All bicep exercises are essentially single joint movements. This means that sometimes people say that you might not be starting with the right single joint movement, and you should listen to them about this issue. Just because they are all performed through one joint, it doesn’t mean that you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t do.
That’s why for your first exercise of the day you should always pick an exercise that will let you lift as much as possible while your form remains impeccable. If you go right to the preacher bench when you walk into the gym, or if you do concentration curls right off the bat, you will need to find a new routine or trainer. This is because both of those exercises require that your upper arms be warmed up and stabilized so that they can isolate the movement of your muscles. For best results, get some heavy dumbbells or a heavy barbell and pump away.
Don’t Accept the Norm!
Sometimes, things can get dogmatic in the gym and as we all know, dogma sucks for everyone. That’s why, if you want to make muscles much stronger than in your regular routine, you will need to be smarter. These following few tips will enable you to hit more biceps areas at the same time, as well as activate the inner to outer bicep heads or even the brachialis underneath.
1. Peak-Contraction Training – Hold the weight at the top of the movement and clench your biceps as hard as possible. This will bring about extra tension and that clench lets you have a very short pause which will help you with your focus when it comes to that movement. So in the end, you won’t just drop the weight.
2. Partial Reps – These can be very useful for going above and beyond your sticking point. These reps will help you keep intensity on the part of the movement where you perform the best so you will be able to lift more than usual. I would recommend seated barbell curls or curls in a power rack.
3. Getting Double the Workout – Begin your set with your arm fully extended with a little bend at the elbow, then take it up for a full contraction. After that, go down but only halfway. Then, raise the weight up again and all the way down. Keep in mind that this is still only one rep, but your bicep has been stressed twice. How’s that for effectiveness?
4. 21-Rep Sets – Do seven partial reps for the bottom half of the range of motion, followed by seven more partials for the top part of the range and then seven full range reps. This will bring you to 21 reps.
5. Put Resistance Bands Into Play – When working out with barbells or dumbbells, the weight will constantly shift through the range of motion. If you add some resistance bands when doing these curls, you will make it harder for yourself to do the full range of motion and your biceps will be more stressed, hence the workout will be more effective. This is known as the variable resistance technique, and it will make your weights feel lighter at the bottom and heavier at the top, which is yet another way to grow your biceps.
6. Increase Time Under Tension – Try to take your time when exercising. Slow it down. You can do this by using negative (eccentric) training. To do this, have a partner help you lift up the weight and then take a few seconds to drop it down again. This will lengthen the muscle, put it under more tension for a longer period of time. You can also do this the other way around. Get your partner to lower the bar and then you can lift it up with explosive quickness or for even greater effect, as slowly as possible.
For best effect, do both of these things and mix them up with some blood-flow restriction and cluster-set training. The result is pretty much guaranteed, since there is actually credible scientific evidence that your muscles will grow bigger and faster if they are placed under longer and more intense stress. This is because your body will start synthesizing protein more quickly, and the anabolic hormones will kick in. However, you don’t have to do negative rep training just to get into a tempo – you can do both quick and slow reps which will both perform on the positive instead of the negative side.
And That’s Not All!
There is a huge number of techniques out there that you can utilize to boost the growth of all of your muscles and especially your biceps. If you supinate your hand when you curl that dumbbell you will have better effect. If you switch between low rep and high rep workouts or integrate finishing moves like the FST-7, you will have an even better effect. Also, you can isolate your biceps twice while your training split is going on, or you can train them after a pause day.
Anyway, the most effective way to grow your biceps is to add variety to your exercises. Stop doing what you’re doing and do something different. Make your muscle experience new sensations and it will grow in new ways. You are both the experimenter and the result of the experiment, and realistically you don’t have anything to lose when you want to try new techniques. I would suggest that you devote up to six weeks for every one of these methods. Monitor its effect on your muscles and change it. It’s a test that you create for yourself!