Bicep Building 101
Biceps....we all want them, but what’s the most effective way to get them? This short blog will give some general rules to abide by while training your biceps. It will also cover some different training frequencies and splits, as well as a couple of sample bicep workouts to try. Let's take a deeper dive into bicep training and find out how you can grow your biceps.
Bicep training basics
For starters, when training biceps, NEVER sacrifice form for a higher weight. Although weight plays a role in the development of muscles, its most important to focus on time under tension and the proper contraction of the biceps to truly isolate and properly develop them. Using too much weight, will cause improper form, and improper form will not only hinder your progress but can also cause injuries such as lower back injuries, tennis elbow, and tendonitis. It is also very important, as with any muscle, to put an emphasis on recovery.
What is Proper Form when training Biceps?
Although there are many different movements and arm positions when training biceps the are a few general rules to keep in mind.
Rule #1 - When standing, always stand fully erect and do not lean back. Leaning backwards is generally an indicator that one is using momentum to heave the weight up and not isolating the biceps.
Rule #2 - Another general practice to keep in mind, is when not using a preacher bench or a form of isolation control, also keep your elbows close to your sides and do not flare them during the movement. Flaring the elbows takes tension off of the bicep and does not allow for full extension at the bottom of the movement.
Rule #3 - Another one to keep in mind; when using a preacher bench or form of isolation control, be sure you do not over extend the biceps. Over extending, especially when the bicep is isolated and under weighted tension, has the potential to tear the bicep. Over extension of the bicep is when you allow your elbow to lock out and potentially bend in the opposite direction that the joint is intended to bend.
How Frequent Should You Train Biceps?
This is one of the most debated topics amongst gym goers, no matter what muscle or movement we are talking about, how many times a week should you train a particular muscle. And the real answer is........there is no answer. Training frequency all depends on your body's ability to recover, the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) in at which you train, the regimen you choose to follow, and of course your schedule.
Some choose to follow an “arm day” protocol in which they train biceps and triceps on one specific day of the week, usually with an RPE of 8-10, to really isolate the two specific muscles.
Others choose to stack their bicep workout on a back focused or “pull day”.
Another method some people have success in, is training biceps 2-3 times a week by either a full body/several days a week regimen, or by adding 1-2 bicep movements to the end of their work out on several different days a week.
Here are a few examples of different sets and rep ranges for specific bicep isolation training. Keep in mind, NEVER use a weight that causes you to use momentum or break your form, bicep contraction is the key to building good biceps. Push yourself, but do it with good form!
Sample 1: This is burner using some of the favorites of the late John Meadows, utilizing an RPE of 9-10 on all the movements, so really push yourself......
- Drag Curls (4x12)- Do these at a slower tempo, squeezing at the top.
**Superset these next two movements...
- Spider Curls (10 reps)
- EZ bar reverse curl (8 reps)
**Do a total of 4 sets here
Sample 2: Here is a simple two movement bicep split, with a higher rep range that will jam them full of blood.
**Try to go up in weight each set (RPE 8-10 as you progress through the workout, first sets should be challenging with the last sets almost at failure on the tenth rep....with good form of course.)
- Spider Curls (5x10)
- Dumbbell Hammer Curls (5x8)
Sample 3: This is just a fun bicep workout to mix it up and break the norm. Use good form and keep the weights lighter. This will be a total of 500 reps.....if you can finish the entire workout, tag us in a picture of your pump on Instagram or Facebook (@ecsportsusa) and receive a special gift!
- Dumbbell Preacher curls (5x20)
- Dumbbell Hammer curls (5x20)
- Standing EZ bar curls (5x20)
- Seated incline Dumbbell curls (5x20)
- Cross-body hammer curls (pinwheel curls) (5x20)
No matter what split works best for you, or how you want to train you biceps, the most crucial part to muscle building is nutrition and recovery. We recommend taking clinically tested and proven OptiNOs by EC Sports for faster results. In clinical studies, the group taking OptiNOs actually saw 12x more growth than the placebo group in arm size. This was achieved because OptiNOs helps to increase protein synthesis using more protein for muscle building and shortens recovery times through increasing lactate clearance.