T Nation

Biceps Training: Sticking Point

I know you guys get asked this guestion every day but bare with me.I have no problem building my triceps and getting them good and sore but i have hit a major sticking point with my biceps.

I have been doing heavy barbell curls for 6-8 reps and then either dumbells or rope curls.Which is better for size,lower weight and higher reps for a full pump or lower reps and heavy for strength.Thanks for any insight.

What i do now
100lbs for 8
110 for 6
120 for 4-6
Then dumbells for 8-10
or rope curls for 8-10
NO SQUAT RACK CURLS!!!

I’ve found the best way to feel the biceps working is either up the weight, or squeeze hard at the top of every rep, and mentally focus on the bicep contracting. Other than that maybe try some different exercises, theres plenty of them listed around the forums here.

if your curling more now than eight workouts ago, then your biceps have progressed. soreness isn’t always necessary

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
if your curling more now than eight workouts ago, then your biceps have progressed. soreness isn’t always necessary[/quote]

Roger that.

What I find effective is doing an Ellington Darden type set on a day when your biceps are fresh (say after training chest,legs etc), this basically means doing one set of classic BB curls with a weight you estimate you could do for 8-12 reps.

Then with this weight and strict form push out as many as you can until you are almost crying with pain so should be about 16-20 reps also make the last rep have a very very slow negative of about 10 seconds.

If I throw this in every few weeks my biceps get a good little growth spurt(a double dose of Surge on that day helps to) be warned though you have to push hard through the pain barrier or it won’t have maximum effect,

ShadoW

Soreness have nothing to do with progress. Don’t aim to be sore, that’s just silly.

TRI-SETS. if your at a sticking point with any arm muscles, tri-sets is what you need!! Pick three simple mass builders ie.

1.seated curls
2.standing curls
3.layed down cable curls

Begin your set of seated curls and blast them untill failure. as soon as you can no longer lift any more, quickly move onto standing curls leaving no more than 5 seconds between the sets. after the standing curls, move onto cable curls, again leaving no more than 5 seconds between.

All this will count as one set, just repeat it 3/4 times in an arm work out. Do this one training session per week, for one month and i promise you’ll see a vast improvement (providing your nutrition is up to scratch)

You said you don’t have a problem building triceps. If they are building, and you are working your bi’s I promise you they are growing. Biceps are a small muscle group. One of the best ways to get big biceps is to have big triceps.

I do like the triple set idea. My favorite bicep exercise is the chin up. I do them every bicep day, before any curls.

Pullups are awesome for biceps, not to mention lats. Doing some lighter weight exercise for high reps after really gets a good pump going though and you can’t really work your biceps completely without lighter work because each rep you must pull your body weight.

You don’t have to annihilate them but focusing on getting a good pump by doing heavy rep work followed by low weight high rep has worked for me quite well and I havn’t even been lifting that long.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
Pullups are awesome for biceps, not to mention lats. Doing some lighter weight exercise for high reps after really gets a good pump going though and you can’t really work your biceps completely without lighter work because each rep you must pull your body weight.

You don’t have to annihilate them but focusing on getting a good pump by doing heavy rep work followed by low weight high rep has worked for me quite well and I havn’t even been lifting that long.[/quote]

I say close-grip palms up chinups over pullups for biceps

[quote]Milton wrote:
TRI-SETS. if your at a sticking point with any arm muscles, tri-sets is what you need!! Pick three simple mass builders ie.

1.seated curls
2.standing curls
3.layed down cable curls

Begin your set of seated curls and blast them untill failure. as soon as you can no longer lift any more, quickly move onto standing curls leaving no more than 5 seconds between the sets. after the standing curls, move onto cable curls, again leaving no more than 5 seconds between.

All this will count as one set, just repeat it 3/4 times in an arm work out. Do this one training session per week, for one month and i promise you’ll see a vast improvement (providing your nutrition is up to scratch)[/quote]

Milt, on that Triset you recommended are you decreasing the weight as you sift from exercise to exercise? ALa, drop sets?

for each triset i use the heaviest weight i can, doing 6 reps per exercise. Tho i do have to drop weight as i get to my 2nd, 3rd sets . So i don’t realy drop set them. I tend to use drop sets when i train chest/legs.

I find that for me incline DB curls really work the bicep hard.

[quote]shadowmoses wrote:
What I find effective is doing an Ellington Darden type set on a day when your biceps are fresh (say after training chest,legs etc), this basically means doing one set of classic BB curls with a weight you estimate you could do for 8-12 reps.

Then with this weight and strict form push out as many as you can until you are almost crying with pain so should be about 16-20 reps also make the last rep have a very very slow negative of about 10 seconds.

If I throw this in every few weeks my biceps get a good little growth spurt(a double dose of Surge on that day helps to) be warned though you have to push hard through the pain barrier or it won’t have maximum effect,

ShadoW[/quote]

if you can only do 8-12 how would you magically do 16-20?

[quote]-ETHAN- wrote:
I find that for me incline DB curls really work the bicep hard.[/quote]

I love these too. EMG evidence shows that incline curls and preacher curls recruit the elbow flexors more effectively than other exercises. I like to do partial reps on the top half of the movement at the end of the set. Gives you a real good burn

[quote]redsox348984 wrote:
shadowmoses wrote:
What I find effective is doing an Ellington Darden type set on a day when your biceps are fresh (say after training chest,legs etc), this basically means doing one set of classic BB curls with a weight you estimate you could do for 8-12 reps.

Then with this weight and strict form push out as many as you can until you are almost crying with pain so should be about 16-20 reps also make the last rep have a very very slow negative of about 10 seconds.

If I throw this in every few weeks my biceps get a good little growth spurt(a double dose of Surge on that day helps to) be warned though you have to push hard through the pain barrier or it won’t have maximum effect,

ShadoW

if you can only do 8-12 how would you magically do 16-20?[/quote]

This can be accomplished using; PCP(aka angle dust), high voltage electrical stimulation, or a direct injection of adrenaline to the left ventricle (as seen in the movie pulp fiction)

If arm size is a sticking point for you, you’re probably just going to have to gain a significant amount of weight. If it’s the strength of your biceps that’s a sticking point, then I would use 8 reps in order to get the best gains in strength.

If you don’t move up the weight that you currently row and move up the weight that you currently do pull-ups or lat pulldowns with you wont be able to get stronger arms.

If you’re doing EZ bar curls you might go up in strength by changing how you grip the bar.

It sometimes helps to use one or two high rep sets at the beginning to get the blood flowing into the arms, but yeah the trisets work really well. I like standing ez bar curls, preacher curls and incline db curls.

The incline db curls really hit the biceps hard and make it nearly impossible to cheat. I also sometimes like to add drop sets to the last set for an extra kick.

I think unless you’re on drugs or have freaky genetics you shouldn’t train biceps with more than 6 sets of isolation in a workout. Make those 3-6 sets of biceps that you do really count.

[quote]horsepuss wrote:
*snip

What i do now
100lbs for 8
110 for 6
120 for 4-6
Then dumbells for 8-10
or rope curls for 8-10
NO SQUAT RACK CURLS!!![/quote]

Well there’s your problem. You need to do more rows and weighted pullups. As CW and CT say, what’s going to add more mass, a 50lb isolation curl or a 150lb row?