In case you've never heard the classic "Two Tickets to the Gun Show" line, I'm referring to your biceps. While abs, a full chest, and wing-like traps are great and crucial to developing an Adonis-like physique, shredded, rock-hard biceps are the first thing others will notice when you're walking around in a t-shirt or tank top.
The bicep is a difficult muscle group to develop, but with these tips you'll be busting out of your sleeves in no time.
Build Big biceps With These 7 Tips
Tip #1 - Change your bicep workout routine"Curls, curls, and more curls. That's all I need to do to grow these pythons, right?" Wrong.
While curls are a solid movement for growing your arms, they are not the only exercise you need in order to turn those noodles into handguns. Just as with any other body part you need to keep your body and muscles guessing. If your arm day equates to you consistently doing nothing but standing barbell curls followed by standing dumbbell curls, your muscle growth is going to plateau.
Shock your biceps with some preacher curls or hammer curls. Normally train your biceps once a week every Tuesday? Hit them on Monday instead, or pair them with your back exercises on a separate day for an all-around pull' day.
You want gains, not maintains.
Tip #2 - You're not targeting every muscle group
Understanding the anatomy of your biceps is crucial to understanding their development. Your upper arm consists of the long head, short head, and brachialis. Development of the long head is emphasized when your arms are placed behind the midline of your body.
Exercises such as incline seated dumbbell curls focus on strengthening the long head. Exercises where your arms are directly at your sides or in front of the midline of your body are going to place tension on the short head. Performing standing barbell curls or preacher curls will get the blood pumping to the short head and develop your inner bicep.
The brachialis lies beneath the long head and short head and is often forgot about when training biceps. Performing hammer curls will work both the long head and the brachialis, helping to develop thickness in your arms.
For stronger and well-rounded biceps you need to perform exercises targeting each one of these muscles.
Tip #3 - You're not lifting heavy enoughGrabbing the 30 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 reps for the fourth week in a row? Just like you need to change your monotonous arm routine, you need to change the weight you are lifting.
Now, don't load up a weight you can't lift without proper form, but try raising the weight of your curls by 5-10 pounds. Instead of 3-4 sets of 10 reps, try 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps.
As with any other muscle group,
If these tips don't get you excited for arm day and ready to blast those biceps I don't know what will.
Tip #4 - You're forgetting about bicep isolation exercisesOur first instinct when training biceps is to pick up a bar and curl it. We all want to curl until our arms fall off. While continuing to do set after set of barbell curls, dumbbell curls, EZ bar curls or cable machine curls may yield size and strength, it's not going to produce the peaks and definition your arms deserve.
Adding isolation exercises to your routine is another way to keep altering your routine and keep your body guessing, as discussed earlier. Expand your bicep routine by adding sets of preacher curls and concentration curls. These exercises aren't going to tempt you with using your entire body to force up one rep, but rather allow you to keep tension and blood flow on the bicep.
And, whether you are exercising in a facility with mirrors or not, these exercises allow you to look down upon your biceps as you are performing the exercise to focus on squeezing the bicep at the top of each rep.
Tip #5 - You're neglecting your forearmsWhen you think about Popeye, you think big arms right? Well, Popeye's creatine-enhanced spinach didn't blow up his biceps, it inflated his forearms.
Aesthetically, bigger forearms produce an overall bigger looking arm. While big forearms look great in a fitted V-neck, exercising your forearms isn't all about aesthetics. Your forearm muscles assist with many of your bicep curl exercises so developing these forearm muscles is only going to lead to stronger curls and bigger biceps.
Tip #6 - You're relying too much on your shouldersWe have all seen the guy who walks straight to the squat rack, throws plate after plate onto the barbell, and proceeds to use his entire body to get up one to two barbell curl reps. Don't be that guy. Know your weight and your limits.
Keep your elbows tight at your sides when performing curl or isolation movements. Once your elbows move forward, out, and away from your body you're relying on your shoulders to do the lifting. While it's okay to use a little momentum to get that last rep, you want to keep the blood flow and tension on your biceps because that's what we want to grow.
Save the barbell raises for shoulder day.
Tip #7 - You're not changing your gripWhile different exercises target different muscle groups within your bicep, so can changing your grip.
When performing a standing barbell curl position your hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width or bring them in closer to each other. Or, when performing dumbbell curls, grip the dumbbell with side of your hand touching the inside of the dumbbell rather then gripping the middle of the dumbbell handle.
Altering between grips will target and strengthen different fibers within your biceps and forearms, while developing your overall grip strength.