Who doesn’t want to build big biceps? This muscle group is the most noticed on the upper body.
When someone says, “Show me a muscle,” what does one do? Flex the biceps—the premier show muscle group.
A muscular physique wouldn’t look right without rock-hard, sculpted biceps.
The Best Way To Build Biceps: Best Routines
One school of thought favors entirely compound routines for building these muscles, particularly chin-ups, barbell rows and bent-over dumbbell rows.
Other compound routines that engage the biceps are supinated (palms facing you) lat pull-downs and supinated (palms facing up) seated rows.
The problem with chin-ups as a recommendation for hypertrophy is that this exercise is very impractical for an over-fat individual.
On the other hand, for ectomorphs (those who are skinny and have difficulty gaining muscle), chin-ups can quickly become easy simply because of the strength-to-bodyweight ratio if the individual has a decent overall strength training program.
Because relatively little bodyweight is being hoisted up, there won’t be sufficient stimulation to build big biceps.
This is why whenever you see a thin person knocking off chin-ups, he or she never has bulging or disproportionately big guns!
The other school of thought is that of focusing mostly on arm curls (isolation routines), of which there are abundant variations.
Critics argue that a small muscle group that’s isolated in a routine will never achieve a lot of strength (which is required for hypertrophy) because the body has an automatic safeguard that prevents muscles from getting huge from isolation work to prevent injuries.
So who’s right?
One should combine compound with arm curl routines. Beginners are often very eager to build big biceps quickly.
In fact, in untrained people, muscle growth comes relatively quickly since the body is “shocked” by a very unfamiliar training stimulus, rapidly adapting to meet its ongoing demands.
But as a person leaves the novice stage and enters a more experienced state of training, hypertrophy gains start slowing down.
Nevertheless, intermediate and even advanced trainees are eager to continue to build bigger biceps.
Isolation Arm Curl Routines For The Best Way To Build Biceps:
- Incline bench bilateral (both arms at once) dumbbell curls
- Standing bilateral dumbbell curls
- Standing barbell curls
- Preacher curls
- Very wide cable lat pull-down/arm curl hybrid
How To Build Biceps Fast Begins With Some Rules:
➤ Use proper form (details coming)
➤ Biceps routines should not be performed prior to back routines, because biceps are secondary movers for back exercises, and you want your back muscles to be fresh going into a back workout.
But it’s perfectly suitable to do biceps exercises following a back workout, or any other body-part workout.
➤ For seated and standing arm curls, the upper arms always remains vertical! Allowing the upper arms to shift forward de-isolates the biceps by getting the shoulders involved.
➤ Do not let upper arms flare out, either.
➤ Palms are always supinated (facing forward).
1. Incline Bench
The incline can vary, and the more angled back the bench is, the more challenging the exercise.
Arms hanging straight at sides, back against bench, begin curling.
Remember the rule of keeping upper arms vertical; there is no need to get the dumbbells as high as possible.
Upon lowering the weights, make sure arms don’t hang in a resting position; lower as much as possible before this point.
Otherwise, the muscles get a rest, and you want continuous tension.
2. Standing Bilateral And Standing Barbell
Feet are shoulder width or wider apart, a soft bend in the knees. Upon lifting the dumbbells or barbell, never swing your back to hoist them up.
If this habit is hard to break, do this exercise standing against a wall.
Keep feet flat on floor. Lower the weights just short of a complete arm hang before lifting again.
The barbell can be either a straight bar or E-Z curl, which eliminates wrist strain.
The equipment may either be a selectorized machine (stack of weights with a “pin” to insert in a hole), or a device upon which you load weight plates.
Some find it very uncomfortable for the elbows as they press into the pad, and this also pulls at the skin.
Otherwise, many consider this design of movement conducive to hypertrophy.
Common mistakes with the preacher curl: allowing one’s buttocks to leave the seat on the release (negative) phase of the lift, and not releasing far enough, resulting in partial range of motion.
Some people release literally half-way before each next rep. This deprives significant muscle fiber from work.
Forearms should be lowered to almost the point of making contact with the pad, but don’t make contact.
The third error is letting the wrists become flimsy as one curls, so that there is increasing wrist extension; at the top of the curl, the back of the hands form a 90-degree angle to the top of the wrists.
Wrists should be neutral throughout the routine, so that as you curl, the back of the hands remain aligned with the forearm, making a straight line.
4. Cable Lat Pull-Down/Arm Curl Hybrid
Stand, kneel or sit between two cable stations while pulling the handles towards you from either side of your body, palms facing you.
As you pull, drive elbows downward as though to “elbow” your sides. This routine will give the biceps a super pump and they’ll actually be visibly bigger after several sets to failure.
You now know some great isolation routines to build bigger biceps, but that’s one half the equation. The other half is the workout protocol.
And that is to lift heavier and heavier over time (progressive overload), lift to failure or near failure, and adjust the resistance load so that only 6-12 reps can be completed.
You want maximum strength with hypertrophy, and a 6-12 rep range is ideal for this.
You will not get very big guns if the weight is light enough for more than 12 reps, unless it’s part of a drop-set.
Drop-sets are very effective with the seated incline version. The first set is done for a 6-12 RM.
Without resting, grab a second pair of lighter dumbbells and go to failure. How much lighter is variable, but you should be able to do at least six reps, no more than 15.
Another intensity technique is negative training. During negatives is when most of the muscle fiber is damaged.
Damaged fiber grows back stronger. Negative training is simply that of slowly releasing the weight after each lift.
The release should never be fast; always with control. Taking five seconds will stimulate more fibers.
Another touted technique is called 21s.
The first seven reps are done only half-way up; the next seven are done from the half-way position to the top of the movement, and the last set is done full range of motion.
In addition to isolation routines, you should include classic compound back routines like the T-bar row, bent-over dumbbell rows (face palm forward) and chin-ups. These hammer the back muscles, with the biceps assisting.
There are many ways to incorporate biceps routines into an overall training regimen, and numerous ways to go about this.
You can learn many more ways of how to build biceps fast and furiously by reading Vince DelMonte’s No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program.
Here you’ll find 29-week programs for beginners and intermediate/advanced, full of very effective regimens for building lean muscle everywhere.
The programs change weekly, and the book comes with complete meal plans to support your workouts.