The Best Bicep Workouts – Build Big Arms
You’ve head about, you’ve read about it. It’s the magnificent Bicep what people are obsessing after. So naturally you want to know the best bicep workouts to build them big arms right? Well I think you’ve come to a right place!
The most common things to people who are not familiar to working out is to ask “How much you bench?” or asking to show a bicep pose and compare each other. I kinda understand this since well developed arms are quite pleasing to the human eye. Women love them and men are jealous of them.
But let’s first look a bit to the anatomy of the arms. Roughly 1/3 of your upper arms mass is located on a bicep and the rest of the 2/3 are located in the tricep! So naturally if you want a bigger arms you should put a lot of emphasize on the tricep, but ofcourse the peak of the bicep is aesthetically pleasing and that cannot be overlooked either when building whole arm mass.
The biggest mistake what people do for building bigger biceps is to do a crazy amount of really specific targeted work to the bicep.
A very common scenario with folks starting to get into the weight lifting is that they’ll do 4 different secondary exercises to target biceps couple of times in a week. First they’ll do 3 sets of EZ-Bar Bicep curls followed by 3 sets of concentrated dumbbell curls followed by 3 sets of precher curls and to top it off exhaust the biceps in cable curls. This is completely counter-productive to the growth of the bicep and what will happen is, you’ll end up with all kinds of aches and pains in your elbows, wrists and shoulders due to over exhausting your muscles and joints, along with the imbalance of muscles.
When you want to build big biceps (or arms in general) you should think your whole body, not just the biceps. About 99% of the guys who have great biceps or arms in general are well build overall, not just their arms. And this is something really important to consider. Developing your whole body will give you strength, mass and well proportioned physique. No, I’m not talking about freakish bodybuilder physique. The most annoying myth around the regular people is that you’ll end up looking like a bodybuilder after couple months of exercise. Believe me this won’t happen even after 4 years of natural heavy training.
So that being said let’s dive into it!
As mentioned before you should NOT build your routines around secondary / assistance exercises such as bicep curls.
Instead you should build your routines around heavy basic compound exercises of chin-ups and different variations of rows. Believe it or not but these exercises will not only grow your biceps they also will give tremendous stimulus to your back! Your focus should be in Quality over Quantity when choosing exercises for biceps.
That being said you should always perform your Chin-up or Row exercises with neutral grip (palm facing each other) or Supinated grip (palms facing yourself) this way you’ll activate the biceps to the greatest degree.
Performing these heavy multijoint exercises your body will produce the highest amount of anabolic hormones which means the best possible situation for muscle growth!
Before we go to the exercises you should really drill this to your head. ALWAYS use proper form when doing these exercises!
Not only you’ll minimize the chance of injury but you’ll strengthen your natural posture and this has numerous health benefits such as better circulation, less aching muscle and joint pains.
With any type of pulling exercises it’s really important to have a neutral spine so that your lower back won’t be rounding. Also keeping your shoulder blades retracted is crucial to working the right muscles and maintaining healthy posture and also prevent that lower back rounding.
Don’t work with weight that you cannot handle. If you’re a beginner 99.9% of the time you’ll be performing the movement with incorrect technique since you’re not controlling the weight, the weight is controlling you!
Executing the exercises with correct form should be your #1 priority. Don’t worry about the weight, worry about your technique and really hammer it into your subconcious before you start adding serious amount of weight to the bar / dumbbells.
That being said let us look to the exercises for developing those biceps!
The greatest compound exercise for biceps and back and yet so simple, the good old chin-up with supinated or neutral grip. You should take grip of about shoulder width to get the maximum concentration on bicep and back.
The major worker so to say will be your Latissimus Dorsi (which is the biggest muscle in your back) and the second active workers are your Biceps!
Chin-Ups are not only one of the best bicep and back combine exercises but they also will promote natural posture since they engage muscles that are responsible to maintain that thoracic extension.
#2 Barbell or Dumbbell Rows
Another killer exercise which will target your biceps and back. As chin-ups are so called Horizontal pull these rows are Vertical pulls. Sounds fancy but it really isn’t that important. Basically it just means that you’ll use a bit different muscles than in the chin-ups.
By training biceps & back you should always take one Horizontal and one Vertical exercise to ensure the most optimal stimulation of different parts of back and biceps.
With this exercise you can decide if you want to do One Arm Dumbbell Row or the basic Barbell Row, by alternating these exercises you can use different grips such as neutral, supinated, and something in between of the two if you’re working with EZ-barbell (the smaller wave formed barbell).
These two exercises are really all you need but to be sure we can top up our bicep work a bit by adding couple of secondary exercises which are:
#3 Bicep Curls with EZ-Bar or Dumbbells
This is a secondary exercise or so called assistance exercise. You can think these as a “icing on the cake” in your bicep development. You will want to add these AFTER you’re done your compound to stimulate that bicep a bit more.
You can perform these with the dumbbells in many different ways but the usual being just hammer curls where you curl the dumbbell with neutral grip or another way you start with the neutral grip and while curling you’ll rotate your wrist so that the top part of the curl your palm is facing yourself (supinated).
It’s ultimately up to you what curl you use but you should try different kinds and see which one works for you.
To be honest these are not mandatory to do after the compounds but if you’re looking for that maximum stimulation of the biceps add these on top of your routine.
So there you have it. This really is everything you need to really build those biceps, there is no magic pills or other gimmicks it’s just hard work and sticking with it. Start with the chin-ups follow up with the chosen row and do one assistance curl such as dumbbell bicep curl on top of that. Stick with one set of exercise for 1 to 2 months and then change it.
Here is an example for you:
- Chin-Ups with Supinated grip
- Barbell Rows with EZ-bar
- Alternating Barbell Bicep Curl with hammer (neutral) grip
Do this one for 1 or 2 months ideally 2 times a week and then change it a bit like so:
- Chin-Ups with Neutral grip
- One Arm Dumbbell Row
- Bicep Curl with EZ-Bar
Again do this for 1 or 2 months again ideally 2 times a week and change to different variations.
So let’s look at all the important points once again:
- Structure your bicep workout with pulling compound exercises being priority #1
- Aim to train whole body, not just the biceps
- Execute the exercise with proper form
- Don’t overwork your biceps by doing tons of secondary exercises
- Building muscle takes time and effort, don’t expect results over days or weeks
That’s really all there is to it. I hope you found this article helpful and it answered some questions you got in mind.
I’d love to hear what you think about this! Drop me a comment down below and share your ideas or suggestions with me.
Remember to train hard and train SMART!