Great Bicep Routines-1

As soon as you mention big arms, the biceps are the first thing most people think of. While it's true that to have huge guns the triceps should not be ignored since they make up more arm size, you have to have fully developed biceps to really stretch the tape. Most people love to train biceps, flexing their arms with pride at the end of every set, yet not always seeing the kind of results they want to see. This article will tell you how to get the results you want from your biceps training. It's important to know the function of the muscle you're training in order to design a routine that properly works that muscle. The biceps is properly known as the biceps brachii and is a two headed muscle. This muscle has two functions: Flexion - the action of bringing the arm up to the shoulder and Supination - the action of twisting the wrist, or turning the thumbs away from the body.

Click To Enlarge.

The brachialis is a small muscle which lies just beneath the biceps. It is not really a part of the bicep muscle but is included in the discussion because an untrained brachialis muscle can add up to an inch to your current arm size. How cool is that? We're going to be using two routines because many bodybuilders stick to the same routine long after its stopped working. Research shows that 4-6 weeks is the most you want to spend on a routine, then it is time to change. Otherwise you hit a plateau and stop getting results. You can use these two routines one of two ways - either do the first routine straight through for 4 6 weeks then go to routine #2, or switch between the two each week (do # 1 for one week and #2 for the next week). Also, try to add weight to your exercises every week, even if it's just 2 1/2 lbs. Adding weight consistently is essential for growth.

The First Routine
Straight Bar Or EZ Bar Curls
2 working sets. These are done seated with your back braced to prevent cheating; you can also do this leaning against a wall. By doing them this way, your biceps do the work as opposed to your back and legs if your form is less than perfect.

Video Guides: Windows Media - Real Player This makes sense, why bother to do an exercise if it's not working the intended muscle? How do you expect to see results from exercises performed that way? Do it with your back and legs out of it and you'll feel the difference. The choice of bars: straight or EZ, is up to you. The EZ bar is easier on the wrists and is also great for triceps work.

Video Guides: Windows Media - Real Player

Incline Dumbbell Curls - Supinate
2 sets. To perform this exercise, start with your palms facing towards your legs when holding the dumbbells. As you curl up, twist the thumbs away from the body, as you lower; twist the thumbs back towards the body.

Video Guides: Windows Media - Real Player

Hammer Curls
2 sets: do these by holding the dumbbell like a hammer, then curl up to the opposite shoulder.

Cable Curls
Done seated or kneeling with arms across a flat bench- 2 sets. These will keep constant tension on the muscle from start to finish. Do 6-8 reps to failure, extend the sets by using r/p, partials or forced reps. Always get 2 more, whether they are partials, forced, or whatever. Drop sets, which I love, may not work well here unless you have the resources for them. If so, by all means use those!

The Second Routine
Alternate Dumbbell Curls - Supinate
2 -3 sets, 6-8 reps per set to positive failure, don't extend the set, save it for the 21's to follow.

Barbell - Straight Or EZ - Curls - 21's
2 sets, if you can. Do these with no momentum until the very end (2 or 3 controlled cheat reps are ok). These are done by doing the curl from the start position to halfway up, then back down for 7 reps, from halfway up to the top then back down to the halfway point for 7 reps and finally doing the complete curl for 7 reps. Don't wus out on the weight either, make it heavy so those last 7 take everything you've got! What Are 21's?
One of Arnold's favorites. Using the curl as an example, you would do 7 full reps followed by 7 half reps from the starting position to half way up followed by 7 half reps from half way up to the top of the movement. All of this counts as one set.

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21's Using The Curl.

View Video Of 21's
First 7 Reps MPEG (297 KB) Windows Media (88 KB) Next 7 Reps MPEG (247 KB) Windows Media (78 KB) Last 7 Reps MPEG (1.1 MB) Windows Media (277 KB)

Click Here For A Printable Version Of This Page.
Many bodybuilders that have problems with biceps development do so because they aren't using good form; they are attempting to do curls with a weight that is too heavy. So here you have someone, jerking the weight up with everything except the biceps and then failing to control it on the way down.

Why This Routine?
What's the point of a rep like that? Yes, controlled cheating at the end of a set does have it's place but proper rep performance of any exercise for any muscle is extremely important. This means you have to be able to feel it in the target muscle, getting a good contraction every time. Also, be sure to use a weight heavy enough to allow you to fail at the listed number of reps. Heavy weight, lifted correctly, builds muscle. When performing bicep exercises, always keep your elbows in close to your sides, raise the weight slow enough to be able to feel it in your biceps, then lower the weight slowly (don't just drop it).

Tempo & Tension Maximization For Advanced Bodybuilders!
The body will adapt to any training regimen in time, so tempo prescriptions should be varied just like any other training variable. Find out how it can help you! [ Click here to learn more. ]

Rep tempo is also important - here I'm talking more about lowering the weight slowly. The thing to remember here is about tempo, it's not a race to see who can lift the fastest. Think 3-5 seconds up and the same down. In most free weight curls, you lose the resistance at the top of the movement, most people flex hard at the top in an attempt to compensate for this. It might be better not to bring the weight up to that point but rather bring up to the point just before you lose the resistance, this will keep the muscle under more tension. Don't lower to a dead stop either, keep the reps going, make it feel like one long rep, with constant tension the whole way through. Everyone seems to work biceps after the back since the biceps are involved in all back exercises. It may make more sense to not train arms with the back because the back work directly hits biceps, fatiguing them before you actually start arm work. This means you can't hit your biceps as hard as you could if you trained them separately. Train them away from back and you'll train with more intensity and more weight with better results. Part 2

Due to the response to my biceps article, I decided to do another one, dealing with some of the
many questions I've been asked. One of the main questions has to do with workout frequency. It's important to talk about one as I see that a lot of people are training way too often, in some cases doing biceps every day, only taking one rest day a week, and so on. The critical fact that is missed by a lot of people is that you grow in between workouts, not because of how many workouts you do. Guys train too often for a lot of reasons, from simple enthusiasm to just not knowing any better. Gains will come faster if you take adequate rest days. But workout frequency is dependent on a lot of factors: age, experience, how intense you train, whether or not you're natural and how much time you have to train, to name a few. I find, being older and natural, training each body-part once per "workout week" works well for me.

Recovery Time
This means I only workout once every 3-4 days on a 3 way split; and by "work-out week", I mean the length of time it takes me to complete that split, which is usually around 9-12 days. Not much time in the gym, I know, but I grow that way. For you young guys out there, working out 3 times within 7 days will allow good recovery. A good rule of thumb is, if you're still sore from your last workout, you still haven't recovered and you should wait at least one more day. A lot of guys "rest" one group of body parts while training another group, not realizing that any training puts a drain on your whole system, compromising recovery and, ultimately, growth. Now, let me say, a lot of this doesn't really apply if you are not natural. Let's face it, drugs do a lot to cover recovery and quite honestly, compensate for a lot of training mistakes. In my first article, I talked about adding intensity techniques to your workout, one of the other questions I've been asked is, how to exactly apply those techniques to the routines. With the routine I'm about to suggest, I want to give you exact techniques to use.

Pre Vs. Post Exhaust
This routine will be based around post exhaust super sets. You can apply the idea of post exhaust supersets for the same muscle group to other muscles, such as chest and back. Superset Video Guide Choose your version: Windows Media (401 KB) Real Player (547 KB) Mpeg (1.2 MB)

Post exhaust means you do a compound exercise first, and then go right into an isolation exercise. Why post exhaust as opposed to pre exhaust? Because with pre exhaust, you first do an isolation exercise to target the primary muscle, then you go right into your compound movement. The idea is that since the weaker secondary muscles give out first, you will better hit the primary muscle this way. (example - in the bench press, the chest is the primary muscle, but the triceps and front delts are heavily involved. Since they are smaller and weaker, they will give out before the chest is completely stimulated, so by doing a pre exhaust super set, you work around this problem). My problem with pre exhaust is that by doing the compound second, you have to use less weight than you would if you did it first. More weight equals more strength equals more muscle. Why not start with a heavy compound movement for 6-8 reps, then go right into an isolation exercise, thereby taking the weaker supporting muscles out of it, and continuing to target the primary muscle? This way, if any exercise suffers due to having to use less weight, it's the less important isolation exercise, not the critical compound exercise. It really does make sense if you think about it. Of course, you should try them both to see which one you like the best.

On To The Routine
EZ Curls Supersetted With Hammer Curls
Use a weight heavy enough to fail - and I mean completely fail - at about 6-8 reps, go right into forced reps, emphasizing the negative. When you fail at this, do burns (or partials).

EZ Curls Video Guides: Windows Media Real Player Go right into the hammer cable curls to failure, then extend the set by doing partials. The hammer curls brings me to another question - are these done like the picture (straight up and down) or like my description (curl to the opposite shoulder)? Actually, both methods are correct, try them both and see which one you like.

Hammer Curls Do no more than two of these supersets. That's it, that's the workout.

Click For Here For A Printable Log Of This Superset.

If done right, you may not make it through the second superset. If you do complete both and feel like you haven't worked hard and want to do more, you didn't train hard enough.

Failure Is The Key
The keys to this workout are insuring you go to failure, and extending the set as much as you can. There are some other techniques you can use as well. If you don't have a training partner to help with the forced reps, you can set up your bar with smaller plates on either side, no collars, and do drop sets instead. Drop Sets Video Guide Choose your version: • • • Windows Media Player (376 KB) Real Player (512 KB) Mpeg (1.1 MB)

The premise behind forced reps and drop sets, and rest pause for that matter are pretty similar. So you do your set to complete failure, then simply put the bar down, strip off a plate from either side and continue. Do this 3 times. Also be sure you strip the plates off as fast as possible, don't use it as an excuse to rest. If you've been using my routine as listed but haven't used any intensity techniques, after 4-6 weeks on the first routine, switch to the one listed above, and take note of alternating cable curls, as suggested below, with the hammer curls.

Hammer Curl Question
Going back to the question about hammer curls, the other exercise description that people wonder about is the cable curls across a flat bench. These are really a lot like a concentration curl. Sit on the floor, put your arms across a flat bench so your elbows just hang off, you should have a nice stretch in the biceps, then perform a regular curl. Hold at the top for a 2 count. Don't try to use too much weight on this.

Cable Curls
Click To Enlarge.

Video 1 Of Cable Curl MPEG (646 KB) Windows Media (463 KB) Video 2 Of Cable Curl MPEG (856 KB) Windows Media (580 KB) You should really feel this in the belly of the muscle. This exercise could be used in the above super set in place of hammer curls, or alternated with that exercise: for example, one workout do hammers, the next use the cable curls.

Low Set Numbers
Other questions had to do with the low set number - one thing being missed here is that I suggest 2 working sets per exercise, not 2 total sets. However, I understand a lot of people like to do a lot of sets. That's fine but if you're doing 10, or 12 or 15 sets for biceps, how hard can you possibly be working? Believe what you believe but don't be afraid to try new things. What Is The Best Rep And Set Range For Building Muscle?
The Topic: What Is The Best Rep And Set Range For Building Muscle? Find out what people from our popular message boards think... [ Click here to learn more. ]

My approach is somewhat "high intensity" in that I think training very intensely will produce better results than just doing set after endless set. But let's go one step further, what the body really thrives on is change and you can get results from most routines for a little while. The key is not to stagnate on any one program for to long.

Good Luck
Well, these were the main topics I wanted to cover, I think there is way too much misunderstanding about some of the more basic principles of bodybuilding, that's why I try to write for the newer guys. God knows, I wish I had access to this kind of information - and a website (there was no such thing when I started) like BB.com.