T Nation

Lagging Bis

Recently my bicep development has really slowed while my tricep development has continued. My tris look great but i want my biceps to look just as good. Here is my routine.

Barbell Curls- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
incline curls- 4 of 6-12
preacher curls- 4 of 6-12
cable curls- 3 of 6-10
concentration curls - 4 of 8-12

Any suggestions would help me out. Thanks

If you have been doing direct arm work and have hit a wall, I think that you should take the advise I have seen on this board about “not” working them directly. Do a search about this and you will see what I am talking about.

Before the boys start flaming…what does your ENTIRE training program consist of?

Stop overworking and you’ll see progress.

You must be insane if you think you need 17 sets to stimulate growth.

All you need is 3 sets each of Reverse grip curls, incline db curls, and preacher curls.

Your biceps are a small muscle. There’s little need to hit it directly with more than 9 sets per workout, and that’s plenty.

Remember, you want to hit it with enough volume, but too much (or GROSSLY too much, in your case) will halt any progress and may cause regression. If your strength is going down somewhat and your bis are losing size, this would be why.

Jake im no expert,but i would say that volume looks alittle too high…

How many times a week are you training Arms? You may be over training.More is not better in this situation.

You’re going to here the same thing with almost every reply


Diesel, how did you do in math when you were in school?

Call me crazy, but I count 19 sets.

Try doing some"explosive" pull-ups to stimulate the muscles to gain size.

You’re doing the right thing to train the biceps from different angles.

Don’t overtrain. This may slow down your progress.

diesel, when you say to hit your biceps with no more than 9 sets per workout, does that mean your version of 9 (i.e. 11), or our version? Just trying to clarify.

I think your body is going to develop the way it’s determined to. That is, certain parts will be stronger than others if that’s how they’re built to be.

That said, I don’t think you should give up on them. I would lay off them for a while (esp. off that program) and focus on varying your back routine which may stimulate your bis differently.

Give them a break for a month or so, then give that Arm EDT a try for 4 weeks.

I completely agree with the others. You’re doing way too much direct bicep work. Ease up on the volume and start doing more compound lifts which require the work of many muscle groups simultaneously and I guarantee they’ll grow like never before.

Work the whole chain by doing close grip pull ups. The biceps won’t grow all by themselves if other parts of the chain are weak. This is basically what Coach Waterbury has written before.

I’m not going to address the overtraining angle as I think it’s pretty much been covered.

However, I think a better knowledge of your COMPLETE program would help more. Specifically, when you train your biceps are you training them first in your workout? How about early in the week? If not you may want to prioritize your training such that you work your weaker parts (i.e., your biceps) early in the week and early within that workout. Again, I’m assuming that you’re only training them once per week to begin with. Anything else would be overkill. Another question I might ask is how long you’ve been doing your current routine. It seems as though your set/rep protocol is pretty standard. You may want to sub in for other exercises you don’t usually do or throw in a different rep scheme.

And finally, I know it has been said, but perhaps take some time away from direct arm training. If you want to hit your biceps include supinated (palms up) chins in you back routine. If nothing else take a month off them. When you come back to them they’ll probably explode with growth.

i’ve found that in the past supersetting bis and tris works well for me. For example:

barbell curls
overhead dumbbell extensions
dumbbell curls


how about working your forearms to stimulate growth in the muscles underlying and supporting the biceps? Especially for the brachioradalis(sp?) muscle that starts at the wrist and ties end at the shoulder.

Sergio Olivia claimed that was one of the reasons why most BB’s don’t develop good arm size…they don’t work the forearms separately.

As a side note, chics dig well developed forearms, as much, if not more, than well developed biceps…probably because forearms are almost always visible.

Also, look at Chad Waterbury’s anti-bodybuilding hypertrophy program. It will give you an entirely different range of set/reps than you currently use. And, it will do so within a periodization schedule that changes set/rep schemes for the same muscle within a one week period.

Add his 100 rep program to the ABH program and you may have a winner!

diesel is here for all of our entertainment…

I took the advise about doing compound movements mostly and cutting way back on arms. I used to be all over arms like flies on shit. But they never got much bigger than 17 inches, except when pumped. For the past 10 weeks I’ve been doing mainly compound movements with a few sets for biceps after back day and an equal amount of sets for tris after chest day. It was hard for the ego at first. But I measured my cold flexed arm at 18 inches last week! Not huge by anyone’s standard but a definite improvement for me.