Big arms come from great effort. But you also have to be smart about what you do in the gym. Here’s our guide to making your biceps epic.
You’re on a mission to build a bigger, rock-hard body but aren’t quite satisfied with your biceps. If you’re in the gym every day, training for the bigger arms you’ve always wanted without seeing the results, then maybe you aren’t training as efficiently as you could.
It may be time for you to switch your workouts up a bit. You’re not going to achieve bigger biceps by executing the same workouts you do every training session. Including a variety of exercises in your workout will get you those big, rock-hard biceps you desire much quicker than doing the same old boring routine every single time.
Efficient biceps training technique targets all areas of the biceps including a group of muscles called the biceps brachii. These muscles are involved in arm, shoulder and hand movement. The biceps has two heads. The short, outer head and the elongated, inner head, of which make up the upper arm.
This area is responsible for elbow flexion or the hand’s ability to move toward the shoulder and the elbow supination, which allows the palm of your hand to rotate upward. It also provides shoulder flexion and transverse flexion.
The biceps brachii is closely related to the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. They are not in the same anatomical structure but are a big part of the biceps muscle family. The brachialis, the largest elbow flexor, is a muscle that stretches from the elbow and runs between your biceps and triceps. Accounting for most of the muscle mass in the lower biceps, it’s impossible to achieve bigger biceps without working this muscle.
They are essentially connectors between the biceps and the forearm. The brachioradialis, of course, is the muscle that accounts for the upper, outer portion of your forearm. Working each of these muscles will result in bigger, sculpted biceps.
The Following Techniques And Bicep Workouts
The hammer curls exercise will help strengthen your brachialis and will in turn, lead to bigger muscle mass in the arms.
Position your elbows at the sides of your body and ensure they remain fixed throughout the routine to avoid any shoulder and upper arm movement that would inhibit the brachialis from being worked to full potential.
Firmly grip the dumbbell weights with the palms of your hands facing each other. Curl the weights up to your shoulder without moving your shoulders. Then, lower the weights slowly. To add variety to this exercise, try alternating arms to focus on each brachialis muscle or work both at the same time.
You will need two dumbbell weights for this exercise and can add weight, as your arms get stronger. To maximize the results of this exercise, beginners to intermediates should do three sets with 8 to 12 repetitions. If you are on an advanced level, you should increase the number of repetitions to 12 to 15. Or, you could do four sets of 10 repetitions during this part of your workout.
Be careful not to overwork your muscles.
Push-Up Position Hammer Curls
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned push-up routine to jog your memory of 9th grade P.E. Push-ups target the biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest. This push-up, however, is a little different.
The push-up hammer curl exercise makes those 9th grade P.E. exercises seem like mush. This exercise is slightly different from the common push-ups workout. You will use hammer weights to target the biceps directly instead of using your entire upper body to target the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs.
With this exercise, it’s important that your body is in the right form. Start in a plank position, with your hands shoulder-length apart, hammer weights in both. Make sure you have a firm grip on the weights and that your palms are facing each other, not downward.
You will alternate from right to left arms in 30 to 60-second intervals by curling the weight in one hand and lifting it to your shoulder without moving your upper arm. This will work both arms evenly and will prevent you from making the mistake of shifting too much weight onto one arm when using both.
The best part about this workout is its ability to target your body in more than one area. Not only does it build muscle mass in your biceps, the motion of the one-arm hammer curls puts the weight on your core muscles, which need to work extra hard to stabilize your spine. Because of this, the push-up hammer curls will also target your abs.
How’s that for a multi-purpose exercise?
The greatest role of the biceps is the elbow flexion so curls are the best technique to target the brachialis, forearm, brachioradialis and, of course, the biceps muscles. Curls stimulate the most amount of muscle and build the most muscle mass quickest. The barbell curl, the most basic and common of biceps exercises, is the absolute best exercise to kick off your training routine.
For this exercise, you’ll need a barbell with your preferred weight load. Fix your elbows about an inch away from your sides and stretch your arms straight toward the ground. Firmly grip the bar with hands shoulder length apart and make sure your palms are facing upward.
With your back straight and elbows fixed an inch from your sides, curl the weight up toward your chest. Do not bend backward, hunch forward or rest the bar atop your chest when lifting the barbell. Doing so will not allow you to work your biceps. Instead, contract the biceps as the bar reaches your chest. Squeeze your biceps for a second, then release as you slowly lower the barbell to the floor for a full stretch. Repeat this for the recommended sets.
Beginners to intermediates should do three sets of 8 to 12 reps. Those who are more advanced in the gym should include three sets of 8 to 12 barbell curls in one routine per week, but should increase the reps to 12 to 15 for the next workout routine.
One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
This exercise adds to the fullness of the lower part of the biceps and puts all the stress on your biceps. Also, it eliminates possible swinging motion that other exercises such as the standing barbell curl and hammer curl might cause. This strength exercise is great for isolating the biceps and training them independently.
You will need a standard preacher bench and a dumbbell. Adjust the seat so that your arm rests comfortably atop the bench. Position your elbow firmly and extend your arm on the bench. Rest your other arm on top of the padding for extra support.
Grip the dumbbell underhand, your palm facing up. Curl the dumbbell, slowly raising it toward your shoulder. Be careful not to bend your wrists as you are raising and lowering the dumbbell. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and slowly release as you lower the dumbbell until your arm returns to an extended position.
It is vital that you keep your elbow stationary, only moving your forearm. This will increase the strength of your lower biceps. Be sure to pace your repetition timing and control the weight as you lower the dumbbell. Also, make sure you work your weakest arm first. If you are right-handed, then start with your left hand. If you are left handed, you should begin with your right.
To maximize the benefits of this exercise, it is important that you follow a steady workout regimen. Shape your routine around your desired results. As a starting point, you should be doing three sets of 8 to12 repetitions. Twice weekly is recommended. To add variety to the preacher curl exercise, use an E-Z bar. It will require both arms and can be executed the same way as the one-arm preacher curl. The usage of an E-Z bar will target both biceps at the same time.
Incline Dumbbell Curl
This exercise stimulates the entire biceps muscle with a long range of motion. It builds muscle mass and can even shape and develop the biceps. The incline dumbbell curl allows your biceps to achieve maximum strength at the bottom of the exercise motion. It can be executed in a variety of ways. Generally, it will involve less weight than the standard dumbbell curl, but offers a full workout of the bicep muscles.
Lying back on an inclined bench, rest both arms down and back with a dumbbell in each hand. Position your elbows close to your torso with your palms facing inward.
Curl the weight forward and out while keeping your upper arms still, until the palm of your hand is facing you. Bring the weight up to your shoulders until your biceps muscles are tightened. Slowly release, controlling the weight in the downward motion until you are able to return to the starting position.
You could work both arms at the same time or alternate arms. Sets can be broken down by the way you alternate. For example, you could do two reps with your left arm, then two reps with your right. Or, you could alternate with each motion. As a starting point to shape your individual workout routine, three sets of about 8 to 12 reps is recommended.
What Are Some Important Biceps Training Tips?
Train Biceps Independently
When training for bigger biceps, it is important that you execute your biceps workout routine on its own designated day instead of combining workouts.
This will maximize growth potential.
You Should Avoid Overtraining
Once you’ve developed a workout regimen, only train your biceps once or twice weekly, taking as much as 72-hour breaks between each training session. This is important because you do not want to overwork your muscles.
Remember: Biceps are being worked even when they’re not being targeted. For example, during chest and back training, the biceps are being stimulated as well. This is why it’s important to limit the number of sets you do daily. Beginners should do fewer sets than those who are more advanced.
Remember To Always Keep Strict Form
Form is everything when training your biceps. Fixed elbows, stationary upper arms, a straight back, and fixed wrists, in most biceps exercises, are imperative during your training. Not only does strict form ensure that the right muscles are being targeted, it prevents you from acquiring an injury.
Use An Offset Grip
With exercises like the standing dumbbell curl, an offset grip increases the resistance elbow flexion, as well as the forearm supination. Training your biceps is about more than elbow flexion. Using an offset grip encourages forearm supination, which is the rotation of the forearm so that the hand faces upward and forward.
An offset grip stimulates forearm supination, also allowing you to resist elbow flexion. Instead of gripping a weight the traditional way (in the middle), in standard isolated biceps exercises, you grip the handle differently. Your hand will be placed at the edge of the handle. This helps you to resist forearm pronation (posterior, downward, movement of the hand). This provides a much fuller workout for your biceps.
Building bigger biceps is the goal of just about every guy who has ever stepped in a gym. Who hasn’t seen someone flexing his guns in front of a mirror? But, you need to take the time to learn these basic rules of how to perform the exercises to see the best results. Remember: Both the positive and negative portions of the reps are important. And, just as important to achieving your goals is using proper form. Proper form will help you avoid injury and build bigger biceps.
So what are you waiting for?
With all these tips, exercises and strategies, you’re now armed to succeed in the gym!
By Taylor Zhane
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