T Nation

Who Will Have the Biggest Biceps?


#1

Have some idle time at work, looking to see if anyone else is similarly bored...

Take two identical twins. One does no other exercises except direct biceps exercises, ie various versions of curls. He focuses on feeling the biceps doing the work and on progressive overload.

The other twin trains his upper back with compound exercises and occasionally throws in a set or two of curls as an afterthought. He focuses on progressive overload.

Who will have bigger biceps after a year? Does the answer depend if the twins are beginners, intermediates, or advanced trainees?

Similarly, take three triplets. One does 100% of his chest training with compound exercises, one does 50% compound exercises, 50% isolation exercises for his chest, and the third does 100% isolation exercises for his chest. Compound exercises are performed with progressive overload as the objective, isolation exercises are performed with feeling the muscle work and progressive overload as the objectives. Who will have the biggest pecs (not tris, shoulders, etc.) at the end of the year, who will have the smallest?


#2

Let me look at my crystal ball here…

Hmm…

I can say with 17.8% accuracy that the guy who does compounds and occasional curls will be the baddest muthafucka out of all of them


#3

The one that squats. Duh.


#4

Which one does his curls in the squat rack?


#5

I am going to try to beat all of them


#6

In all seriousness, I think genetics dictate whether somebody can grow big biceps from compounds. Conversely, I think they can dictate whether somebody can grow huge biceps doing the most basic bro-work (just biceps, etc.)

Mad helpful, I know!


#7

[quote]dt79 wrote:
The one that squats. Duh.[/quote]

only if he does GOMAD


#8

I will


#9

[quote]Pantherhare wrote:
Have some idle time at work, looking to see if anyone else is similarly bored…

Take two identical twins. One does no other exercises except direct biceps exercises, ie various versions of curls. He focuses on feeling the biceps doing the work and on progressive overload.

The other twin trains his upper back with compound exercises and occasionally throws in a set or two of curls as an afterthought. He focuses on progressive overload.

Who will have bigger biceps after a year? Does the answer depend if the twins are beginners, intermediates, or advanced trainees?

Similarly, take three triplets. One does 100% of his chest training with compound exercises, one does 50% compound exercises, 50% isolation exercises for his chest, and the third does 100% isolation exercises for his chest. Compound exercises are performed with progressive overload as the objective, isolation exercises are performed with feeling the muscle work and progressive overload as the objectives. Who will have the biggest pecs (not tris, shoulders, etc.) at the end of the year, who will have the smallest? [/quote]

not enough information included to reasonably come to a conclusion. There are so many variables you’re ignoring. Intensity, time under tension, total volume, set and rep schemes, the list goes on. How about the specific exercises being done? Wouldn’t that be useful, rather than using the generic term of ‘compound lifts’? pull ups and rows are both compound movements for the upper back, but pull ups are probably better for bicep development, depending on which grip is used, something you’re also not accounting for. Are the participants able to do multiple pull ups, or even 1? Are they obese? Are they skinny?

You asked a very thoughtless question, although I’m sure you believed it was a smart one. Back to the drawing board, eh?


#10

Are you trying to find out how to get big arms?


#11

I assume the latter twin will eat more and, therefore, actually grow.


#12

[quote]Pantherhare wrote:
Have some idle time at work, looking to see if anyone else is similarly bored…

Take two identical twins. One does no other exercises except direct biceps exercises, ie various versions of curls. He focuses on feeling the biceps doing the work and on progressive overload.

The other twin trains his upper back with compound exercises and occasionally throws in a set or two of curls as an afterthought. He focuses on progressive overload.

Who will have bigger biceps after a year? Does the answer depend if the twins are beginners, intermediates, or advanced trainees? [/quote]

I don’t know. I couldn’t tell those pesky identical bastards apart to begin with.


#13

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

not enough information included to reasonably come to a conclusion. There are so many variables you’re ignoring. Intensity, time under tension, total volume, set and rep schemes, the list goes on. How about the specific exercises being done? Wouldn’t that be useful, rather than using the generic term of ‘compound lifts’? pull ups and rows are both compound movements for the upper back, but pull ups are probably better for bicep development, depending on which grip is used, something you’re also not accounting for. Are the participants able to do multiple pull ups, or even 1? Are they obese? Are they skinny?

You asked a very thoughtless question, although I’m sure you believed it was a smart one. Back to the drawing board, eh?[/quote]

It was a more general type question, I left out specifics on purpose. Does it matter if a twin did medium grip pull-ups vs close gripped biceps? If 25% of his upper back work consisted of the latter, will he have bigger biceps than the twin who does curls?
How would the fact of whether they were obese or skinny make a difference in the results to their biceps?

Like I said, it’s a general question along the lines of compound vs isolation exercises for a discrete bodypart. But if you want specifics, let’s say for the back-training twin, 12-15 sets consisting of 6-12 reps divided evenly between dumbbell rows, wide grip pull ups, t-bar rows, and rack pulls. The biceps-training twin does 9-12 sets consisting of 8-15 reps divided between dumbbell curls, hammer curls, and cable curls. Average weight, 1 year of training experience, they can do 10 bodyweight chin-ups.


#14

[quote]MickyGee wrote:
In all seriousness, I think genetics dictate whether somebody can grow big biceps from compounds. Conversely, I think they can dictate whether somebody can grow huge biceps doing the most basic bro-work (just biceps, etc.)

Mad helpful, I know![/quote]

Are you saying that if a guy can get big biceps from just compound work, they might not be able to get big biceps from just isolation work?


#15

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
The one that squats. Duh.[/quote]

only if he does GOMAD[/quote]

But won’t that make him build bulky muscle instead of lean muscle?


#16

[quote]spar4tee wrote:
I assume the latter twin will eat more and, therefore, actually grow.[/quote]

What if they ate the same diet?


#17

[quote]Pantherhare wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

not enough information included to reasonably come to a conclusion. There are so many variables you’re ignoring. Intensity, time under tension, total volume, set and rep schemes, the list goes on. How about the specific exercises being done? Wouldn’t that be useful, rather than using the generic term of ‘compound lifts’? pull ups and rows are both compound movements for the upper back, but pull ups are probably better for bicep development, depending on which grip is used, something you’re also not accounting for. Are the participants able to do multiple pull ups, or even 1? Are they obese? Are they skinny?

You asked a very thoughtless question, although I’m sure you believed it was a smart one. Back to the drawing board, eh?[/quote]

It was a more general type question, I left out specifics on purpose. Does it matter if a twin did medium grip pull-ups vs close gripped biceps? If 25% of his upper back work consisted of the latter, will he have bigger biceps than the twin who does curls?
How would the fact of whether they were obese or skinny make a difference in the results to their biceps?

Like I said, it’s a general question along the lines of compound vs isolation exercises for a discrete bodypart. But if you want specifics, let’s say for the back-training twin, 12-15 sets consisting of 6-12 reps divided evenly between dumbbell rows, wide grip pull ups, t-bar rows, and rack pulls. The biceps-training twin does 9-12 sets consisting of 8-15 reps divided between dumbbell curls, hammer curls, and cable curls. Average weight, 1 year of training experience, they can do 10 bodyweight chin-ups.

[/quote]

Then you would still have to take into consideration their anthropometric structures, individual work ethic, mmc to the target muscle when doing compounds, consistancy when it comes to diet, stressors affecting hormones, tolerance to volume…


#18

[quote]Pantherhare wrote:

[quote]spar4tee wrote:
I assume the latter twin will eat more and, therefore, actually grow.[/quote]

What if they ate the same diet?[/quote]

If they both ate the same diet, obviously the one expending less calories is going to grow bigger.


#19

Too many variables. What if we had the same guy doing isolation dah pumpz work on his left side and compounds with one arm on his right with some contraptions built by Bat man to do the work of the second arm. Which arm would be bigger?


#20

[quote]Pantherhare wrote:
Like I said, it’s a general question along the lines of compound vs isolation exercises for a discrete bodypart.
[/quote]

What if I told you…that you could build a really good physique using just compound exercises, just isolation exercises, OR a combination of the two?