Bicep Training Made Easy
Having big arms isn’t as simple as going to the gym, doing a bunch of curls for an hour, then going home. Having big biceps is the traditional measure of big arms – the ‘flex your arms for me’ pose is always a biceps pose. Big arms help you fill out your shirts too, so it’s easy to see why your average lifter dreams of having big guns. Truthfully, the majority of the muscle in your arm is comprised mainly of the triceps. The best bicep training info will tell you it;s important to build size to the triceps, which grows best from heavy compound movements, like Close Grip Bench Press (CGBP) and weighted dips. So, in your quest for big arms, let’s not forget to treat the triceps with equal or more importance than your biceps. Now, this article is about bicep ranges, but this was just a refresher.
Standard Bicep Rep Range
The typical rep range for hypertrophy (in laymen terms, the process of rebuilding muscle bigger and stronger) is 8-12 reps. Eight is on the lower end, teetering near what most would call the ‘strength’ gaining rep range (3-7). 12 is nearing what most consider to be ‘endurance’ oriented reps, 15 and above.
Most bicep routines use a set amount of reps and sets. For example, you may have two bicep exercises in your routine for the day. One being barbell curls. An example of this exercise could be four sets of 12 reps. Then, move to dumbbell curls. Three sets of 10 reps. This is a routine that uses hypertrophy range of reps and over time you will raise the weight while maintaining a number of sets and reps.
Other routines involve pyramid training. Pyramid training would involve the increasing and decreasing amount of reps between a set. For example, you are doing five sets of barbell curls. For the first set, you would do eight reps. The next 10, then 12, then 14, then 16. This could be done in reverse as well or with fluctuation amounts of weights. This type of approach works well at the end of a workout, for a burnout.
A burnout is one of the fun, yet twisted, self-inflicted painful method to grow your arms. This method works best with a partner, and you’ll understand why. For example, load a bar with 4 or 5 weights on each side. Depending on your strength, these weights could be 2.5, 5, or 10 lbs. Begin repping the bar, and when you become too tired to continue, your partner will remove weight from each side. You continue until you again reach your point of exhaustion. This will give an incredible pump and can lead to really intense soreness the day after. It’s effective for building muscle and is an excellent way to conclude an arm workout. This style of training is perfect for other areas of the body as well.
Pull Ups and Chin Ups for Biceps
Don’t sleep on the classic chin up and pull up (they are different) as bicep builders. The chin up is the version where your palms are facing towards you, pull ups they are facing away from you. They are both efficient muscle builders for your back, biceps, and forearms. In fact, they are one of the best exercises you could do. Focus more on chin ups for building biceps. It’s important to do a complete rep – referred to as ‘dead hang.’ This ensures activation of the right back and arm muscles.
Biceps are no different than other muscles regarding needing recovery. This means for most individuals training your biceps twice or three times a week is ideal. Do your bicep exercises with the same intensity that you bench, squat, or deadlift. A bicep workout should leave your arms dead tired, and in need of recovery. If you are training arms hard every day, you’re not recovering, or you are training something wrong. Some routines pair arm day with back exercises – ideal for those incorporating the important pull ups and chin ups. Others have a dedicated arm day, enjoying the pairing of tricep exercises.
Important Bicep Training Tips – Mind Muscle Connection
Take caution when training heavy volume or weight with your biceps. If your muscle starts to fatigue, you may inadvertently apply torque and pressure to your elbow. It’s not uncommon to have elbow soreness after the day after training. Don’t confuse this with muscle soreness. If this occurs, focus on your mind muscle connection while lifting and use lower weights if necessary. Extended periods of stress on your elbow can lead to a condition known as tennis elbow, slang for elbow tendonitis. Tennis elbow is a chronic, painful condition that can persist for extended periods of time unless complete rest is possible. Hydration is important as well, combined with proper supplements, to ensure healthy bicep growth.