Biceps are small muscle in the big scheme of things and easily isolated and yet many people struggle to grow them. They are also a great muscle group to learn and apply some resistance training principals to. One can dig deep into the biceps muscle group but I’ll keep it simple here;
Tip 1 – Where do biceps fit into the big scheme of things.
Biceps from part of the secondary muscle groups used in back exercises so train them after you have done your back training or on different days to your back routine altogether.
Tip 2 – Quality is more important than volume.
The biceps muscle group is small and is easily over trained so be careful of doing to many exercises or to many sets in a biceps routine. Also be careful of training them to often.
Tip 3 – Proper form is essential.
If you are going to grow your biceps then you need impeccable form not weight. Most people in the gym use momentum to make those large dumbbells look impressive but the results are less than impressive. Remove all momentum and concentrate on isolating the biceps.
Tip 4 – Intensity is essential.
It is painful to train biceps to failure but you have to learn to deal with the pain and eye popping intensity on the last rep while keeping that perfect form. Don’t start swinging the weights because you are tired. That last rep in perfect form is the one that makes your biceps grow. Rather stop the rep half way than cheat or lose isolation.
Tip 5 – Spotting goes a long way.
As pointed out in tip 4, the last rep really counts. Because of the long range of motion and the nature of how the biceps work, you can easily get stuck half way trough the rep before failure occurs. Getting someone to spot you makes a big difference. All you need it someone to guide you through that sticking point, not to do the rep for you. You may need to guide them on how much help is needed.
Tip 6 – Advanced stimulation – negative failure.
Don’t try this until your biceps are used to getting hammered. When you reach the point of being unable to lift the weights anymore, have a spotter lift the weight to the to contracted point of the exercise. Then lower it down in 6 seconds. When you cannot control lowering the weight anymore you are done. When using this technique, reduce the volume and frequency of your bicep training otherwise you will not recover. Here you can actually cheat to do negative reps by using momentum to raise the weight, but the lower in perfect form. This allows you do do these without somebody helping you.
Tip 7 – Routine duration and stats.
Settle on a routine and then stick to that for at least 6 weeks. Also settle on your goal reps. Always keep the exercises and order of the exercises the same and most importantly write down the weight and reps you did. When you hit your goal reps with the weight, you can increase the weight on the next workout. Don’t use big jumps in weight, increase with no more than 2kgs from workout to workout.
Sample Biceps Routine
Seated Dumbbell curls almost to failure. 1 set. Target 8 reps.
Seated Dumbbell curls positive to failure. 1 set. Target 6 reps.
Preacher curls with EZ-bar to positive failure. 1 set. Target 6 reps.
Immediately reduce the weight by half and repeat above, try get the same reps as the fist set. This is going to hurt!
Reverse standing EZ-bar curls to failure, no spotting. target 8 reps.
Stretch the biceps until you have cooled down.
Many people will point out that the volume is to little, if you train to failure you don’t need more, try and see.