If you’re like most men, there’s a very good chance that topping your list of goals to achieve with your workout program is growing bigger biceps.
Biceps tend to be the most commonly used illustration of strength – the classic bicep curl.
But, if through your training, you’re finding that your biceps are leaving much to be desired and it doesn’t seem like you can get them growing, you may be making some errors in your approach.
While some people are genetically fortunate and they build muscle fast in the biceps without really trying, others are not quite so lucky.
Your Biggest Bicep Mistakes…
If you find yourself in this group, you’ll really have to push your body hard, doing new and intricate techniques to break the barrier on size gains. It’s not just about lifting more weight, it’s about how you lift more weight.
So that is what we are going to talk about here today. Let’s go over some of the main principles you must know – and the errors you may be making – that are currently preventing you from seeing the size gains you’re after. Also if strength is your goal them you might want to check out this strength training blog post.
Bicep Building Error #1: You Only Work One Rep Range For Bicep Exercises
Just like any other muscle group, the biceps are going to respond the very best to a wide variety of rep ranges. If all you ever do is the 12-15 rep range because you think that’s what’s ‘best’ for isolation exercises, you’re wrong.
The problem with this is that this rep range will never allow you to hoist as much weight as possible, a key critical requirement for building more size.
Try doing a few sets in the 8-10 rep range. Use a barbell and really push as much weight as possible. Then compliment that with some sets in the higher rep range.
The more variety you can add, the better and faster your results will be.
Bicep Building Error #2: You Neglect Compound Moves For Bicep Curl Exercises
Next, another classic mistake many people make is not making good enough use of the compound movements.
While you likely already have some bent over rows on back day, turn this into a bicep move as well. Simply reverse your grip, which will place more stress and strain on the bicep muscle, while still working the back at the same time.
Since you have more total muscle force behind you as you do this lift, this will really increase the total load as well. You can use this same principle when doing lat pull-downs as well as pull-ups.
One simple change in grip pattern can really mean the difference between bicep progress or bicep maintenance. Put those biceps to work in as many moves in your workout as you can.
Bicep Building Error #3: You’re Allowing Momentum To Take Over
A classic error: the momentum-infused bicep ‘swing’. If you aren’t using good mind-muscle connection as you move through your rep, you’re missing out.
Far too many men go to the gym, lift a weight heavier than they should, but allow their body momentum to help hoist the weight upwards.
This needs to come to an end. Put all the stress and strain on the bicep muscle itself. If you have to, do the exercise in a seated bicep machine in order to prevent momentum from taking over.
Until you master the proper mind-muscle control to only have the muscle itself doing the contractions, you’ll be missing out on progress you could be making.
Bicep Building Error #4: You Cheat Yourself Of A Full Rep
Along with using momentum, another classic error is cheating yourself out of a full rep of each move you do. If you only go part way down, you’ll only see part results.
It’s as simple as that.
Your elbows should almost be fully extended as you perform each curl, going as close to the thighs as possible. Most men cut the rep short just above 90 degrees because beyond that, they’re too weak to keep the move going.
If you do find that you are much weaker in this lowered position of the bicep rep range, then you should consider using 21’s, so you perform 7 reps in the lower rep range, 7 reps in the top rep range, and then 7 full and complete reps at the end. This will help to really strengthen those weak areas, making sure that when you go back to straight sets, you’re that much stronger.
Bicep Building Error #5: You Don’t Add Sufficient Bicep Curl Varations
Sufficient variety of rep ranges is important, but so is exercises in general. Your biceps need constant variety in order to keep progressing, so make sure you’re changing it up often.
You can do this by utilizing one different exercise in every 2-3 workouts you do. Hammer curls, dumbbell curls, barbell curls, concentration curls, incline curls, cable curls – there are so many ways to target this muscle group you should never find yourself getting bored. You can also try supersets, you can learn more about how supersets benefit your workout here.
Using a mix of free weights and cables is always a good idea because the tension loading pattern of cables will be slightly different than free weights, ensuring your muscles stay challenged.
Bicep Building Error #6: You’re Neglecting Rest
Another mistake that you must make sure you are avoiding as you do your bicep training is neglecting rest overall. Take a good look at workout program. If you’re dividing your body up into a body part split, do you have sufficient rest time between your back day and your arm day?
If you do these two separate, remember that you will hit arms on each back workout you do, therefore there needs to be downtime between them.
If you aren’t giving your body sufficient rest between workouts, you won’t grow regardless. You’ll only continually break your muscle tissues down further and further until you actually see a decline in total strength and size.
Rest is imperative for growing stronger, so make sure you have adequate amounts.
Bicep Building Error #7: You Neglect The ‘Twist’
Finally, the last error to make sure you aren’t making is neglecting the ‘twist’. This technique is one of the best ways to really build muscle fast and bring out the head of the bicep.
As you do a standard hammer curl, as you move the weight upwards towards the body, begin twisting the wrist so that the palm is facing toward you.
As you do, over-twist the hand, so that you turn it as far inwards as possible. As you do this, think of squeezing the bicep. You’ll really notice this target muscle working overtime using this technique, ensuring that you see improvements in both size and the overall shape of your muscle.
So make sure that you keep these tips in mind as you work on improving your biceps. You may never see the strength and size gains in the biceps as you would say your quads or back due to the simple fact that the muscle size is much smaller, but you can still make excellent progress – progress you are proud to show off.
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