Over the year’s biceps size increase has become a hallmark of overall fitness. Even though the bis aren’t an accurate gauge of strength or conditioning, eyeballing someone’s arms is a lot easier than asking how much he squats. But the fact is, focusing on only your bis is like getting a tan: It may look good, but it isn’t all that smart.
With that in mind, we’ve devised a convenient and efficient protocol for getting the most out of your arm training program. It doesn’t call for infinite sets or modern machines, just a little dedication and a whole lot of variety — as well as a set of dumbbells, an exercise ball, a kitchen chair and a large towel.
This how to get muscles program is designed for complete development of the biceps and the major muscles of the forearm, says Greg Werner, head strength and conditioning coach at James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia). It’s important to understand that since the biceps crosses the shoulder joint, changing the position of the upper arm about the body will affect biceps activation. Therefore, it’s critical to include a variety of angles in your bicep workout routine.
All experienced trainees lift to the point of muscle failure. But what you should focus on here is muscle fatigue: when you feel the burn of lactic acid buildup but can still squeeze the biceps at the top of each movement. Don’t rush the reps; focus on technique, says Werner, who suggests choosing a weight you can lift for 10-12 reps. Even if you can do 12 reps in the first set, you reach muscular fatigue on the second or third.
Rest periods between sets can have a significant impact on the demands you place on your body and the changes that occur as a result. Since this is a high-volume workout designed to enhance hypertrophy, time under muscle tension and maintaining a good pump are critical. When biceps size increase is your goal, limit your rest periods to 40-60 seconds, Werner advises.
There are several ways you can modify this muscle building program. While it’s natural to want to make quantum leaps in your development, you need to start smart. Beginners don’t have to train until they feel like puking, Werner explains. The longer you’ve been in the gym, the more you’ll be able to tolerate lactic acid buildup and handle the burn. During bicep workout, if you feel that you have heavy stomach pain then you should visit a doctor to know what side is your appendix on – health and care tips.
More advanced lifters can use M&F strength bands (strengthbands.com) to make these moves more demanding. Combined with dumbbells, the groups create a serious challenge that focuses on peak muscle tension at the top of the lift, Werner notes. The strength bands come with an attachment that can be fixed to the bottom of a door to provide a different angle of pull. Or get creative by attaching them to a table leg or chair for seated dumbbell curls. But whether or not you use bands, this biceps workout will give your arms the stimulus they need to start growing again. All you need: adjustable dumbbells + exercise ball + 1 chair + towel. Visit here.
This good biceps workout routine is designed to target primarily the biceps but also the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles to help you develop powerful arms. Complete exercises 1-3 on Day 1, rest 48-72 hours, then do exercises 4-6 on Day 2. Rest 48-72 hours and then perform exercises 2, 3 and 5 on Day 3. Rest 72 hours and cycle through the program again. On Day 3 of the second cycle do exercises 1, 4 and 6.
In the first cycle choose a weight that allows you to complete all 10 reps without failing, then gradually increase the weight in subsequent cycles.
Day 1 Day2 Day 3
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl 310
Exercise-Ball Incline Dumbbell Curl 310 310
Alternating Cross-Body Dumbbell Hammer Curl 310 310
One-Arm Exercise-Ball Dumbbell Preacher Curl 310
Standing Towel-Grip Dumbbell Curl 310 310
Standing Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Curl 310
Equipment: exercise ball, set of adjustable dumbbells (such as PowerBlocks), a standard kitchen chair, a large towel
SEATED ALTERNATING DUMBBELL CURL
START: Sit erect on a chair and lean slightly forward. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip [palms facing in] and let your arms hang toward the floor.
EXECUTION: Curl one dumbbell toward your shoulder. As the weight approaches the halfway point, rotate your wrist, so your palm faces up at the top of the move. Squeeze your biceps for a count, then slowly lower the dumbbell along the same path, so your grip is neutral at the full-arm extension. Alternate sides for reps. Resist swinging the dumbbells and stay strict with your form.
EXERCISE-BALL INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL
START: Sit erect on an exercise ball with two dumbbells in your lap. Slowly walk your feet forward and lie back on the ball so your hips are lower than your shoulders. Grasp the weights with a palms-up grip at your sides, so your triceps rest on the ball.
EXECUTION: Contract your biceps to curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders, then slowly lower after a count. Make sure to keep your tris against the ball throughout the move, and don’t lean forward or raise your arms off the ball.
ALTERNATING CROSS-BODY DUMBBELL HAMMER CURL
START: Stand erect holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with a neutral grip.
EXECUTION: Curl one dumbbell to the opposite pec, squeeze the contraction, then lower the weight. In the same slow and controlled manner, alternate sides for reps.
ONE-ARM EXERCISE-BALL DUMBBELL PREACHER CURL
START: Place a dumbbell in front of an exercise ball, then kneel behind it, so your chest and shoulders are supported. Extend your right arm atop the ball, palm up. Spread your knees and push your left hand into the top of the ball to keep it from rolling during the move. Roll forward to grasp the weight, then return to the start, so your triceps is supported.
EXECUTION: Curl the dumbbell toward your shoulder, squeeze your biceps and slowly lower the weight. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
STANDING TOWEL-GRIP DUMBBELL CURL
START: Fold a towel lengthwise to match the width of a dumbbell post. Place the weight in the center of the sheet, squat down and grasp one end of the towel in each hand with a neutral grip. Stand erect, lifting the towel with the dumbbell suspended in the middle.
EXECUTION: Curl your hands toward your shoulders, maintaining a neutral grip. At the top, rotate your wrists and turn your thumbs out for maximum contraction. Reverse the move and slowly lower the weight until your arms are fully extended.
STANDING REVERSE-GRIP DUMBBELL CURL
START: Stand erect holding dumbbells in front of you, palms facing your thighs.
EXECUTION: Curl the weights toward your shoulders, keeping your grip pronated and your elbows in. Squeeze your bis at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells to the full-arm extension