The biceps brachii, also known as the biceps muscle group, also known as the two-headed beast, has always been at the top of the list of interest for most guys. Everybody wants to grow bigger guns, ‘m I right?
And I am not blaming you, it looks quite impressive having a well formed, sculpted biceps. Plus, they are one of the indicators that people look for when determining the physical activity of another person as well as use it to subjectively measure the strength of the other individual.
Furthermore, and this is something very interesting to me, the biceps is approximately 30% of your arm, the rest is your triceps. In other words if you want to increase the overall size of the your arms you would want to make sure that you are putting a lot of effort on growing those “horse shoes” on your arms.
This, of course, does not mean that you should ONLY focus on training your triceps. Your biceps may be smaller, but 30% is 30%.
And what is more is the fact that if you have what I like to call a “flat arm” where your triceps is large but your biceps is pretty flat, with no definition, then your arm is going to strongly lack aesthetics.
Let’s not forget that the biceps determines how large your arms look from the front (when you are facing somebody).
Considering the fact that the biceps brachii is a pulling muscle group then the primary exercise that will come into play is called the “curl”. However, there are many variations that hit the three major components that make up the biceps muscle group: the short head, the long head, and the less commonly known brachialis.
Even though the biceps literally means “two headed muscle” (because there are two heads that make it up – the long and short head) there is a third component that not everyone is aware of, the brachialis, that comes into play. The brachialis is a small muscle that is located between the biceps and the triceps that makes up about 10-20% of your arm size. The reason why this small but very, very important element carries such value is because it elevates arm size by “pushing” your biceps and triceps away from one another. The muscle itself is not large, but the effect it has on your arm size is quite noticeable.
Worth remembering: when training, no matter what muscle group, it’s not just the exercise itself and the weight that play an important role, what also comes into play is the position of your elbows, palms, arms in general, etc. When your elbows are in front of the plane of your body, for example – preacher curls, there is more emphasis placed on the short head and less on the long head as the it is not fully stretched. When your arms are behind the plane of your body, for example – incline-bench curls, there is more stress placed on the long head as it is fully stretched, thus it picks up the greater load. This is worth remembering because even by moving your hands in and out when doing barbell curls or dumbbell curls changes the emphasis.
You would also want to change the position of your palms – supinated (palms faces up, which places a lot more strain on your short head), pronated (palms faces down puts more strain on your brachioradialis (your forearms) and your brachialis), or neutral (palms facing in, places more strain on your brachialis). These small changes of your palm changes the area of your biceps that is engaged the fullest.
I also did my best to make it easier for you as I made sure to upload all of the workouts under an image format. The reason behind is so that you guys and gals can carry the workouts with you whenever you are at the gym and just use them at the spot. They are also printable, so if you are one of those people that prefer carrying around hard copies, feel free to do so.
Furthermore, I know how aggravating it can be when you “lose” an article or workout because you forgot to bookmark it, or if you’ve bookmarked it, it gets piled up from other websites and other blog posts. This way you can store this baby somewhere safe and whenever you believe that any of the listed below workouts can come in handy, just locate the bad boys and use them.
So without further adieu here are:
4 Bicep Workouts For Bigger Arms
No matter what your level of experience or your fitness goals
There aren’t a lot of great multi-joint movements, compound exercises, that target the biceps. Except chip-ups, of course.
The start of your workout you would want to start with exercises that allows you to move maximum weight (activate both the short head and the long head): standing barbell curls, for example. The reason why you are starting with the heaviest load is because the beginning of your workout is the point in time when you have the most energy stored up from your pre-workout meal and pre-workout supplementation. In other words you will be able to pull more weight.
Use shoulder-width grip so that you are working both heads.
Include neutral-grip moves such as hammer curls to hit that brachialis muscle as well as reverse-grip movements to emphasize more on your brachioradialis (forearms).
This type of workout uses the so-called reverse pyramid technique – you lighten the weight a bit on each set after your first set for slightly higher reps. In other words, you start with lower sets (6-8) and work your way up to higher volume sets (10-12). Take each set to muscle failure, where you cannot do one more set now matter how hard you try.
Make sure that each set is controlled and you do not cheat your way in full exercise completion.
If you have another person with you that can act as a spotter, do a few force reps on your heaviest set of each of your exercises (first or second set), this means that you ask your partner to help you push two or three reps where he/she helps you curl the weight up (not too much help) and then you release the weight yourself.
If you do not have a spotter, then you can implement what I like to call “burn out sets” which is also known by its more boring name “drop sets” – once you have reached muscle failure during your set drop the weight with about 25%, 1/4 of the initial weight, and try to do 1-3 reps, or more if you’re able to do so.
Worth mentioning: this workout is just a presentation of what a well grouped workout should like if your aim is to increase muscle mass growth for your biceps. Do not repeat this workout every single week as your body will grow accustomed to the whole thing and you will start seeing fewer and fewer results with every consecutive week. Make sure that you switch up the exercises or randomly change the order, or change the rep range/set range. Anything that you can think of that will make it different from your previous week’s training, do it.
The top section of your biceps is commonly referred to as the “biceps peak”. The reason why everybody wants to develop that “peak” is because it makes your arms look more defined and far more aesthetic. Not to mention that it creates this illusion of larger arms, even though you don’t necessarily increase your measurements as drastically as it may look.
The biceps peak is influenced by the size of the long-head section of the biceps. What this means it that if you are interested in sculpting your biceps into a bit smaller version of Mount Everest, then you will need to work on that long-head.
Note: The workout follows a pyramid technique. This means that you are increasing the weight and lowering the reps as you are progressing through your exercises.
No need to go to failure as Peak exercises are more aimed towards sculpting the muscle rather than building mass. You should focus more of your attention towards muscle-mind connection and controlled weights. However, you can go to failure on your last set.
If you want to achieve an aesthetic physique and arms that will bring people to an awe you need to make sure that your biceps is proportionately built. What this means is that you can’t just rely on training your long head, you need to train your short head as well.
Essentially, the exercises that help you train the second head will restrain the long head from stretching as much as it would usually do.
This workout is constructed to hit all areas of your biceps, even your forearms. The use of supersets to boost the intensity of your training and thus your metabolic rate and most importantly keep it elevated for hours after leaving the gym.
A lot of people get confused when they see chin-ups in there. Well the clearly obvious reason is because, even though chin-ups do indeed train your latissimus dorsi muscle group (which are your lats) the exercise still places a ton of stress on your biceps.
Considering that you trying to get ripped, for whatever reason there might be, this workout is deliberately designed to be more compound (which is why there are supersets) so that this way you are getting a really metabolic boost as well as still working those two-headed beasts of yours.
The session calls for a higher rep range to engage the so-called biceps pump.