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December 5, 2016

Biceps

Big biceps

Brian Patterson

Since we’re talking about building muscle, let’s cut to the chase: Men want to know how to build bigger biceps — and fast.

Why? Well, it’s the iconic muscle group. When someone says, “show me your muscle” you know which one they’re talking about.  If you search the word “biceps” in Google, you’ll get some 29,000,000 results. It’s a small muscle group with a huge rep.

The best way is the fastest way. Anyone promising you instant results in a matter of weeks is scamming you. Nothing happens overnight when it comes to building muscle. But you can maximize your results by going at it the right way.

If you do a search and read a number of articles, you’re going to see information that is all over the place. Lots of it will get highly technical with academic descriptions of anatomy and claims that certain movements trigger specific results in particular places. 

Hooey, as my old man used to say. Muscles don’t think. They respond to tension. Period. The basics are what is important here. The best bicep exercises are easy to define. It’s how we do them that makes all the difference.

The fastest way to get from here…


To here…

… Is to focus on the Basics. A reminder on the 2 essentials for all muscle building:

1. Hypertrophy

This is the process of causing microscopic damage to the target muscle fibers and allowing them to heal with rest and good nutrition. Lots of quality protein. Once a week is plenty of work for biceps. If you do twice weekly, space it out so you give the muscles plenty of rest and recuperation time between workouts.

You’ll know this is happening if you feel the Pump in your target muscles. The Pump is that legendary feeling Schwarzenegger first talked about more than 40 years ago. It’s a real feeling caused by blood rushing into the muscle with nutrients to repair and grow it, while flushing out toxins.

2. Mind/Muscle Connection

This is an intense mental focus on the target muscle as you’re working it. You want to feel the constant tension in the muscle as hypertrophy is happening.

Here’s the formula:

You can’t maintain a Mind/Muscle Connection if you’re using body english to swing weights around that are too heavy. You want to select a weight you can handle cleanly for 8 – 12 reps per set.

You want to take the muscle to “failure” in each set you do. Failure means you cannot do another clean rep without cheating. Don’t cheat. You might get 12 reps in the first set, but 8 or even fewer in the last set.  

Feel the Pump.

The right way: focus on a continuous movement, not jerky stop and start. This is about exhausting the muscle, not how much weight you’re using. You want to continuously move the weight. Don’t rest it on your thighs and then swing it up. Keep it moving in a smooth motion till you can’t do another rep.

Volume is important to reach failure in each set. Exhaust the target muscles. If you’re just starting out, you will have to work up to this level. If you have to start by only doing 1 -2 sets of each movement, then start there. 

3 – 5 Sets, 8 – 12 Reps per Set

Work up to 5 sets of 3 different curling movements for a total of 15 sets. Work up to it if you’re just starting out. Start with 1 set per workout if you need to.

A lot of people would be horrified by this workout. It is especially not trendy in today’s world of functional cross fit blah blah blah. But it works and it will get you the fastest results.

I suggest doing these consecutively — in a row. Remember, we’re trying to exhaust those biceps.

Ideal rest time is 30 seconds between sets. A minute or two max between different types of movements. Again, work up to it if you’re just starting out.

Using movements that can be done with a simple barbell and dumbbells, here’s an example routine:

3 – 5 Sets Barbell Curls – Straight or Curling bar

 

 3 – 5 Sets Dumbbell Hammer Curls

3 – 5 Sets Dumbbell Concentration Curls

Feel Free to Substitute:

Rope curls on a cable machine are a great alternative to any one of the above. You could also do a set using Resistance Bands, which are great at keeping constant tension on the muscle. Any isolation move that targets the biceps can be substituted.

And if you really want to feel a biceps pump:

And a great, classic finishing movement with Curls is a set of 21’s with a barbell or bands. Goes like this, without stopping do 7 full reps, then 7 partial reps from bottom to midway, then 7 partials from midway to top. You will exhaust those Bi’s.

Next, focus on the rest of the upper arm: Triceps. This is actually the bigger part of your arm and plays huge role in how those guns of yours appear when flexed. Tri = 3. Bi = 2.

3 – 5 Sets Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks (repeat other arm)

standing-one-arm-triceps-extension-23 – 5 Sets 1 Arm Standing Dumbbell Extensions (repeat other arm)

decline-close-grip-bench-to-skull-crusher-13- 5 Sets Close Grip Bench Press (“skull crushers”)

Feel Free to Substitute:

Pushups and Dips are great alternatives to the above, as are tricep pushdowns on a cable machine using a rope or a bar. Any isolation move that really targets the triceps can be substituted.

Forearms

Finally, it’s great to finish this workout with some work on your forearms. You can do wrist curls with a barbell or dumbbell or bands.

Wrist Curls:

  • While seated, rest your forearms on your thighs with your wrists hanging over your knees. 
  • Curl the resistance (bands/barbell or dumbbells)  with your wrists facing up for 3 sets. Then curl the weight with your wrists facing down for another 3 sets. Adjust the amount of resistance or weight so that you can do the sets in the 8 – 12 rep range.
  • Additional forearm work can be done with grippers and commercial wrist rollers. These are pieces of specialty gear. You can actually make a home-made wrist roller with a dowel rod and a strap of sturdy material if you’re handy.

Some specialty items you should consider:

wrist ripperThe Wrist Ripper: is a wrist roller that is great for building forearms. It uses standard size weight plates. You can instead Olympic sized plate versions. You can perform rolls with wrists up and down for a full forearm workout.

There are a wide variety of wrist rollers like this available, using either standard or Olympic plates. You need to supply the weight. In addition, there are numerous hand gripper devices you can consider, as well. Both will strengthen your grip and forearms.

 

Resistance Bands are another great alternative for most all of these movements. If you don’t own much gear and can’t afford a gym, look into a set of bands. They’re also a great add to any gym setup.

The beauty of the bands is that they apply that constant tension we’re looking for. With weights, you can give in to a tendency to let gravity lower the bar.

Bands don’t work off gravity like dead weight does. Constant tension is good.

I own and use both products above and believe they are solid, high quality.

 

What are your thoughts? Please share in the Comments below, or drop me a line at: Brian@BoomerMuscle.com.

 

 

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Brian Patterson

I'm a 40 veteran of the corporate world settling into a new role with this website. I want to help other Baby Boomers and people over 40 learn how they can build muscle and reverse the negative effects of aging on their bodies. We're entering the second half of life and if we do something now we can walk tall into our golden years, rather than hunched over and in pain.

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