Having big biceps looks great and it also enables you to lift heavy objects without straining yourself as much. Unfortunately, there is no “magic” formula for building large biceps. Just like building any other muscle, the key to getting big biceps is to start out with a weight that you can handle, and gradually increase the amount of weight you are using over time.
You should begin with the heaviest weight you can safely handle and can do at least 5-8 repetitions with. Using heavier weights will increase the amount of muscle you build. However, don’t start out using a weight that is too heavy for you. If you injure yourself you won’t be able to work out and then you won’t gain any muscle. In addition, if the weight is too heavy you won’t be able to maintain the proper form for each exercise.
The goal you should strive for is to be able to do 3 sets of 12 repetitions of the bicep exercises. Once you can do this, then you should use slightly more weight for the exercises until you can do 3 sets of 12 reps at the increased amount of weight, and then increase the amount of weight you are using again, and so on.
The Best Biceps Exercises
It is not necessary to perform all of the bicep exercises listed below to gain muscle. Performing 2-3 different exercises should be sufficient for you to build muscle.
Standing Barbell Curls
To do this exercise you can use a curling bar to maximize the contraction of your bicep, or you can use an ordinary barbel. Either one will help you build big biceps.
Begin by gripping the barbell with your hands about a shoulder’s width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent with your feet about 3-4 inches apart. Curl the bar up toward your chest, squeezing your biceps at the top of the curl for maximum benefit. Slowly lower the bar to its original position.
Don’t rush the exercise and don’t rock back and forth as you lift the barbell. Use controlled movements. If you can’t lift the weight using controlled movements then the weight is too heavy for you at this point and you need to lower the amount of weight you are using until you are able to handle it.
This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells. Don’t alternate the arms, raise the dumbbells simultaneously.
Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Begin this exercise by holding the dumbbells in each hand with the palms of your hands facing your legs. As you curl the dumbbells upward, gradually turn your wrist so when you are at the top of the exercise your wrist should be facing the front part of your shoulder. Alternate one arm at a time.
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Seated dumbbell curls are performed the same way as when standing except that you are seated.
Concentration curls are the best exercise for building the peak of the bicep muscle. It is best performed when you are seated. The photo at the top of this page shows the proper way to perform a concentration curl.
When you are seated and have your arm supported using your inner leg as shown in the photo, slowly raise the dumbbell up until it is about even with your chin. Slowly lower the weight until it is in the original position.
Preacher curls require a preacher bench. To do this exercise you place your elbows on the preacher bench platform and slowly raise the dumbbells up toward your collarbone.
This exercise can also be performed on a preacher bench machine. However, if you use a machine, if one arm is stronger than the other, it often helps your weaker arm/bicep to perform the exercise. By using free weights to perform the exercise the bicep muscles in both arms are equally challenged.
How Often Should You Exercise Your Biceps?
If you are using relatively light weights to perform your bicep exercises, then you can work out every other day. You must give your muscles at least one day of rest between workouts. This resting period is when your muscles grow.
However, if you are using very heavy weights then you may need at least 2-3 days in between your workouts to allow your muscles to fully recover for the next workout.
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