T Nation

range of motion

Within compound movement is there a particular point within the range of motion where the secondary muscles are dominant over the primary movers? So, when in a chin or a row are the biceps working harder than the back? I ask because I think i have a tendancy to overtrain my bis with a standard amount of volume for my back. I’ve cut down on my arm day training volume, but I do not want to reduce this volume to zero, so if I can partially eliminate bicep focus when I train my back, I might be able to see my arms finally grow a little. Note; I’m not talking about always doing partial reps for back movements, as i do understand the value of compound movements, but perhaps 1/3 of back volume becomes partial. thnx


i know in pressing exercises the triceps take over as you near completion of the press. where the triceps become dominant probably depends on the width of the grip and length of your arms. but i’ve wondered about compound back exercises. i’d be interested in hearing from others.

I have noticed when I do bent over rows if I don’t try and keep my upper arms parallel to my back my bi’s will get used more than my back. I am not really sure on chin-ups, I would think as you end the movement.

Just like in the pressing exercises (tricep takes over somewhat near the completion of the movement), the bicep will do the same thing in a pulling movement. I’ve remedied this (since my biceps are pretty strong) by gripping the bar minus my forefinger and pinky. This helps in relaxing my grip somewhat, and disengaging too much bicep support. Allowing me to fully concentrate on the back during the movement.

I know you said you don’t want to but you may consider giving direct arm training a break for a while. Especially if you’ve been doing it for a while. If you want to reduce biceps volume its easier to just cut out the direct biceps work than to try messing with your back routine. Just training your back wil also get your biceps. Training your bicpes isn’t gonna help your back though.

I understand you very well. But I don’t think it’s really a problem with the range of motion but with ‘technique’. I would suggest to try to concentrate on the muscles you actually want to train. E.g. the next time you do rows, reduce your workload a bit and focus on your lats. Concentrate on pulling your upper arm/ellbows back (or up if you do bent-over rows) and imagine your lower arms only as ‘free extension’ of your upper arm. It sounds more tricky than it actually is. Alternatively you can also imagine these movements as ‘pushing’ backwards (as you would do if you kept your arms straight) instead of pulling. Yeah - sounds confusing but I hope you get the idea.

Biceps are generally strongest when the elbow is at about 70 degrees of flexion. If you can avoid full flexion in your elbow during pulling movements, then you may be able to eliminate them partially.
I’m not sure that high volume is your problem though. Remember you need to put on 10 pounds to add any significant size to your biceps.
If you’re putting on weight, and no biceps size, try Booming Biceps.
Furthermore, if you really want to specialize in arm growth, you need to cut back on other body parts anyway. Maybe back is a prime candidate.

Thanks ya’ll. I’m currently dieting, so I imagine that my risk of overtraining is greater…think what I’ll do is cut down on volume for my arms to about 3 or 4 sets, and when i start massing again bump up the volume a bit.