Developing huge and well rounded pair of biceps is probably the number one dream of many guys who ever took on bodybuilding. However, the task of growing fully developed biceps is not an easy one. Some guys swear that all it takes to grow your biceps is to do hours upon hours of barbell curls. Yet, we all know that this is just an oversimplification of a problem that takes far greater subtlety to handle.
Sure, doing aimless set of barbell curls will spur some growth in your arms. But will you suffice with the average, or are you aiming something bigger? If you want to reach your full potential, you’ll need to savvy your approach to this problem. We hand you several tips that will provide you with faster and rounded growth of your biceps.
Adding these five strategies will greatly help your biceps growth, and you should gain both size and strength.
One of the crucial factors in achieving fully rounded biceps growth is the width of your grip when doing barbell curls. The shoulder-width grip applies almost unilateral tension to your biceps, emphasizing both its short and long head. By varying your grip-width you can shift the stress focusing more on the short or the long head.
The wider grip, for example, shifts the emphasis to the short head. Conversely, narrowing down your grip, shifts the emphasis to the long head, forcing greater activation of its fibers. Since both heads participate in forming your biceps size, you need to pay ample attention to each of them.
That is why you need to perform your biceps curls with varied grip-width. We recommend including four sets of barbell curls in your arm routine. Begin the sequence by performing one set of close grip curls. Perform the second set with hip-width grip. Follow with a set performed at shoulder width grip. Complete the sequence with a set of wider-than-shoulder grip.
Performing the reps with partial movements can be highly beneficial for increasing your muscle strength. This is due to the fact that you can increase the weights you are using in performing certain exercises. This same principle applies to training your biceps. Performing the biceps curl with full range of motion limits you in using the loads you can handle through the weakest portion of the movement.
You can eliminate this problem with the seated barbell curls, because you remove the bottom portion of the movement. Resting the barbell on your thighs allows you to use greater loads and to shift your focus to the biceps. According to the research, performing the barbell curls in a seated position allows you to increase the loads by up to 30% compared with the standing barbell curls.
The seated barbell curls have the best effect if you perform them early in your workout, while still fresh. Start by doing three sets of partials. Follow with three sets of standing barbell curls, performed at full range of motion.
Stretching out the long head is very effective in stimulating the biceps growth. The incline dumbbell curls are probably the only exercise that provides this effect. Performing the dumbbell curls on an incline, takes your arms behind the torso. As a result you feel a stretch in your long head forcing it to invest greater effort into the contraction. Developing the long head is absolutely crucial if you want to achieve balanced shape of your biceps. And it also forms the biceps peak.
Perform the incline dumbbell curls after you had performed the barbell curls. We recommend gradually increasing the degree of the incline. Start by adjusting the incline to a 30 degrees angle. Perform a set of 10 reps till failure before continuing to the next angle. For the second set of 10 reps increase the angle to 45 degrees. Try doing this with as little rest between the sets.
Continue increasing the angle to 60 degrees, and perform another set of 10 reps. It’s crucial that you choose weights that allow you completing three sets of 10 reps. So consider starting with lower loads, and increase them only when you are able to handle them with ease.
Although hammer curls have been considered as a finisher exercise when training your forearms, recent scientific discoveries revealed that they put the greatest emphasis on the long head. Including hummer curls in your biceps training will put greater focus on the long head, adding to the rounded look of your biceps.
If you want to increase the emphasis even more, change the degree of your curls. Instead of doing the hummer curls with the weight directly in front of your body, perform the curl at a 45-degree angle.
Performing the curls with a resistance band may not look as hardcore as when you do them with heavy iron, but this technique provides something unique to your routine. It’s called linear variable resistance – meaning that the load increases progressively with the movement. To illustrate this, we shall take the biceps curl as an example. In the starting position, and through most of the bottom part of the motion, the bands offer little, to no resistance.
However, as you progress with the upward movement, you also stretch the band requiring greater force in order to handle the resistance. The higher you go, the greater the resistance. This provides you with a unique opportunity to perform the full range of motion, with increased recruitment of muscle biceps muscle fibers at the top portion of the curl. This is something you can’t achieve with the barbells or dumbbells.
Performing the biceps curls with resistance bands offers prompt muscle growth. Namely, due to the mechanics provided by the resistance bands, the biceps become fully involved only in the upper segment of the motion. The first half of the motion, from arms fully extended at 180 degrees angle, to elbows bent at 90 degrees angle, the bulk of the lift is handled by the brachialis and brachioradialis. This is where the biceps steps in, taking the lift through the top portion of the motion.
The problem is that the brachialis and brachioradialis are not capable of handling as much loads as the biceps, thus limiting the amounts of weight you can use. The same principle that applies for the seated barbell curls holds true in this situation as well. You can eliminate this problem by using the resistance bands, which simulate lighter loads for the bottom half of the motion, and greater weights for the top half of the motion. In this way you provide the biceps with maximum overload, and prompt their growth.
Perform the resistance band curls at the end of your workout, completing three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
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