As soon as you mention big arms, the biceps are the first thing most people think of. While it’s true that to have huge guns the triceps should not be ignored since they make up more arm size, you have to have fully developed biceps to really stretch the tape.Most people love to train biceps, flexing their arms with pride at the end of every set, yet not always seeing the kind of results they want to see. This article will tell you how to get the results you want from your biceps training.
It’s important to know the function of the muscle you’re training in order to design a routine that properly works that muscle. The biceps is properly known as the biceps brachii and is a two headed muscle. This muscle has two functions: Flexion – the action of bringing the arm up to the shoulder and Supination – the action of twisting the wrist, or turning the thumbs away from the body. The brachialis is a small muscle which lies just beneath the biceps. It is not really a part of the bicep muscle but is included in the discussion because an untrained brachialis muscle can add up to an inch to your current arm size. How cool is that?
We’re going to be using two routines because many bodybuilders stick to the same routine long after its stopped working. Research shows that 3-4 weeks is the most you want to spend on a routine, then it is time to change. Otherwise you hit a plateau and stop getting results. You can use these two routines one of two ways – either do the first routine straight through for 3-4 weeks then go to routine #2, or switch between the two each week (do # 1 for one week and #2 for the next week). Also, try to add weight to your exercises every week, even if it’s just 2 1/2 lbs. Adding weight consistently is essential for growth, your focus should always be to beat your performance from the last workout.
Routine # 1
Seated EZ Bar Curls
Use this pyramid to do your curls: 15reps, 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 6 reps. The first 3 sets are warmups, the last 3 your working sets. Use a weight that allows you to fail at the prescribed number of reps, don’t stop the set just because you hit the number, especially if you can do more.
These are done seated on a bench with your back against the pad to prevent cheating, don’t rest the bar on your thighs during your set. By doing them this way, your biceps do the work as opposed to your back and legs if your form is less than perfect. This makes sense, why bother to do an exercise if it’s not working the intended muscle? How do you expect to see results from exercises performed that way? Do it with your back and legs out of it and you’ll feel the difference. The EZ bar is easier on the wrists than a straight bar and is also great for triceps work. Use an explosive up/slow down rep performance with no pausing.
Incline Dumbbell Curls – Supinate
2 sets of 8 reps. To perform this exercise, start with your palms facing towards your legs when holding the dumbbells. As you curl up, twist the thumbs away from the body, as you lower; twist the thumbs back towards the body. This is a continuous tension exercise with a pause and squeeze at the top.
2 sets of 8 reps: do these by holding the dumbbell like a hammer, then curl up to the opposite shoulder.
Done seated or kneeling with arms across a flat bench- 2 sets of 8-10 reps. These will keep constant tension on the muscle from start to finish.Do 8-10 reps to failure, extend the sets by using r/p, partials or forced reps. Always get 2 more, whether they are partials, forced, or whatever.
Routine # 2
Alternate Dumbbell Curls – Supinate
2 -3 sets after warm ups, 6-8 reps per set to positive failure, don’t extend the set, save it for the 21’s to follow.
EZ Curls – 21’s
2 sets, if you can. Do these with no momentum until the very end (2 or 3 controlled cheat reps are OK). These are done by doing the curl from the start position to halfway up, then back down for 7 reps, from halfway up to the top then back down to the halfway point for 7 reps and finally doing the complete curl for 7 reps. Don’t wuss out on the weight either, make it heavy so those last 7 take everything you’ve got!
Many bodybuilders that have problems with biceps development do so because they aren’t using good form; they are attempting to do curls with a weight that is to heavy. So here you have someone, jerking the weight up with everything except the biceps and then failing to control it on the way down. What’s the point of a rep like that? Yes, controlled cheating at the end of a set does have it’s place but proper rep performance of any exercise for any muscle is extremely important. This means you have to be able to feel it in the target muscle, getting a good contraction every time.
Also, be sure to use a weight heavy enough to allow you to fail at the listed number of reps. Heavy weight, lifted correctly, builds muscle. Rep tempo is also important – here I’m talking more about lowering the weight slowly. The thing to remember here is about tempo, it’s not a race to see who can lift the fastest. Think 3-5 seconds up and the same down. In most free weight curls, you lose the resistance at the top of the movement, most people flex hard at the top in an attempt to compensate for this. It’s better not to bring the weight up to that point but rather bring up to the point just before you lose the resistance, this will keep the muscle under more tension. Don’t lower to a dead stop either, keep the reps going, make it feel like one long rep, with constant tension the whole way through.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine
This routine is a typical Arnold routine, but Arnold’s routine did changed constantly. Sometimes he trained twice a day, and other times, once a day. There were periods when he did lots of forced reps. There were times when he did supersets and giant sets. Arnold tried every thing, and picked what worked best for him at that particular time.
Arnold rested little between sets, and usually increased pound ages wile each subsequent set. Although he experimented with high reps at times, he usually preferred a rep range in the neighborhood of 6 to 10. If he could only do five he would cheat to get past thay sticking point. However, Arnold’s cheating wasn’t the same as the average person’s. If he did a cheat curl, it wasn’t the same as an average bodybuilder swinging a weight from top lo bottom. It was controlled, deliberate cheating.
His concentration was complete. As far as the philosophy or his workouts is concerned, he was almost an existentialist. Nothing existed outside the set at hand. To illustrate this, one of his workout partners remembered the time when he and Arnold were doing 20 sets of biceps curls. The training partner said, “Boy, Arnold, we have fourteen sets to go.” Arnold replied: “No, we have only one. The one we are working on”.
Mon, Wed, Fri
Bench press – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Flat bench flies – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Incline bench press – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Cable crossovers – 6 sets, 10-12 reps
Dips – 5 sets, to failure
Dumbbell pullovers – 5 sets, 10-12 reps
Front wide-grip chin-ups – 6 sets, to failure
T-bar rows – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated pulley rows – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
One-arm dumbbell rows – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Straight-leg deadlift – 6 sets, 15 reps
Squats – 6 sets, 8-12 reps
Leg presses – 6 sets, 8-12 reps
Leg extensions – 6 sets, 12-15 reps
Leg curls – 6 sets, 10-12 reps
Barbell lunges – 5 sets, 15 reps
Standing calf raises -10 sets, 10 reps
Seated calf raises – 8 sets, 15 reps
One-legged calf raises (holding dumbbells) – 6 sets,12 reps
Wrist curls (forearms on knees) – 4 sets, 10 reps
Reverse barbell curls – 4 sets, 8 reps
Wright roller machine – to failure
Nonstop instinct training for 30 minutes
Tues, Thurs, Sat
Barbell curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated dumbbell curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Dumbbell concentration curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Close-grip bench presses (for the all three heads) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Pushdowns (exterior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Barbell French presses (interior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
One-arm dumbbell triceps extensions (exterior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated barbell presses – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Lateral raises (standing) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Rear-deltoid lateral raises – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Cable lateral raises – 5 sets, 10-12 reps
Calves and Forearms:
Same as Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Same as Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Jim Brewster has over 30 years experience in bodybuilding and
is known internationally as an authority in the fitness field.
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