One of the favourite muscles to train for a lot of people is the biceps. For obvious reasons – it is one of the most noticeable ‘gains’, and also the movements themselves are not too difficult to carry out.
The biceps are divided into two parts, the long head & the short head. The key to building your biceps is to make sure you are hitting both heads, and very strict form. Here are my favourite exercises.
Ok so the top one for strength has to be the chin up, this is a great full upper body exercise. The chin up (as opposed the pull up) places most emphasis on the biceps and a bit less on the back. This is a great way to warm up as is a full upper body movement and it really strengthens the biceps. After the chin ups i would start with barbell curls.
The classic barbell curl is a must for anyone looking to build bigger arms. It is an easy enough movement to perform so that also means you are likely to be able to lift the most weight with this exercise. It’s best to start off with the exercises you can lift the most weight with and then work your way down.
I like to keep these reps usually in the 6-8 range with a high weight as i’m working on improving my strength. If you are looking to really tear them up try this variation –
777 (21s) Barbell Curls.
So i’m not gonna lie, these are an absolute killer but they work wonders for building mass. Get in position as if to do a normal barbell curl. Start by doing 7 half curls, only performing the bottom half of the movement, so from your arms fully stretched down, to your arms half way up for 7 reps. After this go straight in to do 7 half curls but the upper half of the movement this time, so from midway to fully contracted. Then finish off by going straight in to 7 full barbell curls, completing the full movement each time. So 7 bottom half, 7 top half & 7 full curls – This is one set! This is a great one to use a bit of a lower weight, and really concentrate on the movement and squeeze. I wouldn’t use this exercise often, maybe once or twice a month to shock the biceps and really get the blood flow pumping.
Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl.
A slight variation of the standard dumbbell curls. Sit back on the incline weight bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the weights up till the elbow and bicep is fully flexed then lower back down to your starting position. The reason i prefer this one as opposed to the normal dumbbell curl is it really gives you that extra stretch at the bottom. You can do both sides simultaneous but i would recommend alternating so you can really concentrate on each movement.
These curls are a great one to include in your workout. The neutral hand position means they also recruit the muscles in the forearm to perform the movement. This is definitely one of the best exercises for mass, make sure at the top of the movement you really squeeze, make every rep count! A great variation of this is to perform the curls using a cable machine and rope attachment , instead of dumbbells. Hammer curls are a great finisher, work until failure to really wear out the muscles at the end.
Now some tips.
Start heavy and work your way down. On your first exercise as i said pick the one where you can lift the most weight. Lift a very heavy weight for only a few reps. With each exercise work your way down, so by the time you get to your last exercise, for example hammer curls, you will be doing a much lower weight but with about 12 to 15 reps.
Progressive Overload. I’ve mentioned this before on my other workout posts as it is so important for building strength and size. In order for your muscles to grow and get stronger you need to constantly be challenging them and forcing them to adapt. Lifting the same weight week in week out will not build your muscles, you need to keep adding more weight and more weight and pushing yourself and your muscles.
Form is key. To get the best out of each exercise and to avoid any injury it is extremely important to focus on having the correct form for each movement. Do not sacrifice good form just to lift a weight that is not manageable to you, this is very counterproductive.
Mind Body connection. In order to get the most you can from each rep, you really need to focus on each movement, the muscle and the contraction. Do not just go through the motions. For each curl, really focus on your form, really concentrate and make sure you are squeezing the muscle at the top, actually watch your muscle contracting and picture it getting bigger and stronger with each rep. The mind is a very powerful thing, put it to good use during your workout.
If you are unsure how to perform any of the exercises above, i have included a link below to a great website which has all of the exercises, videos and a description on how to perform each one. Also feel free to drop me a message. Now go lift!