How could I resist doing an article all about the bicep? To be honest, how could any bodybuilding website even exist without some articles purely dedicated to the bicep!
After seeing countless threads across several exercise forums asking the same questions over and over again, it kind of reminds me of that annoying song that was played on the radio 24/7. The most common question asked is “How do I get big biceps?”, I decided to help clear things up for all of you out there who keep asking this question.
It’s very important to realize the fact that, firstly, to have HUGE arms, you need to have HUGE triceps. Without large triceps, you won’t get anywhere. If you want 19/20 inch arms, it requires strong, hard triceps.
The tricep is said to take up to 70% of the muscle mass on the arm. That’s a whole lot more than the bicep, hence the need to train this, and let’s be honest, tricep exercises are just much more fun!
This article is for those who already have a well-developed tricep but the bicep is lacking and/or they want to just get that extra “peak.”
Let’s get started, shall we?
First, in order to maximize your bicep side, you will obviously need to understand the function and anatomy of the biceps.
“The biceps, as per it’s bi prefix, is a two-headed muscle. Its specific physiological function is twofold: to bend the elbow (the essence of a curl movement) and to rotate the wrist.”
Well, what does that mean? It means that the biceps are composed of two heads of pieces of muscle, an outer and inner head, serving in two functions: rotating the wrist and bending the elbow (curling motion).
And that’s the basics.
Continuing on, here are the 7 most important pieces of information you need to know if you want LARGE muscular arms!
1) Know the anatomy, which you should now if you have read above.
2) Hit’em Hard, But Briefly. The whole point of lifting weights is to trigger a growth response. To achieve this, you must lift heavier and or do more reps than you did on your previous session. Don’t be one of the fools who lifts the same weights for the same sets day in and day out. Constant progression will lead to MASSIVE increases in strength and size!
Some muscles have a higher ratio of slow-twitch muscle fibres and can benefit from more reps with a lower weight—Biceps aren’t one of these. For best results, focus primarily on heavy weight training in the 6-8 rep range (using strict form). Also, a side note here, but I notice the best size gains around the 3-5 rep range on TRICEP compound movements, and if it’s an isolation movement I’d stick to the 6/12 rep range.
Another thing worth noting is that doing set after set of bicep curls for hours on end will NOT make your arms any bigger and will be downright counterproductive, while doing just a few, high-intensity sets where you really wring every ounce of juice out of the muscles, is enough to trigger the growth response mentioned earlier.
3) Mix Things Up. Doing the same old thing day in and day out is boring. Not only does this get boring, but it’s also how your body stops responding. If you lift the same weight, same reps, every time, your body simply has no reason to adapt, so it won’t, it will stay the same! No more muscle. No more strength gains. No fat loss. This is how your body feels. Don’t be afraid to try new exercises or new routines, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Try different hand positions, drop sets, supersets, or 21s. All of these can be enough to give you an “extra kick.”
4) Use your biceps more in other exercises such as compound movements.. “How to do this you say? This is one of the simplest tips I could give anyone and also one of the most effective tips. When you do bent over rows, do it with your palms facing FORWARD rather than towards you. This brings the biceps into play and dramatically increases the amount of muscle fibres there that are used. Not only this, but it gives them a much more dramatic workout. Another example of doing this is when you go to do chin ups, bring your grip in as far as possible similar to how a gymnast would, this allows you to Increase muscle mass onto the biceps.
5) Intensity techniques. Use them sparingly, only at the end of your bicep routine (this goes for any other bodypart also). Failing to use these techniques appropriately can cause overtraining and will be counterproductive. Here are a few:
-Forced and Partial reps
6) Get Plenty Of Rest. SLEEP, 8+ hours Hell, even 10 hours if you need it. A lot of guys come to me “I’m shattered, tired, angry, moody, think I’ve over trained.” We give them a few extra hours sleep and it’s all fixed. They continue gaining muscle mass, losing fat etc. You don’t grow in the gym, you grow during rest. Remember this.
7) Eat plenty of the RIGHT foods! If you don’t eat enough, there’s no point in even training. Your body will simply not have enough calories, protein, and energy that is required to add muscle mass to your body!
Personally, I believe these can be used for ANY other muscle as well.
What is the best bicep exercise?
Well, there is no secret. Hands down, these are the best bicep builders:
- Standing bb curls (should be in every bicep routine you do – recommended by Arnold himself)
- One-arm preacher curls and Preacher curls
- Incline Hammer curls
- Hammer curls
- Pullups and Chinups
- BACK training (yes, back training), your biceps are worked in EVERY back movement you do (pulling motion), so hit your back hard forcing your biceps to come into play. (Use the techniques I stated earlier to maximize the bicep during these movements)
And remember a wider grip will target the outer bicep head a narrow grip will target the inner bicep head.
Some Tips on curling: Curl the bar up in a wide arc, bringing it as high as you can. Do not allow your elbows to pull forward at the top; make your biceps do the work. By curling the bar in a wide arc, you can prevent other muscle groups, such as the deltoids, from performing the majority of the work.
Finally, don’t, under any circumstances, neglect triceps. They make up about 2/3 or 70% of the upper arm, and adding quality muscle mass to the triceps will add mass, most definitely to the upper arm area in general.
You can have big triceps and have big arms. You can’t have big biceps and have big arms. Remember that!
That’s it guys, there isn’t much to it. Bicep training is not hard, it just has to be done right. Remember hit the bis briefly but intensely!