


Towel Pull-Ups

I don’t use a towel to do this.  It’s a pain to mess with the towel and the assist band.  Instead, I put one hand in the wide-grip position and one in a narrow position (with knuckles facing me).  I switch hands half-way.


Tony goes a little fast for my taste on this exercise.  I still get in the 40 reps but I finish after the group.  I use my 15’s.

Cohen Curl

I use my 10’s here and do at least 12 reps.

Corkscrew Curls

Make sure you’re doing the full rotation.

I do 12-15 per side with my 12’s.


This will be the first time in your life you’ll be happy to be told to do a chin-up (because your biceps will be quivering and need a little break)

This is a traditional chin-up with reverse grip.  Most likely you’ll be able to do more of these with this hand grip than you can with a forward grip.  (Hey girls, any of you remember that exercise we had to do in PE in elementary school where you hang in the pull-up position?  What the hell was that all about?)

Seated Back Flys

Girls, I wouldn’t recommend you do this exercise with more than 15 lb. dumbbells until you’re familiar with it.  I do 12-15 reps with my 15’s.

Curl Up/Hammer Down

I use my 12’s and do 12-15 reps (12 lb. dumbbells are my Go To weight for most curls).

This exercise also hits the brachioradialis (forearm).  You’ll need to take that muscle out of hibernation for the monkey bars if you ever do an obstacle race like the Tough Mudder so this is a good exercise to remember.

Hammer Curls

I go up in weight for hammer curls.  I use my 15’s and squeeze out 10-12 reps for this one.

Max Rep Pull-Ups

I usually choose the wide grip for these and my goal is 10 (but I don’t always get there).


These are on the floor.  I hate putting my face in the carpet (what’s that smell?) but I love this exercise.

In/Out Hammers

I use my 12’s for these and do 10 (that’s 20 reps total)

Strip-Set Curls

I get out my 8, 10, 12, & 15’s for this last exercise.  You do 8 reps of each weight.

Make the most of this last exercise.

Cool Down/Stretch

There’s about 2 minutes of cool down and stretching.  The pot stirrer feels amazing after all those pull-ups.  I’d recommend you keep stretching your back out a few more minutes on your own.  My traps (those are the muscles in your shoulders at the base of your neck, you use them when you shrug your shoulders) are always really tight after this workout so I try and get them to calm down before I get on with my day.

Now What?

Back & Biceps is one of my favorite videos in the original P90X series.

It’s a great program to incorporate into your Tough Mudder (or other obstacle course) training.

You can find the P90X program by Beachbody on Amazon.

If you can borrow a few videos from someone that already has P90X then, Back & Biceps is one of the ones to try out.

P90X Back & Biceps is also in the library of workouts of a Beachbody on Demand membership.  Try BOD free for a trial period and see what you think.

Read, Beachbody on Demand–5 Reasons to Give it a Try, for answers to all your questions about the program.

Thanks for stopping by!

You’re awesome! Just sayin’


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  1. Shannon says:

    I forgot about this workout. Good reminder that I need to bust it out before the TM. Unfortunately, I will have to use bands instead of a pull up bar. Hopefully will still get some benefit.

    • One_Strong_Southern_Girl says:

      The band will still get you results! I just prefer dumbbells. This is a great workout for women.

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