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[ Top 100 training tips ] -[ Programs] -[ Coach Ron explains ]



1. Don't do heavy cheat curls!
Loading up the bar and swinging it around results in a sore lower back. Biceps training centers around strict form for maximum results. Those who say Schwarzenegger did cheat-curls fail to realize he had genetically fabulous arms. Even if building monster biceps is not your goal, for extra thickness avoid heavy cheat curls to avoid injury while stimulating growth.

2. Emphasize basics.
Movements like inverted decline one-arm cable rows with a rope, and other acrobatics, are nothing more than a circus act that usually results in foregoing growth. Standing barbell curls, standing or seated dumbbell curls in unison, or alternate style barbell preacher curls, barbell preacher curls and one-arm dumbbell preacher curls are basic biceps movements. Your routine should focus on strict utilization of one to three of these, depending on your development and level of experience.

3. Strengthen your forearms.
No lifter with great biceps ever had weak forearms. Forearms are the link to the biceps. Without a strong grip, how can you dig deep and feel a significant burn in the biceps? You'll never achieve maximum potential contraction without a firm, stable grip. Since you can't optimize biceps development with weak forearms, pay attention to both, with biceps development a little ahead of forearm development in terms of size.

4. Keep wrists turned out when curling dumbbells.
Keeping wrists "supinated" while curling dumbbells is key to deep stimulation of the biceps. Did you know that with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, you could contract your biceps by tightening a screw into a wall? Try it. The outward turning action of the wrist will demonstrate the importance of maintaining this position while curling dumbbells.

5. Experiment with bar grip thickness.
A thicker bar stimulates forearms more so than the direct stimulation it gives the biceps, while a thinner bar stimulates more muscular contraction of the biceps at the top of the curling motion. Fixed, racked or stacked barbells have a narrower-than-usual barbells should "peak" your biceps better than thicker barbells.

6. Don't be fooled by cables.
Soreness- if that's your measure of stimulation-is difficult to achieve with cables compared to free-weights. No matter how hard people work on cables, and despite apparent muscular failure, you can't be sure when they've fatigued their biceps, as failure approaches, more accessory muscles are employed to hoist the weight. Thus, although a set might be done to apparent failure, it's more of a diffuse failure involving muscles of the forearms, shoulders and upper back. The biceps, though somewhat pumped, is left relatively unstimulated compared to the same effort exerted in barbell or dumbbell work.

7. Always start curling from fully extended position.
Never begin with elbows in the bent position. This shortens the range of motion and makes it a great deal easier. Although you might be able to lift greater poundage, you'll sacrifice a tremendous amount of muscular development. Instead, always start from the fully extended elbow position. As long as you're training in strict, controlled form, you won't have to worry about a hyperextension injury.

8. Rotate elbows slightly forward as you begin your curls.
When lifters move their elbows back along their sides and behind them as they begin the curling motion, it's called a "drag curl" because they drag the bar up along their bodies and close their chests instead of out in front of them. In sports medicine, this is used to rehabilitate a damaged rotator cuff. Since the biceps is not a primary rotator cuff muscle, curling this way will not fully stimulate the biceps. Instead, begin the curl in the straight-arm position and initiate the first phase of the motion, not by flexing the elbow, but by moving the entire arm forward. The movement should be slight; enough to keep the elbows from moving back. Begin to flex the elbow and contract the biceps. Don't move your arms forward too much, or the front deltoid will get involved and assist in the curl.

9. Don't pause at the top of your curls.
The top of a curling motion lacks resistive force. Because gravity ceases to exert an angular stress when you top out on most types of curls, you lose active contraction. The lack of force transiently relaxes contraction and loosens the muscles of the biceps in what amounts to a resting position. To prevent this, keep the bar or dumbbell moving through the entire range of motion, not allowing for any pause of deceleration at the top. This will put a continuous stress on the biceps. Biceps flexion will be maintained, muscular fatigue will be more focused, and a deeper pump will be produced.

10. Tighten and flex biceps between sets.
By flexing your biceps between sets, you enhance your pump by promoting more blood flow to this area. In the process, you create more muscularity. There's no better way to get that chiseled, granite-like look.