Most people love to train biceps, flexing their arms with pride at the end of every set, yet not always seeing the kind of results they expect after putting in all the hard work.
This article will help you get the results you want from your biceps training. Discover how to build bigger arms with various bicep workout programs designed for mass building.
Anatomy of the Biceps
Before you can jump into the training and the best bicep workout exercises some background information is necessary
A quick anatomy lesson is in store.
The biceps brachii or biceps for short is a two-headed muscle:
- long head or outer head
- short head or inner head
Both heads share the same insertion point near your elbow on your radius. A bone in your forearm. On the other end, the two heads each have their own origins on the scapula. The short head attaches to the coracoid process. The long head travels further and attaches to the scapula at the supraglenoid tubercle.
Basically, your biceps run down the front of your arm and makeup about 1/3 of the muscle mass of your upper arm.
There are 2 additional parts of the bicep are called brachialis and brachioradialis. These are little muscles on the outside of the bicep that help with elbow flexion. Generally, they get enough work that there is no need to isolate them unless you are a competitive bodybuilder.
Any arm flexion will work the entire biceps muscle but certain lifts will focus and hit one part more than the others.
Functions of the Biceps
In order to correctly train the biceps is necessary to understand their function and movement patterns. The biceps is tri-articulate, working across three joints. The main duty of the bicep muscle is to flex the elbow…moving the forearm towards the shoulder.
There is a second function of the biceps. Supinate the forearm, turning the hand from a palms-down position to a palms-up position. Knowing these two functions makes designing a bicep workout plan a little easier. The biceps also helps stabilize your rotator cuff. But as a bodybuilder or someone looking to get bigger arms, we are primarily concerned with the first 2 functions.
Training Your Biceps
Now that you have a basic understanding of the biceps muscle and function we can get into the good stuff…building big biceps!
You will be happy to know that planning your biceps workout program is fairly straightforward. They really only have two major jobs as described earlier. Just make sure you include these movements in your program and you will be on the right track.
Key bicep workout programming tips: pull heavy weight, include lots of chin ups and rows movements with your hands more than shoulder width apart, hits the outer head, to hit the inner head hands are placed closer than shoulder width, to get more Brachialis involvement curl with your palm facing your body.
Best Biceps Exercises
You can not beat compound movements for adding massive amounts of mass to your frame. And the same thing goes for getting big arms. Chin up variations, and different rows are a great way to add size to your biceps. You will never see someone who can move lots of weight in these lifts without big arms. So be sure to include lots of pulls in your program. That will be discussed in another article. For now, we will focus on the biceps.
If you are looking to focus on just the biceps, barbell curls are the best biceps isolation movement you can do. This is the most basic biceps exercise and the foundation of your workout program.
Most guys know how to do a barbell curl so I will not go into much detail. Just remember to keep the elbows in tight to the body and to go heavy.
This exercise would be the first exercise done in the bicep portion of your workout. Start with a warm up set of 12 reps add weight drop to 10 reps add more weight now perform 8 reps. This set should be tough. Do one more set with even more weight and again drop the reps from 6-8. This set is tough.
Other variations include:
- EZ bar curls
- straight bar cable curls
- different grips, wide or close
Hammer curls are able to work the inner head of the biceps more than other curling variations. To perform this movement you are going to do a basic curl but this time have your palms facing in. This is done with dumbbells or a bar that has a neutral grip handle on it.
You can do this exercise one arm at a time, together or you could alternate.
The best movement for the outer head is doing curls while seated on an incline bench. This exercise isolates and stretches the biceps more then standing dumbbell curls so you will have to use less weight.
Similar to the standing dumbbell curl. Grab a pair of dumbbells. Sit back on an incline bench dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of the bench behind your body. From here do your regular curling motion.
The best movement for the Inner Head is the preacher curl. For this exercise sit on a bench with a preacher stand. Hold a bar elbows rested on the preacher stand and palms facing towards the ceiling. keeping your arms on the pad do a curling motion.
How Often Should You Train Your Biceps?
Your biceps are small compared to other muscle groups thus do not need the same volume and do not get the sam kind of stress.
you can perform bicep exercises up to three non-consecutive days a week. Two days a week is a better option. Be sure to have at least one full day of rest between exercises and take two if you can get it.
Bicep Workout Program for Building Big Bi’s
After your pulling exercises like chin ups and rows:
Biceps Workout 1
Maybe today you did chin ups and close grip pulls downs
- Barbell Curls – 4 sets 12, 10, 8, 6
- Hammer Curls – 2 x 15
Biceps Workout 2
Again this is to be done after your pulling exercises. Something like inverted rows and seated rows with a close grip.
- Preacher Curls – 4 sets 12, 10, 8, 8
- Incline Curls – 2 sets of 15
Be sure to get lots of rest and eat well. Your arms will be sure to grow and before you know it you will have the best biceps of your weight training career.