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How you can bring your biceps forward

Wie Du Deine Bizeps nach vorne bringen kannst

Are your biceps lagging behind in their development? This article will show you how to get your biceps into the growth zone

What's the first muscle people want to develop when they start training? Some say chest or even latissimus, but I would put my money on the answer "biceps". The biceps aren't even the biggest upper arm muscle and in fact most of your upper arm mass comes from the triceps, but despite this, the biceps are almost always the showpiece muscle, which means people always want you to flex your biceps so they can see how big they are.

When I started training in 1980, the biggest arms belonged to Arnold and Lou Ferrigno. Arnold claimed (depending on the source) to have an upper arm circumference of 57 cm and Lou boasted 58.5 centimeters. However, Lou was also 7.5 centimeters taller than Arnold and needed more total body mass to look as bulky as Arnold at his best. So even though Lou's arms were bulkier in absolute terms, Arnold looked more muscular.

Most people find building biceps quite easy, but some - no matter what they do - can't get their biceps to grow. This is a problem that can plague top competitive athletes all the way to the Mr. Olympia stage. Lee Haney, the other eight-time Mr. Olympia has constantly worked to get his biceps up to par with the rest of his body.

This article will provide you with shock programs for weak biceps, as well as regular programs for use afterwards.

The anatomy of the biceps

The first step on the road to improving the biceps is to understand what this muscle does. This is important if you want to train this muscle correctly.

The biceps brachii

The term "biceps brachii" comes from Latin and means "two-headed muscle of the arm." The biceps brachii is a thick muscle that consists of two bundles of muscles:

  • The outer or long muscle head, which starts at the external end of the shoulder blade
  • The short or inner muscle head, which attaches to the coracoid process of the shoulder blade

These two bundles form a muscle that ends in a tendon that crosses the elbow and attaches to the radius of the forearm (a long bone that forms the outer part of the forearm).

The biceps has two primary functions: flexion of the elbow and outward rotation of the forearm. So here's what you need to know: the biceps not only lift the arm, but also allow you to rotate your wrist. This rotation of the wrist is important and is an often overlooked function of the biceps that we will address in the training programs that follow later. In addition to this, the biceps support the flexion of the shoulder.

The brachialis

The brachialis is a small muscle that is located underneath the biceps and supports the flexion of the elbow. The development of this muscle can contribute significantly to the size of your upper arm - some experts speak of up to 2.5 centimetres.

Possible causes of weak biceps development

So what are the causes of weak biceps? Many of the problems people have with bicep training can be attributed to incorrect exercise execution and overtraining.

Insufficient recovery

Those who are familiar with my articles know how important I believe recovery is. I've been in this business for almost 30 years, and I see it time and time again:

A young exerciser comes into my supplement store and tells me they want to get more muscular. When I start asking questions, I usually find out that they haven't been training long, or maybe they've been training long enough to know better and that they train every day with no rest days.

If I drill down further, in many cases I find out that they only train arms and chest. That's 7 bicep workouts a week - every week! I've said it many times in my articles - you grow between your training sessions as you recover, not by training as often as possible. It's really amazing how many people don't understand this. Training itself is a catabolic event, which means that muscle tissue is broken down. You need to provide your muscles with nutrients at the end of the training session and give them time to repair. If you don't do this, then your muscles won't grow - it's as simple as that.

How long do biceps need to recover? For the average natural exerciser, I would recommend just one bicep training session per week. This applies to all muscle groups, by the way. If you are young and have a lot of free time and are perhaps not natural, then you can train one muscle every 3 to 4 days. You can tell that regeneration is complete when you no longer feel any muscle soreness in your arm. In addition to this, you need to consider the regeneration of the nervous system, which is admittedly a bigger problem with large muscle groups, but still needs to be addressed.

A poor form of exercise execution

In terms of exercise performance, one of the problems people have with bicep training is an inability to focus on the muscle being trained. If you watch these people train, you'll see that their exercise execution form is poor - they're just lifting the weight up, working their lower back more than anything else. Their repetition speed is too fast and they don't really feel anything in the muscle they're trying to work - it's all momentum! If you can't feel the muscle working and you don't feel soreness in your biceps, then you need to rethink your technique. Perform your repetitions more slowly and focus on the form of the exercise. It is even better if you have an experienced trainer assess your exercise form.

Lack of variety

A lack of variation can also play a role. Remember that variety is one of the keys to progress: everything works, some things work better than others, but everything works for a while. Here we come back to the muscle soreness mentioned above. Even though muscle soreness doesn't equate to growth, it does mean that you've exposed your muscles to something new and unfamiliar.

If you have been doing the same program for months in a row, then you need changes because your arms have adapted to the program. Use a new program and you will be surprised at how sore your muscles will be.

Insufficient blood flow

Poor blood flow can also be a factor. High repetition sets and the use of intensity techniques can maximize the pump. In addition, there are two nutritional factors:

  • Make sure you consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates during the hours leading up to your training session to ensure your muscles have enough stored glycogen. Not enough carbohydrates means no pump. When reducing your carbohydrate intake, use a cyclical approach where you consume more carbohydrate on training days and less carbohydrate on non-training days.
  • Use a nitric oxide supplement. These supplements can significantly increase blood flow.

The neuronal component

Strength and muscle growth have a strong neural component. Poor neuromuscular pathways to the muscles result in poor muscle development. This relates to the so-called mind-muscle connection and also has something to do with the blood flow we just mentioned. Learning to feel a muscle when it is working involves a conscious focus on that muscle. You can try the following exercise to help you with this:

Contract a muscle through its full range of motion and pay attention to what is happening in the muscle and how it feels. Then transfer this to your training.

Nutrition and supplements

When it comes to nutrition and supplements for arm growth, you should keep your protein intake high (1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight) and pay attention to the timing of your protein intake: try to consume some protein every 2.5 to 3 hours.

Your carbohydrate intake should be in the range of 2 to 4.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on your goals. When it comes to carbohydrates, your body will store anything it doesn't need for energy in the form of fat.

You can add healthy fats to your diet, but usually you don't need to actively manage your fat intake as fat is naturally found in so many foods.

Calorie intake should be 15 to 20% above consumption, depending on your goals. Experienced bodybuilders usually monitor their calorie and nutrient intake per meal and probably know their daily calorie requirements quite accurately. For those for whom this is not the case, my recommendations above are guidelines. The lower end is for people trying to lose fat and the upper end is for those trying to build lean muscle mass.

As far as supplements go, whey protein, glutamine, creatine and a nitric oxide booster are good choices. A good multivitamin product and a good joint support formula also make sense. A pre-workout booster and a testo booster are optional.

The actual training

The training programs I'm going to give you are more intense than what you would usually use, as we are trying to "shock" the muscles into new growth. Unless otherwise noted, the concentric phase (upward movement) of repetitions should be explosive and the eccentric phase (downward movement) should be slow, over a 4 second period.

Some bicep exercises, such as barbell curls, require you to stop after about ¾ of the upward movement, because as soon as you reach a certain point, the load on the muscle decreases. At this ¾ point, you can hold the weight for 3 seconds for a better training effect before lowering it.

Biceps can be trained on back day or on a separate day together with the triceps. If your biceps are unusually weak, you can also train them on their own, but you should give them 3 to 4 days rest before training your back.

Biceps training sessions

Routine 1:

Warm-up: 3 light sets of 15 reps of SZ curls with a light weight.

  • Set of 21 with the SZ bar and static hold: 2 sets.

In this exercise, first perform 7 partial repetitions over the lower half of the range of motion, then 7 partial repetitions over the upper half of the range of motion and then 7 repetitions over the entire range of motion with no rest between blocks.

At the top of the movement you stop just before the point where the load on the muscle stops. This is the only problem with SZ curls and barbell curls - you lose the load on the muscle in the last eighth of the range of motion. Always end the movement just before this point to maintain tension in the muscle.

Perform this exercise with an explosive but controlled upward movement followed by a slower downward movement. Hold the top point of the movement for 3 seconds on each partial repetition and hold the weight for 3 seconds after ¾ of the upward movement on the full repetitions.

  • Dumbbell curls standing (with outward rotation): 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

As part of the function of the biceps is to rotate the wrist, you should use this to your advantage in your training. This technique was one of Arnold's favorites.

Start the exercise with your arms hanging down beside your body. As you begin to move the weight upwards, slowly rotate your wrists outwards, turning your thumbs away from your body. By the time you reach the top of the movement, you should have rotated the dumbbells outwards as far as possible. Consciously contract your biceps hard at the highest point of the movement before slowly lowering the weights again and rotating your wrists back. You can perform this exercise with both arms at the same time or alternately.

Hammer curls: 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

This is a biceps/forearm exercise that directly trains the brachialis, the small muscle that lies underneath the biceps. My method for this is to use a hammer grip to move the dumbbells straight up and down - not to the opposite shoulder as is often recommended.

Routine #2

Warm up as for routine #1

Descending triple sets - you are performing descending sets here because you are reducing the weight on each set and triple sets because you are performing 3 exercises in a row without rest.

  • Squat curls seated: 8 - 10 repetitions.

This is actually a partial repetition/half repetition exercise as you perform it seated. It forces you to use very strict form, which puts a lot of stress on the biceps. Do not rest the bar on your thighs after each repetition. Stop the downward movement just before your thighs and start the next repetition. This generates a lot of tension in the target muscle.

  • Dumbbell curls seated with outward rotation of the wrists (heavier): 8-10 repetitions.
  • Dumbbell curls seated with outward rotation of the wrists (lighter): 8-10 repetitions.

Remember that this is all one set. Perform 3 sets of this combination. For triple set 1 and triple set 2, use repetitions with continuous tension and move the weight up and down slowly and in a controlled manner without pausing. In the triple set, use 3 burns at the end of each set. Burns are short partial repetitions to further exhaust the muscle.

  • Reverse Scott curls with a SZ bar: 2 sets of 12 repetitions.

This trains the brachialis.

Routine #3

Warm up as in routine #1

Even though I believe in the basics, I'm always looking for something new to use in my programs. This routine includes two exercises that are probably rarely used by most people, but I have found that they really work the muscle hard. In fact, I feel these reps harder than any other exercise I've used:

  • Cable SZ Curls - 2 sets of 8 reps,

Hold the highest point for 3 seconds and emphasize the negative part of the repetition. This is not a common exercise, but it maintains the load throughout the range of motion. - Pull Down Curls - 2 sets of 8-10 reps.

I've seen a version of this exercise where you sit at the latissimus machine and curl the bar behind your head. Good exercise, but this is not the same. Sit at a lat machine as if you were going to do lat pulldowns to the front and hold the bar with a tight underhand grip, with the grip so tight that your elbows are touching. Then pull the weight straight down. Don't try to curl the weight, just pull it down like a real lat pulldown for the back. This is a short range of motion and this exercise really works the biceps hard.

  • Bent over reverse rows - 2 sets of 6-8 reps

Use a medium-wide underhand grip and pull the bar up as if you wanted to perform a bent-over row. The grip will focus more on the biceps than on the back. This was one of Dorian Yates' favorite exercises - so his fans will be familiar with it. Here, however, the focus is more on the biceps and less on the back - so use a weight that trains the arms.

Routine #4

Warm up as in routine #1

This will be a rest-pause session. There are a number of rest-pause variations, but we will use a version similar to the one Mike Mentzer used in the 1980s: we choose a weight with which we can perform 3 repetitions and perform 10 to 12 repetitions with this weight.

  • SZ curls in rest pause style:

Choose a weight that you can only perform 3 reps with. Then perform 12 repetitions by completing as many repetitions as possible, putting the weight down, counting to 8, picking the weight back up and continuing. Once you have completed 12 repetitions, rest for 2 minutes before reducing the weight if necessary and starting again. Two sets of this are enough.

  • Hammer curls: 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Perform the last 5 reps of each set in dumbbell curls with outward rotation so that this becomes two exercises in one.

Regular bicep training

Try the following for regular training programs:

Routine #1

  • SZ Curls - 3 warm-up sets performed in the following manner: 15 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps.
  • SZ Curls - 3 work sets of 12 repetitions.

Use a weight with which you can do 8 repetitions and perform 12 repetitions in rest-pause fashion. This is an intense set, but not as intense as the shock programs above

  • Scott curls - 2 sets, 8-10 reps.
  • Hammer curls - 2 sets of 8-10 reps.

Execution of the repetitions: Use continuous tension - slow and controlled and no momentum during the movement.

Use this as a strength routine and increase the weight as often as possible, especially for the dumbbell curls.

Routine #2

  • SZ Curls - After warming up, use this pyramid pattern: 12, 10, 8, 6, 4-6.
  • Alternating dumbbell curls with outward rotation - 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
  • Reverse scott curls - 2 sets of 10 reps.


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