In every gym that you go to, you will see people pumping their biceps.
Biceps along with the pecs and abs are sometimes called vanity muscles because they are the most visible and therefore commands the most respect.
Invariably, when you ask someone to show you his muscles, he will probably flex his biceps.
Before we discuss biceps development, I want to point out that the biceps make up only one third of your upper arm with triceps the other two-thirds.
So to have an impressive arm, you must build your triceps too or the effort on your biceps will not show good results.
Many people fail to realize this and that is why you see them doing curls after curls without much improvement. We will touch on triceps exercises in another article. For now, let’s talk about biceps.
Here are some exercises that will blast your biceps. Most of you would have done some or all of these exercises.
The question I am asking is, are the exercises done in the correct form and techniques because if they are not, you will most likely be wasting your time as your biceps will not grow to its full potential.
Perform each exercise for 3-5 sets once or twice a week and at reps between 6-10, but make sure that at the high end of the reps, you will not be so fatigued that you can’t perform another rep in good form.
a) Standing Barbell Curl/ EZY Bar
You can perform this exercise with either a straight bar or an ezy bar. This is a great mass building exercises for your biceps.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and grasp the bar with an underhand grip, hands should also be about shoulder width apart.
Curl the bar up slowly focusing intensely on the biceps contraction. Do not swing or use momentum to curl especially at the later stages when your biceps get weaker. Never swing or move your body, only your arms are moving.
Keep your elbows locked to the side of your body and do not pivot them.
Then lower the weight, taking 3-4 seconds resisting the weight on the way down to emphasize the negative part of the exercise. Never let gravity pull the weights down.
At all times, do not curl or bend your wrist which must always be in a straight neutral position.
b) Incline Dumbbell Curls
This exercise will hit different fibre in your biceps and gives you the peak bicep look.
Sit back on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows well forward throughout the movement, curl the weight upward and toward the shoulder level.
Then squeeze your biceps hard at the top position. Lower the weights again, slowly under full control. The speed and techniques are similar to what was described earlier.
c) Preacher Curl
Similar to barbell curl but using the preacher curl station. This is an excellent bicep peaking isolation exercise.
d) Hammer Curl
Hammer curl gives your biceps the full look and your forearms are also working hard.
Similar to incline dumbbell curl except you will be using the hammer grip on the dumbbell like holding a hammer knocking nails in and standing up instead of sitting down.
e) Build Biceps Tips
Focus on the movement of your biceps all throughout the motion. Don’t lift weights that are too heavy that will compromise your form and techniques to show off.
By slightly turning and squeezing, you’ll build more peak on your biceps. Like all exercises, pose and stretch the biceps between sets. This is to flush out lactic acid and help your biceps recover better for the next set.
Remember to change the order of the exercises you perform after 4-6 weeks to shock your biceps into new growth and watch those arms grow!
What to Know – Genetics
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry Scott have two of the most impressive bicep peaks in the history of the sport. Sergio Oliva had thick, beast-like triceps. Following their training routines won’t help you.
You are a prisoner of your genetics. You can’t carve a bigger peak with hard work, nor can you plaster a Oliva-sized horse shoe on your triceps with endless sets of pushdowns.
They is what they is.
Understand, I am not telling you to give up. By all means, keep working hard! You have no clue where your genetics might lead you. (Well, some experienced lifters might have a clue) But if you have flat, lumpy biceps with a peak like a slow-rolling hill, more muscle mass will only exaggerate their current shape.
You can’t change the genetic shape of your biceps and triceps with hard work.
How to Grow – The First 2 Years
The fastest way to grow huge guns during your first several years of training is by focusing on heavy, compound lifts. These exercises include bench press, squats, deadlifts, and barbell rows.
If you only focus on your arms, you’re in trouble.
The first couple years of training produce the best results. The body is ready and willing to add muscle. And the fastest way to add muscle is by pushing for crazy strength on heavy lifts.
By adding more muscle across your entire body, your arms will grow. You can still do several sets for your biceps and triceps, but your primary arm builders should be compound lifts.
How to Grow – More Effort!
You can’t continue to use the same weight week after week, and expect to add inches onto your arms. It doesn’t work that way.
Big arms are made by big effort. Push yourself on every set of every exercise. Try for one more rep! And when you can perform 8-12 reps, add more weight! Effort!
Don’t waste sets. There’s no point in heading to the gym if you’re not pushing your body to the limit. Make it your goal to improve each week. This is the fastest path to quick arm gains.
How to Grow – Volume
High volume is not the way to go. I’m not telling you to perform only one working set like Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates. What I am telling you is this – you do NOT need to perform 20 sets for biceps and triceps each week.
Most natural bodybuilders grow MORE with lower volume. Each of us is different – obviously – but very few of us need more then 6 to 10 working sets for biceps and triceps.
Hard work is a good thing.
How to Grow – Triceps
Many young lifters focus too much on the biceps, and neglect serious, and heavy tricep training. Did you know that the tricep muscle makes up 2/3rds of your arm volume? Simply put, if you want bigger arms, you need to focus on the triceps first and foremost.
And don’t just train the triceps with light weight, isolation style movements. The triceps are a big, brawny, beefy muscle group. They need to be stimulated with heavy weights.
When’s the last time you used close grip bench presses to hammer your triceps? How about seated overhead tricep extensions with a heavy dumbbell? And how about skullcrushers?
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