Mass and definition are two factors that deserve equal attention when trying to build attention-grabbing biceps. If you want 3D biceps, you should take a break from bench pressing and try these 5 arm-blasting exercises to build huge guns with more height, width and detail!
Don’t Skip the Warm-up
First, you want to warm up thoroughly before moving on to your working sets. Take an unloaded barbell and perform two sets of 15-20 reps. A good warm-up will prepare the body for exercise by increasing blood flow to the biceps and loosening the joints, thereby allowing for an effective performance with a decreased risk of injury.
#1. One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Preacher curls are great because they isolate the bicep completely and prevent you from cheating. When doing them, focus on overloading the muscle and making it work harder on each set. They’re usually performed on a preacher curl bench, but if you can’t find one of those at your gym, use a standard incline bench.
Use your non-working arm to spot the working arm and get that one last rep. Contract your bicep hard at the top position and then go slow on the eccentric part of the movement to maintain as much tension as possible throughout the entire range of motion.
Go for 5 sets of 8-12 reps on each arm with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
#2. Seated Hammer Curl
Seated hammer curls are stricter, meaning they isolate the bicep better, and place more stress on the muscle than standing curls, which allow the use of heavier weights but also tend to rely more on assisting muscles such as the back to curl the weight. Although you should find a place for both variants in your routine, we encourage you to focus more on overloading your guns with the seated version for better mass gains.
Alternate between your right and left arm on each rep and again make sure to lower the weight down in a slow and controlled manner and raise it up explosively.
Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps on each arm with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
#3. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curls
Although reverse grip curls are not as popular as traditional bicep curls, they are a very simple exercise that really works your biceps and can be exceptionally effective at helping you add mass.
Take a relatively light dumbbell in each hand, grip them so that your palms are facing downwards and perform alternate reps with your left and right arm. Make sure that you don’t swing the weight up because that will reduce the tension on the biceps and ensure that your elbows remain by your sides all throughout the movement to avoid bringing your shoulders into play. Really squeeze your biceps at the top then slowly bring the weight back to the starting position.
Perform 4 sets of 12 reps on each arm with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
#4. Cable Curl Drop Set
Bicep cable curls offer consistent resistance throughout the entire range of motion, which is why they can be used for developing the bicep peak and increasing its definition. To perform them, head over to the cables and attach a straight bar, select a weight that allows you to perform 12 reps with good form, position yourself facing the machine with an upright posture and knees slightly bent. Keep your elbows to your sides to isolate the biceps better and keep the movement under control at all times. Keep in mind that a wider than shoulder-width grip emphasizes the inner biceps, whereas a narrow grip will work the outer biceps more.
For better gains, increase the intensity of the exercise by performing it as a drop set. Begin with one set of 12 reps, then drop the weight by half and immediately go for another 12 reps. Complete a total of 4 sets.
#5. Ez-bar Bicep Curl 21s
According to many bodybuilding experts, curling with an EZ-bar is better than a straight bar because it naturally puts your wrists and elbows in a more comfortable position than the latter. This exercise has been used by champions from every era as a highly effective bicep builder and it’s been repeatedly proven to work great, so don’t think twice about adding it to your routine. On the other hand, 21s are one of the best ways to finish your bicep workout and pairing them with EZ-bar curls is a surefire way to stimulate new bicep growth.
Start by standing up straight while holding an EZ curl bar at the wide outer handle. The palms of your hands should be slightly tilted inward and facing forward. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Keeping the upper arms stationary, curl the weight up until you reach midrange (where your forearms and upper arms form a 90 degree angle) and repeat this for 7 reps.
For the next 7 reps, start from midrange and curl the weight up toward your shoulders. For the last 7 reps, return the weight to the normal start position for bicep curls where your arms are fully extended and perform 7 complete reps within a full range of motion. That’s a total of 3 sets with 7 reps each. Take 2 minutes of rest between sets.
To make sure that your biceps get all the stimulation they need for growth, support your gym efforts with the right supplementation.
For starters, make sure you never miss your post-workout protein shake. Another important supplement that you shouldn’t miss on is creatine monohydrate as it is one of the most researched supplements with proven benefits in terms of increased strength, power and endurance. Creatine supplementation will enable you to work out harder for longer, thus enticing more growth.
Lastly, consider adding BCAAs to your pre-workout supplement mix. BCAAs, or leucine, isoleucine and valine, are three amino acids with similar structures that beneficially influence the muscles, helping them increase force production and accelerating post-workout recovery.
If this 5-move bicep workout doesn’t make your biceps burn like hell and grow almost overnight, you’re doing it wrong. The most important aspect of each of these exercises is to perform them in a controlled manner and perfectly paced manner by curling the weight up explosively then taking your time during the eccentric (lowering) part. Be mindful of your form and keep it tight at all times.
Don’t forget that the “form before weight” rule will enable you optimal performance and better gains in the long run, so keep training smart to carve out the desired detail in your biceps.