Five Monster Bicep Exercises
Variation is a key to adaptation. Variation in stimulus can be based around rep scheme, set scheme, tempo and the big one, variation in exercise. Altering exercises can lead to greater muscular development because of a new stimulus from a different angle, a new load because a movement is different and a new potential rep tempo.
This is no different than what it takes to develop serious bicep growth. Lifters get bored with the same ole same ole. They smash preacher curls and DB concentration curls, only to have the same tiny biceps they have had since before they hit puberty. It’s time for a change! Learn what the FIVE best bicep builders are today!
Altering training is a necessity. It’s a way to stimulate growth and a way to force a more intense adaptation from training. Athletes typically have their favorite exercises that they do regularly. Their movements make them feel comfortable hammering, they can move bigger weights and feel good about themselves. They aren’t getting too risky with new positions and continue to plod along with what is typical. That is until they enter the breaking point. They are sick of the same results over and over and finally decide to experiment a bit.
That is how I came to develop my top five bicep builders. For years my biceps didn’t grow, I felt as though I used every movement and every rep range. Little did I know, that wasn’t the case and it would take quite a bit of time to enhance the forearm flexors. This led to the development of Bize and Trize 1, which sparked the first time my biceps were over the 19” mark!
By consuming as much information as possible in regards to physiology, I developed a program that could trigger massive increases in strength while also stimulating greater results with higher levels of metabolic stress. This enhanced hypertrophy from a myofiber perspective AND led to greater increases in muscle size through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Experimentation led to the development of our Arm Targeting system and dozens of athletes to have over 18” arms!
Understanding Physiology: Angles, Grip and Tempo
In the past we have covered the problems regarding stubborn muscular growth, particularly when revolving around the biceps. Comprehension of positions of flexion showed us the differences behind stretched muscle, mid-range training and contraction based training. Each flexion point can also be paired with specific modalities of rep schemes. It may be in your best interest to review that blog to understand the positions of flexion in regard to muscular action: Positions of Flexion.
From an experimentation perspective, we can understand the issues with positions of flexion and what helps different situations in regards to stubborn muscle. Struggle with eccentric movements? Hit some DB incline curls. Need a massive strength booster? Hit up mid-range work with standing barbell curls! These keys need to be remembered when programming to elicit the biggest gains possible.
But what about grip and tempo? Working on grip strength and targeting the brachioradialis is very important for forearm flexion and supination and pronation. Altering tempo on eccentrics AND on isometric positions can also stimulate more growth. If a position is held at mid-range, isometric contractions can lead to incredible stimulation, then leading to bigger biceps.
Cool...I want to get massive freaking biceps, so what the hell are the top five bicep builders?!?!?
Top 5 BUILDERS
Alright, let’s cut to the chase and give you the bicep builders to GET YOKED.
1. Hammer Curls
a. Targeting forearm flexion along with the potentiation of the brachialis, the hammer curl can increase forearm size while also developing serious bicep mass. This is not to be executed as a cheat curl, unless specified! Smash this movement with precision and continue to grow thickness in the flexors.
b. Best Rep Range: The ideal rep range is going to be based around goals. The hammer curl is great for increasing strength because it incorporates a bit more muscle groups than a classic pronated curl. Because of that, using 5 sets of 5-7 reps is ideal for strength and size.
c. Best Pairing: For pre-exhaustion work, I like to pair hammer curls with neutral grip pull ups. For antagonistic supersets, I like to use hammer curls with seated tricep pushdowns.
2. Preacher Curl with Fat Bar
a. Preacher curls with a fat bar target puny-ass biceps. Throughout the eccentric range, the biceps take on a massive load of resistance and the growth of flexor carpi radialis is also triggered by holding wrist flexion. This is a great movement for anyone who struggles with general curls or even chin ups.
b. Best Rep Range: Preachers can be used to stimulate massive pumps because of the isolation. I have played around with a VERY heavy preacher curl with reps of 2-4 reps over 8-10 sets but the biggest gains I have seen are from 12-17 reps over 5-6 sets. This leads to a massive pump and massive growth.
c. Best Pairing: For pre-exhaustion, pair with chin ups. For antagonistic superset work, pair with miracle gro’s for a ridiculous pump and big soreness the following day.
3. Incline Curls
a. Incline curls are excellent for someone who struggles to achieve a reflex. Many athletes who are slower twitch can use incline curls for a greater eccentric stimulation which will lead to more muscular damage while using the myotatic reflex at the bottom to stimulate greater recruitment in the lengthened position. Remember...lengthening is strengthening.
b. Best Rep Range: Sets of 8-12 are typically best with a fully controlled eccentric. Feel the reflex at the bottom by lengthening the wrist. This will spark a very STRETCHED feeling throughout the bicep.
c. Best Pairing: For pre-exhaustion, pair incline curls with pull ups. If you don’t have a glaring weakness, pair incline curls with incline french press
4. Zottman Curls
a. Any athlete that has grip weakness or small forearms will benefit from zottman curls. By using a slow eccentric during pronation, the forearm will get SMOKED by the overload and lead to incredible gains in forearm size and strength.
b. Best Rep Range: The biceps and forearms are a little more slow twitch fiber types which means the zottman curls create the biggest stimulus at 17-20 reps! The pump will be absurd.
c. Best Pairing: Pair this movement with a simple tricep exercise such as Ghostface Kickbacks. Kickbacks are easy to execute and also a very good movement to get a HUGE pump. This pairing together is great for a finisher of a workout.
5. Glute Head Curls
a. Remember back to our positions of flexion. This curl falls into the contracted position of stimulation. This is an alternative to a spider curl that leads to incredible contraction at the top of the movement along with serious forearm growth in strength. If you have weak forearms and struggle with the mind-muscle connection in the biceps, this movement is for you.
b. Best Rep Range: Hit these movements with 5-7 sets of 7-17 reps. Work to a heavy set of 7 and then do 3-4 drop sets of 17 reps and you will have a MASSIVE PUMP!
c. Best Pairing: Pair this movement with forearm roller and your forearms will literally grow overnight. Pairing pinch strength of the forearms with rotational strength leads to massive growth in the forearm flexors.
When I developed Bize and Trize 1 and 2, I spent years experimenting on angles of flexion, tempo, rest time and even pairings of movement. These methods are tried and true, leading to massive growth in arm size and greater performance for sports performance as well. It takes time and variation to build to the arm size of your dreams but relentless attitude, intelligent programming and proper recovery is what sparks massive bize and trize!
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