Everyone in the gym wants toned arms and every male weightlifter wants the biggest biceps he can possibly achieve. Big arms are the number one obsession with male weightlifters today – at anytime you step into the gym, you will see countless numbers of males performing curls after curls. You even see this same guys training biceps almost every day, or so it seems! If bigger biceps are your goal, training them every day is not the correct approach. Muscles need time to recover and each group should be allowed at least 48-60 hours of recovery time in between working/training days.
There is no special workout routine or exercises that will ensure greater growth in your biceps. In fact, the best exercises you can perform are actually the most common exercises you are most likely doing already. Examples would be standing and seated dumbbell curls, barbell curls, triceps extensions; triceps push downs, and even skull crushers. However, if you are already performing these exercises and are lacking growth, it will be due to a few small, easy to change errors in your lifting technique.
Start By Lightening The Load
The first thing to start doing is lightening your weight load. Yes, that’s right, use lower weight. The reason is because when performing any exercise, the body doesn’t grow due to using heavy weight – instead, it grows due to being stretched to its full extent and having a higher than normal weight load applied to it. If you want to dumbbell curls for instance, grab a pair of 20lb dumbbells and be relaxed with your arms parallel at your side/waist. Curl one arm up at a time and while you elevate your arm in a curling motion, rotate your wrist outwards, also known as Supination. By supinating or rotating your wrist outwards from your body, you are applying more tension to your head of your bicep causing a greater tension to be applied.
Focus On The Squeeze
Once you have learned to rotate your wrist with each curl, the next step is to focus on the squeeze. With each rep, as with any exercise, you should be squeezing or flexing the muscle being worked as hard as you can. This will create a greater mind to muscle connection that in turn is going to put more of that weight load you are using on the targeted muscle.
Watch Your Shoulder
Next thing to focus on with curls is your shoulder. A lot of people who perform curls with too heavy of a weight will end up lifting with both the bicep and deltoid (shoulder) muscles instead of isolating the bicep and now dividing the weight up between your bicep and shoulder. To fix this, use a lighter weight, stand in front of a mirror and perform slow, concentrated curls while keeping your shoulder stable and not moving or elevating it in any way.
The purpose of a curl is to isolate the bicep muscle and only lift with the bicep by curling upwards slowly in a controlled form. Anytime you are doing curls and your shoulders are being worked, the weight load is too heavy and I recommend lightening the weight. Again, it’s not about going super heavy that makes the muscles grow, its about applying a greater amount of force or tension against the muscles.
Now Get As Heavy As Possible
The last thing I recommend to anyone trying to increase size in the biceps is to focus on going as heavy as possible with proper form that isolates the biceps only while also performing a high amount of repetitions. For any exercise, I recommend anywhere between 10-20 repetitions at a time for multiple sets of around 4-10 sets. Again, muscles grow due to being worked and they are worked the most with a higher amount of time under tension. If you are only performing 4-6 reps at a time, you aren’t applying the target muscle group to a proper amount of tension for it to begin being worked or feeling strain against it. By increasing the rep range, you will force a greater amount of oxygen to be fed to the muscles, which will allow for more nutrients to be fed to the muscle area for increased growth.
Let’s recap this really quickly. For bigger biceps, start making adjustments by using a lighter weight range for your exercises to allow for a full extension and contraction of the muscle or biceps. After you have learned to perform a curl properly and more effectively, you will incorporate that squeeze with each rep and remember to squeeze the bicep as hard as you can and hold that position for a second or two during the contraction. Once you have learned to squeeze, you want to make sure you are not lifting the weight with your shoulders during curls. Curls are meant to isolate the bicep to focus on the biceps only and not cause the shoulders to move at all. If your shoulders are moving, lighten the weight and prevent shoulder movement with each repetition. After you have fixed your shoulder movement, increase the rep range. By increasing the rep range you applying a new stimulus to the muscle that the body is not used to. More reps with proper form will result in greater growth. Hope this helps anyone struggling with bicep growth.