T Nation

Bicep peaks

I have made astounding progress in my biceps. However, they don’t peak like I’d like them to. I’m wondering which exercise for bi’s are best to form the peak?

Mr. Biceps, which exercises do you do now? We need to know that first before anybody can make a suggestion.

Concentration curls with a 2 second hold/squeeze at the top of the lift and a 3 second eccentric release.

Some biceps never “peak”. Look at the difference between Larry Scott’s, Anrold’s and Dave Draper’s.
Some exercise you might try are:

  • Spider Curls - Can be done over the back side of a preacher bench. The key point is the brace the upper arm in the vertical plane.
  • Pull down curls with a partner - Sitting under the pull-down machine curl the bar to the back of the neck while having your partner keep you upper arms in a vertical plane.
    Best of Luck.

No exercise. It’s genetic.

Older Lifter is rather correct. The “peak” that some bodybuilders display is genetic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build decent biceps. When I want to really contract the biceps I do cable curls. At the top of the movement I squeeze the bicep and flex my wrist (knuckles away from bod, palm heel “open”).

In keeping with what Older Lifter said "Some biceps never ‘peak.’’’
The shape of your bicep muscles or any other muscle
in your body is predetermined by genetic makeup.
So, in actuality, you really can’t change the shape of a
muscle; you can only make it bigger!

Proof: Look at the photos of any famous pro-bodybuilder recent or past before they reached full maturity. Now compare them to photos taken while they were in their prime. You will notice that their structural lines have changed little, if any - the only difference being that of size and freakishness!

Many feel (as Older Lifter has indicated as well as Vince Gironda and Larry Scott back-in-the-day), that an important key to bringing out our genetic “peak” is to increase the mass of the brachialis that sits under the biceps. This is effectively done by taking the biceps “out” of the curling movement. The two most effective? (as indicated by Older Lifter): Lat Machine Overhead Curls and Spider Bench Curls (see the “Favorite Biceps Exercise” Thread for more on the Spider Bench).


Let me warn you; leave the egos at the door, baby, on these brachialis movements! You will be able to use only a fraction of the weight that you use with standard biceps movements, (especially with the Overhead Lat Machine Pulldowns).

Concentration curls are the best route to getting your peaks up, but like the others have said, you may not be genetically programmed for high peaks, so dont worry about it too much. With low bf% and huge guns, the bis look amazing regardless of peak =)

I am going to have to agree and disagree on this one. While I agree that the bicep peak is determined by genetics, I would say that different excercises work the muscle differently. For example, don’t you notice your muscle will form a different shape when using lots of hammer curls as opposed to regular barbell curls. Eventually after using different excersies and grips your arms will kinda just round out. So maybe you have been concentrating on working your arms in a certain way and missing another.

Pick your parents more carefully next time.

Too late now; you should have chosen better parents:)

When I started bodybuilding in '91, at 38 years of age, I had small biceps and extremely skinny arms. However, I had been “throwing” nunchucks for years before then, so I had a small ball of muscle. Anyway, I started with curls, incline DB curls, concentration curls, drags, hammers (both regular, and in front of the chest), and quickly built peaks in both bis, even tho my left far excels over the right! I may be genetically inclined for the peaks, but again, when I first started, I had almost no muscle, and definately no peaks, so I think you should coninue “trying” to achieve it. Time may build them with perserverence! What I did almost religiously in the beginning, and still do, is hold the rep at the top of the contraction for a count or more. I’ll be honest, I had a weider bench with a pulley for rows that I used for concentration curls in different positions, but I didn’t know all the exercises, etc, and seemed to put more “peak stress” on my bis with a sorta side-standing, and bending with one arm on one knee bis pump contraction with the cable! Again, I may have gotten peaks no matter what~~also, after each bis set, I do the double bis pose, hard, for 5, 10, 15 seconds, depending on my energy, time etc. Also, every time I use DB, I supinate the wrist at the top of the most contracted position, hitting the bis in both positions at once (my opinion); and along with all the supination of the underhand 'chucks movement, I believe that helped. I rarely throw the chucks anymore, just enough to be able to use them.

I don’t disagree with many of the points.


What I think is important, though, is that certain exercises may maximize whatever that genetic potential is.

Make them bigger, should peak eventually. To others, wouldn’t posing help a little if he is not able to really get a good hard contraction? Realizing that THAT would only assist the peak appearance when contracting the biceps.

Doing hammer curls may help increase strength and mass in your biceps bracialli (I don’t think I spelled that right) but that may help push up your muscle and give it a little more of a “peak.”