T Nation

Biceps Tips and Tricks


#1

Hi people
I’ve still been trying to get some meat on my biceps. So will you answer please what approach is better for gaining mass.Taking standing barbell curl for instance. I can work with 32 kg (70 lbs) but it is almost the limit. I can hardly do it more than three reps at one.set Or should i take less iron and do 20-25reps with 16 kg (35lbs) for example?
Sorry for my poor terminology. I think my problem is understandable. Thanks, guys!


#2

Use a weight you can hit for about 3x10-12.


#3

There is no black or white answer here. Do both, you can get stronger both in 3-5 reps and 10-12 range. Although low reps for an isolation exercise is not very common, i’m sure it will carry over to rep work and size.

If you work with enough frequency (2-3 times a week) & volume, they will grow. CT wrote an interesting biceps article today check that out.


#4

Hello, I am skinny. What strategy of workout should I work it to get big? More reps or fewer reps? Thanks


#5

all you really need for biceps is heavy weight, volume and a stretch so id do something like cheat curls and hammer curls for heavy, volume on cable or preacher curls then stretch with either Arnold curls or seated dumbbell curls. if youre looking for overall size hit your triceps more.


#6

I’m going to go a little against the grain here. Focus on elbow/shoulder health rather than maximising bicep growth… so:

  • ditch the heavy work, leave that part of the equation to rows and chins
  • use the old biceps work (I did a typo there: niceps… made myself laugh) cue of performing the exercise asa bicep pose with a weight - this will drastically cut the weight you use
  • Incline curls always left me with a forearm or elbow injury
  • ditto preacher but not as bad (I think these don’t get as great results)
  • Use fatgrips/fatbars
  • I tend to switch up the stimulus pretty often… cables, ropes, bars, DBs, BBs, slower tempo, faster tempo, time squeezing at the top
  • I tend to vary the reps and sets fairly often (15, 12, 10, 8)
  • Biceps are one of the few muscles I will use stuff like dropsets, isometrics, etc on
  • Go a cycle now and again without training them

#7

[quote]docsiraj wrote:
Hello, I am skinny. What strategy of workout should I work it to get big? More reps or fewer reps? Thanks[/quote]

Compound movements, get stronger in the 5-8 range, full body 3x/week for now. And eat. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press, rows, pullups.


#8

[quote]GorillaMon wrote:
Use a weight you can hit for about 3x10-12.[/quote]
This.

Leave the heavy work for Rows and Pullups.
Isometric work is all about the pump.

Edit: Having said that you wont really get bigger biceps unless your whole upper body also gets bigger. As your lats and trapezius grow then so too will your biceps.
Lifters like Charles Poliquin are the exception to the rule but certainly not the norm.


#9

[quote]docsiraj wrote:
Hello, I am skinny. What strategy of workout should I work it to get big? More reps or fewer reps? Thanks[/quote]

Read any 10 articles


#10

[quote]docsiraj wrote:
Hello, I am skinny. What strategy of workout should I work it to get big? More reps or fewer reps? Thanks[/quote]

To gain weight you need to eat in a caloric surplus. This means you must consume more calories then what you burn. Think about getting in large amounts of protein and vegetables and the rest should take care of itself.
Plenty of articles on this site about nutrition so I suggests you read them.

As for rep ranges it is often determined by the exercise you are doing.
For example:
5-7 is good for Bench Press whilst 10-12 is good for Parallel Bar Dips.
5-7 is good for Barbbell Bent Over Rows whilst 10-12 is good for One Arm Dumbbell Rows.
3-5 is good for Conventional Deadlift whilst 5-7 is good for Romanian Deadlifts.
And so on…


#11

Why has no one mentioned frequency? I’ve recently experienced the best arm growth of my life by bumping up the training frequency.

I have a dedicated arm day once per week, and biceps get an extra 2-3 sets after my back session. Very noticeable results.
I’m genuinely starting to believe that 2x per week should be the minimum frequency for most body parts… But that’s another rant entirely.

EDIT: Outlaws mentioned frequency.


#12

[quote]tsantos wrote:
I’m going to go a little against the grain here. Focus on elbow/shoulder health rather than maximising bicep growth… so:

  • ditch the heavy work, leave that part of the equation to rows and chins
  • use the old biceps work (I did a typo there: niceps… made myself laugh) cue of performing the exercise asa bicep pose with a weight - this will drastically cut the weight you use
  • Incline curls always left me with a forearm or elbow injury
  • ditto preacher but not as bad (I think these don’t get as great results)
  • Use fatgrips/fatbars
  • I tend to switch up the stimulus pretty often… cables, ropes, bars, DBs, BBs, slower tempo, faster tempo, time squeezing at the top
  • I tend to vary the reps and sets fairly often (15, 12, 10, 8)
  • Biceps are one of the few muscles I will use stuff like dropsets, isometrics, etc on
  • Go a cycle now and again without training them[/quote]

x2

I very rarely train biceps (perhaps 5-6 times in the last 12 months) but have fairly good arms (~16") from pull ups and deadlifts, what is more I don’t suffer from elbow pain. If you follow the typical ‘split’ which puts a huge emphasis on anterior ahoulder / chest / arms then you could be asking for trouble.

If you include arm training as part of a balanced program, focus on quality rather than quantity and you’re laughing.


#13

Don’t forget to hit the different heads in case that hasn’t been mentioned.


#14

[quote]Airborne88 wrote:
I very rarely train biceps (perhaps 5-6 times in the last 12 months) but have fairly good arms (~16") from pull ups and deadlifts
[/quote]

I occasionally see people mention this with no explanation. How would deadlifts contribute to biceps growth?


#15

[quote]GorillaMon wrote:
Use a weight you can hit for about 3x10-12.[/quote]
Thanks! “you can hit” means ‘the weight I am able to handle with doing 10-12 reps at a set’, doesn’t it?
I’m a not a native English speaker


#16

[quote]outlaws wrote:

If you work with enough frequency (2-3 times a week) & volume, they will grow. CT wrote an interesting biceps article today check that out. [/quote]
Thanks. I will


#17

thanks!