When someone asks you to make a muscle, they’re asking you to throw up a gunshot and show off your high peaking, thickly developed biceps. This muscle group has long been one of the main standards for gym superiority. The “arms” race has led many to curl away week after week in search of becoming a member of the coveted 20-inch arm club.
Despite what you may think, that only the genetically gifted can have arms that size, I disagree. I fully believe that regardless of the genetic cards you’ve been dealt for building biceps, you can make what you have bigger and better.
The shape of your biceps is the shape that it’s always going to be and no amount of “peaking” exercises will ever change that. But with that said, a solid effort towards creating mountainous peaks on your upper arm will dramatically affect the size and look of your biceps.
So if you’re ready to go gun slinging with me, here’s the best biceps workout that you’ve never done before but should be doing every chance you get!
Seated Barbell Curls
Chances are you’ve seen many people in your gym completing barbell curls and chances are most of the times you have witnessed this these people have been performing them in a standing position. Perhaps you have done so many times yourself – but have you ever performed seated barbell curl before? My guess is that you haven’t and, to be honest with you, I think I have only ever seen a handful of people doing this exercise in all the years I’ve been hanging around in gyms.
The seated barbell curl allows for the lifter to load up the barbell with a lot of weight and focus on powering through the lift during the top half of the movement. The benefits of this are the strong contraction of the biceps you’re able to create with the heavy loads you can use.
Often, in the standing version, you miss out on the top half of the rep when you get tired out and can’t finish full range reps at the end of the set. In the seated version, you’re always doing the top half of the rep, so it’s a stimulus that your biceps aren’t normally used to.
Chest Supported Spider Curls
Spider curls are nothing new to the gym scene and most times you would perform these on a high-set preacher bench or in the reverse position of a regular preacher curl bench. But let’s add a twist to this movement and eliminate some of the leverage that can be gained by using a preacher bench.
Let’s perform this exercise by resting your chest on the top of an incline bench. From this position you allow your arms to hang down below while gripping the bar with an underhand grip and then by keeping your elbows back you curl the barbell up towards your face.
Alternatively, for an even more extreme contraction, you can dip your head down and try to curl the barbell up and over your head squeezing hard in the exaggerated contracted position. Either way will provide a significant new stimulus for biceps growth and is an excellent way to completely isolate the biceps so that it does all the work.
Low Pulley Preacher Curls
Most people enjoy performing preacher curls for the benefits of being able to isolate the biceps and create a nice stretch and squeeze during each rep to feel the muscle working. But what most people fail to recognize is that when you perform preacher curls with a free weight (either barbell or dumbbell), there is a dead spot within each rep with respect to resistance from the weight. That dead spot is at the top of the movement when your hands are directly over your elbows.
Why is this a dead spot you ask? Well, the answer is simple; gravity lends you a helping hand. Everyone knows that gravity pulls down, so when you are holding onto a free weight, and it is in this position, the biceps have a chance to ease up as the weight you are holding is now being driven down through your arms into your elbows which then get pushed harder into the preacher bench effectively giving you a “rest” spot. To combat this, I like the idea of utilizing a low pulley station to perform preacher curls because you are always pulling towards yourself at an angle, the weight is always out in front of you and there is a constant pulling effect on the biceps that is present for the duration of the entire repetition. This effectively eliminates this dead spot.
Reverse Grip Barbell Curls
For some reason, I got away from doing reverse grip barbell curls for years. I just simply didn’t do them, and I have no idea why either. However, recently I got back into doing them, and am I ever happy that I did.
This awesome power movement will add thickness and width to your biceps as well as beef up your forearms. A little trick while performing these to get the most out of the exercise is to squeeze the barbell as hard as I can for the duration of the set. This will engage more muscle fibers in the forearm and allow you to handle a hell of a lot more weight than loosely gripping the barbell. The other thing I would suggest doing is a wrist tilt at the top of the movement where you tilt your knuckles towards your face once you are in the fully contracted position for your biceps. It’s just a nice little-added forearm contraction to finish off each rep.
These four exercises may prove to be the difference-maker in your own arm training and propel your arm growth into the next level. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t tell you exactly how I utilize these movements for ensuring success, and the training method I employ for this workout and every other workout I perform are based upon the foundation of the Max-OT training philosophy.
High intensity, heavy loads, and minimal sets and reps is the way to go here, folks. Give it all you’ve got for 4-6 repetitions per set and prepare yourself for unlimited growth.
The Biceps Routine
After a proper Max-OT Warm-up, hammer out these 8 sets.
|Seated Barbell Curls||2 sets x 4-6 reps|
|Spider Curls||2 sets x 4-6 reps|
|Low Pulley Preacher Curls||2 sets x 4-6 reps|
|Reverse Grip Barbell Curls||2 sets x 4-6 reps|