What's going on guys!
I haven't written a blog post in a short while, but, feel like biceps are important, so here I am!
You're probably thinking, ''ahh no, another one of these how to articles''.
You're not wrong, but, I feel I have some decent advice, considering I took my arms from 12 inches to 17.75 inches, NATURALLY!
So, you want my advice? Keep reading or watch my video at the bottom of the page (don't forget to click that like button and subscribe!).
Mistake #1 - you're training with too little or too much volume!
If your biceps are not growing, you’re probably not hitting them with enough volume or maybe too much..
I know that sounds like a non answer answer, but, hear me out.
A 2019 study by Brad Shoenfield et al. showed significantly more muscle growth in the arms when comparing 6 weekly sets with 20+.
Increasing weekly volume gradually to 20+ sets (including indirect work like bent over rows, pull-ups etc) will likely lead to more muscle growth.
Gradually increase your volume. Add 1 extra set a week.
BUT, you may not need to add volume.
All pulling exercises significantly work the biceps. So, adding in 1-2 isolation exercises a week is enough for most people to see significant growth alongside the compound work.
Training volume has an inverted U shaped relationship with muscle growth (diagram below).
Mistake #2 - you're involving other muscles.
The most common thing I see is people swinging, using their front delts more than their biceps. This happens when the elbow moves too far forward from a fixed position.
For example, with a dumbbell or barbell curl, you want your elbows locked in place and pinned to your sides as much as possible.
It may move slightly, but you want to minimize this as much as you can.
You want to be creating as much tension on the biceps as possible while limiting the involvement of other muscles.
Also, pulling your shoulders back and down will reduce the involvement from your traps.
Keep the below and shoulders fixed in their position will enable you to focus on contracting the biceps.
To stop your forearms taking over you can actively supinate your hands. Do this by focusing on squeezing your ring and pinkie finger into the bar that bit harder.
Mistake #3 - don't go too heavy.
You don’t want to load the biceps too heavily. Sticking between the 8-20 rep range is ideal – too heavy and you’ll just end up recruiting other muscles to assist the movement.
Focus on initiating the movement with the biceps and squeezing them at the top. Focus on that mind muscle connection, contracting the biceps under tension.
This will make a big difference in your muscle growth!
A 2018 study by Shoenfield et al. looked at 30 untrained college men and found that by focusing on really squeezing the biceps during each rep of a curl, the subjects experienced close to double the muscle growth compared to the subjects that just moved the weight!!
So instead of just moving the weight, really focus on contracting the muscle. This may require you to reduce the weight which is totally fine!
Mistake #4 - you're not using the full range of motion.
This applies to every muscle you train.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for partial reps, BUT, not right now!
You want to make sure you are you are taking your bicep through its full range of motion.
This will ensure you maximize bicep development. Please, don't leave gains on the table!
A 2012 study Pinto et al. looked at the effects of range of motion on muscle strength and thickness. They found that using a full range of motion with the bicep curl led to significantly greater growth in the biceps and a 25% increase in bicep strength vs 16% in partial range of motion.
At the bottom of a bicep curl you can squeeze your triceps hard, this will make sure the biceps are fully lengthened before performing a curl.
This will also ensure maximum bicep recruitment through reciprocal inhibition (see below).
That's a wrap for this article, comment below with any questions and share with any friends you feel may find this interesting.
Watch the video below for some examples and more details on how you can get those biceps growing.
Keep pushing those limits!