T Nation

Not Seeing Gains in My Biceps


I was always into weight lifting and staying fit for a majority of my life but I never got serious enough to actually see big gains. I recently moved out to Colorado from Vermont and trying to go to the gym was a tough task because of the thin air. I kept going to the gym even though I could not lift that much compared to the lower elevations.

But now that I made it through the struggles of early exhaustion I have been getting more intense in my workouts. I weighed 205 three months ago and now I am down to 190. I started out doing db bench with sets of 60,70,80 and now I am doing sets of 90,100,110 where I can get 100 up eight times with no spot and 110 up three or four times before spot cuts in then I could finish seven.

I just have a problem with seeing gains in my biceps. I lift them twice a week and I feel that I work them pretty hard. They will get cut pretty good but not stronger, any words of advise that you could give to me?


If you are losing weight, why do you think you will see gains in your biceps?

Most experience a 15-20lbs gain in overall body mass to see one inch gained on their biceps.

There are way too many of you lately who seem to think your arms will magically get bigger even though the rest of you isn't growing very much.


dude biceps are the shit so keep working


Curls and other "bicep" lifts are almost usless for developing strength.

The bicep is a tiny muscle compared to most.

Bent over Rows, dumbell and barbell combined with other heavy pulling movements like T-Bar rows, and pull ups/ weighted pull ups.

Big weight for big muscle, you find me someone who rows with the 150 pound dumbbells that doesnt have big arms.


Yeah dude, seriously. You're probably only busting your ass now and the DB pressess, and could always handle that kind of weight. Since you're LOSING bodyweight, there's no way your shit's going to get any bigger.


Bullshit. It all works together. Do everything. The notion that you need to AVOID direct biceps work is dumb as hell.


While I agree with your point, I do Kroc rows with the 150 pounder for 30 reps and I don't have big arms (16.5 in. @ 220~lbs). I realize this isn't rowing them strict but I'm sure I could for a solid 10 at least.


partial chins are good when u reach faliure hold urself with 90 degree bend in the elbow for as long as u can


I would recommend that if you're worried about strenth in your biceps then you need to perform your lifts with heavier weight in order to develop and recruit more motor units. Also, if you're doing biceps twice a week on top of doing other splits like back (assumption) which also obviously requires the use of your biceps and have been doing so for a while, there is a good chance that you're inhibiting their growth, not giving them enough time to recoup.

Hit them hard and heavy but less frequently and then give them time to recover. ProfX is correct however if when you say "gains" you're speaking about size and not strength. Being in a caloric defecit means that your body will go catabolic preventing growth. You cannot make additions in size if you aren't supplying the building blocks. My 2, hope this helps.


In my experience curls by themselves will result in almost nothing but tendon problems.

Curls + rows + chins will result in strong arms.

Problem is when most people train they on do curls or some variation of curls.


I don't know anything about tendon problems, but the idea is to do EVERYTHING.
1. Curls are the BEST exercise for the biceps, no doubt, but you need to gain weight and gain strength on the regular upper body mass builders as well as on bicep curls to BE BIG, have big arms AND prominent biceps to match the overall arm and mass.

  1. If you avoid curls entirely, you MAY have big arms but will have lagging/non-existent biceps.
  2. If you ONLY do curls, you MAY have prominent (but small) biceps on small arms.


Who is telling people to ONLY do curls? Why are any of you telling people to avoid them?

Do I look like someone who ONLY does curls?


You're just doing this to piss me off, aren't you.



Curls useless for strength?

Where exactly is the issue:
You start BB curling with something like 40-50 pounds on your top-set for 6-8... Bunch 'o' years later you're doing 185 for 6-8 with loose form (not cheat curls as such).

So what did you gain, not strength?

And does somebody in here think that this would somehow not cause your biceps to grow substantially ?

I don't even use my arms much when chinning or rowing, they serve as hooks and that's it...

And about tendon problems: I've seen and heard of my share of morons who think that weighted chins are the shit for bicep size (fault of one or two authors you may know) and ended up with fucked up bicep tendons.


he's loosing weight he aint gonna grow arms, as prof x said , about a 10lbs in weight to put on 1 inch on your arms, if your arms exercises areb't working try some others or if you want big arms concetrate more on your triceps, three heads there to hit


There is no one telling people to only do curls for biceps, nor am I telling you that.

People only do curls for biceps because they dont know any better, and no one is telling anyone to avoid them, only that they are arent much use as a standalone exersise.


Dude, people with big arms are telling you that they ARE much use as a stand alone exercise. Yes, they DO build strength. I was curling 90lbs dumbbells before I quit doing alternate dumbbell curls and that is after starting with only 35lbs dumbbells my first time in a serious gym. Are you saying I didn't add strength or that it wasn't much use?

Your biceps are not just "beach muscles". If you plan on benching over 400lbs you had better have strong biceps because they aid in stabilizing the weight.

You all have been brain washed by this bullshit by trainers acting like biceps can be half assed and you can still make progress.

Quit listening to little people who try to tell you how to get big.


I fully agree with this! I don't understand how anyone can build arms of any decent size without direct arm work unless maybe they have horrible mind-muscle connection with their back and use 90% arms to do any form of back exercises.

Don't know about most of you but I don't even feel my arms working when I'm rowing or doing any kind of back exercise for that matter.

To the OP - stop expecting your arms to grow when you are losing weight...it doesn't work like that.


If my biceps are getting a huge pump from back exercises to the point that I don't need to train them directly...I am doing the back exercises fucking wrong.


That's what I think too. I hardly even notice my bis when I'm doing back work - and their growing has a pretty reasonable correlation to how my bicep work is progressing.