A Tip to Improve Your Biceps Training

Posted March 22, 2010 in Fitness Tips 11 Comments »
Swole Fitness Tips

Arnold’s Bis

As most of you know, I am not a huge advocate of biceps training. I think the biceps get worked pretty hard in you train your back correctly using pull ups, chin ups, and various rows. See my post on the top 5 best back exercises.

In reality you probably only like 4-6 total sets of biceps training a week. That would be 2 sets for 2 or 3 exercises a week, spread out over the course of the week. Choose your biceps exercises based on my list of the top 5 best biceps exercises.

At least if you are going to train your bis, whether twice a week or with a dedicated arms day consisting of 8 biceps exercises, let me tell you how to get the most out of each rep.

Over Train Your Biceps if That’s What Makes You Happy

With the above facts noted, I still know most of you, especially you teenagers, are going to train your biceps every other day of the year, with 3 sets of 3 different exercises targeting the biceps from multiple angles. If this is you, fine. Go ahead and do what you think you need to do.

Let me at least leave you with this one tip to improve your biceps training.

To make your biceps work harder when curling, simply extend your wrists back slightly while performing curls. Instead of flexing your wrist by bringing it closer to the inside of your forearm, extend it backwards towards your elbow. Keep it this way throughout your curling.

Let me know if you feel a difference.

Also, if you get bored some day, try a set of 21s. That would be 7 reps in the bottom half of the curl, 7 reps in the top half of the curl, and ending with 7 full curls. Use barbells or dumbbells. It will burn.

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11 Responses to “A Tip to Improve Your Biceps Training”

    • That exercise might be one of the biggest time wasters I’ve ever seen. Fact is, you should keep your elbows tucked in and pointing to the ground at all times during a curl. Isometric contractions are garbage compared to eccentric and concentric contractions. Isometrics have their place, like with the Vacuum I posted about in How to Flatten Your Gut, or when you stand on your toes to do a set of bodyweight squats (standing on the toes is an isometric contraction). The exercise on that website is an attempt to generate buzz around “an exercise you’ve never heard of”, in order to sell his book or eBook or whatever it was… I already forgot because it is so worthless. Please don’t waste time with these so-called shoulder curls. If you want to do something like that, do a set of 21s twice a week at the end of your regular workout.

  1. G’day Steve.
    I just wanted to get your thoughts on what some call Shoulder curls.
    It’s like a Bicep curl only your elbows remain locked through out the movement,only your shoulders move.

    “As you bring the bar up and down by moving at the shoulder, you’re also moving where the tension is greatest on the biceps. When the bar is at your stomach, it’s lower on the bicep. When the bar is up at your chin, it’s higher up on the bicep.”

    Do you think this is worth doing?

    Cheers Steve …..Love your Site!

    • I’m sorry I have no idea what a shoulder curl that targets the biceps muscles is. My initial reaction is to tell you to forget about that exercise entirely because it sounds pretty bogus.

  2. That sounds really intense Dom. I’m gonna’ try the dip after benching and the pull up after a regular back day. I’m sure it’ll bring about something new.

  3. t-nation had a great article on how to get bigger arms.

    You did ONE weighted pull up and ONE weighted dip. Trying to extend the length of the rep to 1:00 minute (30 seconds up, 30 seconds down). I remember focusing on the negative end of the movement and my arms have never hurt/shook so much as when i started this bicep/tricep workout

  4. Thanks again Steve for another enlightening and forthright article. Just like the Smith Machine and dumbbell side bends (no pun!), there will always be a role for curls. Of the many, my favorite maybe that worthless unproductive exercises like these will prevent the masses from achieving my level of conditioning, therefore boosting me even higher into super hero status!

    My ego and I are thankful for 2 things.
    2.For being living proof of Franco Columbo’s sacred adage; that if
    you work your chest and back right, your arms will follow.

    I gotta’ go snatch up a telephone pole to knock out a few sets of bent over rows. I’m out.


  5. Regading Bicep training tips:

    First, I just found your site a month ago, and have read everything on it and implemented multiple concepts (HIRT, losing the bi/tri days, etc). Big difference in my workouts and results, so thanks much.

    As background, I hadn’t lifted since college (15 years), got fat in my early 30’s, decided to get into triathlons/marathons a few years ago (5’8″ mesomorph, went from a fat 210 to slow-twitch 160 distance athlete). Last year I started gaining the fat back again (no good excuse, just job stress mainly, no exercise, fell off the wagon). So since I’m designed for speed not distance, love lifting, and want to look good, I’m back in the weightroom for some fast-twitch mirror-focused workouts. I started doing research to refresh myself on routines/exercies I’d forgotten, and found your site, which changed much in my workouts (back 8 weeks now, down 12 pounds net, 5 inches off my waist and a lot of muscle gains all over; yes, I forgot to measure my arms/legs/chest at the beginning). You got me running sprints at the track again, too (first since college). I still want to compete in short distance sprint triathlons, but while benching 315 and squatting well north of that at a lean 170-ish. I want to be the guy crossing the finish line in a solid time that looks better than anyone else.

    Anyway, by sheer accident, Saturday I was doing some curls (in a HIRT routine I made up), and I kept my wrists back at the bottom, and all the way up. I did it at first because I was using lighter weight dumbbells as it was a 10 minute HIRT set and was just trying to make it “hurt more” at the beginning of the set, and it felt awesome, really hit the bicep harder, although I can’t really explain why. Range of motion felt longer at the bottom, with more focus on the bicep all the way through, and felt like a “peak” contraction at the top, versus beating gravity after the midpoint. Great tip.

    Will be incorporating this into what curls I do as well.

    Thanks for putting up the site, it’s been a great resource for me to “remember” routines/practices and also learn some new very impactful stuff. I’m doing squats/deadlifts/cleans, things I never did before, and I love it.

    And HIRT rocks.

    • Thanks buddy. If I ever need a testimonial, I’ll be sure to refer to that comment. =)

      Glad your workouts are going well. Isn’t it fun to start running sprints again? HA! Keep up the great work!

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