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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.