You may have great chest development, popping hamstrings or impressive rear delts but the first thing people realise when you are wearing a tee-shirt is how bigger your arms are.
If you look like you lift, you’re gonna have your biceps checked out.
Now whatever your goals, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind bigger and stronger looking biceps?
It’s not vain it’s just reality.
So how do you get bigger biceps? Well, there are three things you need to tick off.
If you can master these then you will have a good chance of success with your training.
By going to the gym on Friday and just smashing out one huge arm session a week you are missing out on a big piece of the puzzle.
With arm work you will not need a huge amount recovery time due to the size of the muscle group & stress on nervous system
As such it would be much more beneficial training your arms more frequently over the week. 3-4 sessions a week where you maybe finish with 1-2 exercises of direct arm work will allow you to get a higher rate of muscle breakdown and turnover than just one big arm workout.
Rep and set ranges
I would advise you to use a combination of rep ranges for your arm work. Research shows that there is no one rep range that is more beneficial than another so using a variety of reps is advisable if you want to grow your twig shaped arms.
I would range from reps 8-20 reps and somewhere between 3-5 sets.
With the lower reps you won’t get the same stress or feel as beaten up as you would do with larger muscle group work but just ensure you don’t compromise form for load.
No one wants to see you training your lower back & glutes when you’re doing bicep curls
When doing your arm work don’t just do standard dumbbell curls for everything.
Use a combination of dumbbells, barbell, cables, machine and even bodyweight exercises (under grip pull ups anyone?) to help you progress.
The benefit of these different exercises is that you will be able to train your biceps through a full range of motion, different strength curves and can match up certain exercises with certain reps.
Something like under grip pull ups and hammer curls for me are best done with lower reps and then exercises like EZ bar curls and preacher curls will work better with mid to higher reps.
So, there you have it a few easy take home points for bicep development.
Nothing crazy, no magic workout just some basic fundamentals to install and bring about those tee-shirt filling gains. To give you some ideas here are Chris’s top 3 arm exercises with his favourite reps, sets and tempo.
Chris’s Top 3 arm exercises
- Hammer curls – I really enjoy this exercise as it’s one I like to go a little heavier to build strong and thick looking arms. Ensure you keep your shoulders down throughout this movement, alternating the dumbbells when you perform the curl and keep swinging to a minimum. Sets-4. Reps-8. Tempo-3-0-1-0
- Drag machine curls – This is a great movement for keeping constant tension throughout the curl and keeping form really tight. Position a single hand on the lowest position on the cable machine, grab one in each hand and then walk forward. Really focus on the lengthening position of the bicep and squeezing hard when you finish the rep with a slight pause as the tempo shows. Sets-3. Reps-12. Tempo-4-0-1-1.
- EZ curls 21’s – This is a classic arm finisher and a sure way to leave the gym with a serious pump. Pick a weight on the EZ bar or barbell that is about 30% lighter than you would normally use for 10 reps. First perform 7 half reps where your bicep is at its longest and then finish just short of 90 degrees at the elbow. Then complete 7 half reps from 90 degrees at the elbow and finish where your bicep is shortest, so basically the opposite of what you started on. Then if you got anything left complete 7 full reps from the longest position of the bicep to the shortest position. Sets-as many as you can handle (2-3). Reps-21. Tempo-controlled.
If you put into practice all the above with good nutrition, adequate protein and train hard enough then you will have to go shopping for new tee-shirts in no time (or keep the current ones and your biceps will look even bigger with those extra tight sleeves)