By James Braun
US Myprotein Writer
Understanding The Biceps Brachii
First things first, we need to analyze what exactly we’re trying to accomplish. When most people think of the biceps, they’re really thinking about the biceps brachii – the muscle which makes up the sought after biceps peak – but if you want to build outstanding arms, you’ll have to know about the other muscle, the biceps brachialis.
Basically, the job of the biceps brachialis is to assist in elbow flexion, because it lies just below the biceps brachii. Now, this is important because the the biceps brachialis gives a little “boost” to the biceps peak and it also separates the tricep. Now that we know what we need to focus on, let’s get onto what needs to be done to make the biceps grow.
Building The Biceps Explained
First of all, let’s ignore the muscle mags and the steroid users. As a natural weightlifter, your main goal is to get stronger, considering the main driver of muscle growth is progressive overload (that is, lifting progressively heavier and heavier weights). Most articles and workout routines will have you doing set after set after set of bicep curls with relatively light weights and big “pumps.” This isn’t one of those articles.
These workout routines with excessive amounts of volume and reps are great for steroid users, but not so much for us natural folk. Remember: get stronger. What I am going to have you do is focus on heavy, compound weightlifting that will build strong, dense muscle. Before we start though, I do want to mention: the biceps are already being used in many pulling movements, such as rows, pull-ups etc. You’ll get a biceps workout on your back day, but direct bicep work is necessary if you want to build a great peak. Also, the biceps are a small muscle on the body, and will take time to grow. Be patient, and the gains will come.
Absolute Best Exercises For Biceps
☑ The Barbell Curl – Probably the best biceps exercise out there. If you can curl 135lb, your biceps cannot be small. Here’s a little tip though: lean forward at the beginning of the rep, putting tension on your bicep. On the way up, lean slightly back, and use a natural sway. This isn’t necessarily cheating, and will help you get stronger on curls.
☑ EZ Bar Curl – Basically the same as a barbell curl, but it helps with giving your elbows and wrists a break.
☑ Alternating Dumbbell Curl – Classic exercise, and has stood the test of time with building big biceps.
☑ Weighted Chin Ups – Okay, this exercise is one of my favorites for building a great back. If you can do weighted chins with 100 plus pounds on a belt, your back is done. It’s also on this list because of the amazing bicep development that goes with it.
☑ Hammer Curl – Amazing exercise to build the biceps brachialis, which is what gives the peak of your biceps a little boost.
Don’t just do these exercises…get strong on them. If you’re curling 135lbs for reps, or doing weighted chin ups with over 100 lbs strapped to a belt, you’re gonna be rocking some nice biceps. Also, all exercises should be done with roughly 4-6 or 5-7 reps, which puts you around 80-85 percent of your one rep max.
This does seem to be the sweet spot for building dense muscle, but don’t just take my word for it, try it out. Once you hit the top of the rep range, increase the weight by ten lbs, then work with that weight until you get to the top of the rep range again, and repeat. Pick 3 of these exercises, do each one for 3 sets of 4-6 reps. And you’ll have a solid biceps workout. That’s it, just 9 heavy, compound sets.
The Bottom Line
Take these tips to heart, utilize them, and I promise you that you’ll be rocking a nice pair of guns relatively soon. Just remember, building muscle takes time, you have to be in it for the long haul to see real, lasting results. Stick with it, eat enough food, and your body WILL respond, I can almost guarantee it.