4 Exercises To Get Strong Biceps
The biceps are the probably one of the most recognizable muscle group in the whole body. If you don’t believe me, let me ask you this - when someone asks you to “make a muscle,” what do you do? If you don’t lift your arm and flex your biceps, either you’re really modest or maybe a liar. That being said, it is important to love your biceps and give them the attention they need. Sculpting well-muscled arms and strong biceps is not going to happen over night! Even more so, they are going to need a little more effort to build than just doing a few sets of curls once a week. If you want to build stronger biceps, it’s good to have a few training tricks up your sleeve! Here are a few rules and some exercises to help you improve bicep strength in no time!
The Rules To Building Stronger Biceps
If you want to build bigger, stronger biceps, it is important to follow these rules to help you stay motivated and keep your fitness goals aligned:
Rule No. 1: Build Your Back Muscles First
The biceps are a small muscle group, especially compared with the rest of your body. That doesn't mean they don't need a little TLC. However, before you focus on your arms, you need to work on bigger muscles, especially your upper back. Why the back, specifically? Because your biceps are involved in every upper-back exercise you do. If you fatigue your biceps first, your back will never get the attention it needs to grow stronger.
Before working your arms directly, make sure you target your back with exercises like dead-lifts, rows, and pull-ups.
Rule No. 2: Don’t Go Below A Rep Limit
The biceps are best-trained using some variation of the curl exercise. If you hold weights in your hands and bend your elbows to bring your hands closer to your shoulders, you are doing a single-joint movement that doesn’t work well with heavy weight. In fact, if you go too heavy, you’ll have to swing the weight with your hips or lower back, taking the tension off your arms and increasing the risk of injury. When training your biceps, use a weight that allows you to do at least eight reps and as many as 20 reps. Do 3–5 total sets to get you at least 30 total reps per workout.
Rule No. 3: Lower The Weight Slowly When Exercising
You’ll see plenty of people at the gym heaving weight around, slinging the weight up and letting it fall back to the starting position. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to build stronger biceps. Controlling the speed of your reps is a must, and here’s why:
- If you can’t use heavy weight to build muscle, you need to increase the time under tension. If you let the weight down too fast, the muscles relax and won’t grow. Being said, the muscle needs to work for an extended period of time. It’s fine to lift the weight up quickly, but lowering the weight slowly and under control is a tried-and-true way to build bigger muscles.
Try doing curls using a 1-2-3 tempo: Take one second to curl the weight to the top position, squeeze your biceps for two seconds, then take three seconds to lower the weight back to the starting position.
Rule No. 4: Squeeze Your Biceps Hard
The mind is a very powerful thing. Research shows that simply thinking about a muscle can make it start working. If you focus hard on your biceps moving the weight and squeezing your muscles at the top of every rep, the muscles will work overtime, making for more efficient reps.
Rule No. 5: Vary The Position of Your Wrist
Curls can get boring pretty quickly. To keep things interesting and motivating by keeping your elbows and wrists healthy! This means try varying your wrist position every so often by switching between a supinated (palms-up), pronated (palms-down), and neutral (palms-facing) grip. Changing your grip can target the muscle in different ways, as well as work smaller forearm muscles that can make your arms look bigger. Switch up your wrist position every few reps, and opt for dumbbells most of the time. They allow for the most freedom in terms of grip selection.
Now that we covered the rules for building stronger biceps, check out these exercises:
1. Standing Dumbbell Curl
Nothing targets your biceps more than the curl. But it’s important to manage your weights accordingly. Wildly swinging and arching your back in order to lift the dumbbell is a waste of time, and could cause injury. Keep is slow, keep it controlled and focus on squeezing your bicep as you lift.
- Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides.
- Ensure your elbows are close to your torso and your palms facing forward.
- Keeping your arms in place at all times, exhale as you curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.
2. Hammer Curl
The difference is in the detail, specifically the way you hold the dumbbell. By flipping the dumbbell on its side helps transfer more of the work from your biceps brachii to your brachialis - which is the muscle that makes your arms look bigger and thicker.
- Let a pair of dumbbells hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing your thighs.
- Don’t move your arms. Instead, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as possible.
- Pause at the top – remember to squeeze – before slowly lowering the weight back to the starting position.
3. Incline Dumbbell Curl
This exercise requires you to work on an incline, which puts more pressure on your biceps brachii because you’re now working from a deficit. In other words, you’re starting from point where you have less leverage than normal. Note: as this exercise requires more effort, you may or will need to lighten the load.
- Start by lying with your back against a bench that is set to a 45-degree incline.
- Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can.
- Next, lower the weight (slowly) back to your starting position, ensuring you completely straighten your arms.
4. Decline Dumbbell Curl
Lying down on your chest will help isolate your biceps as you have no weight running through your legs and core muscles. Change up your grip to help target different parts of your bicep.
- Lie chest down against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Bend your elbows – don’t move your upper arms – and curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
- Pause, then lower back to the start position.
With this tips and exercises, you will see progress with your biceps in no time!
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