bodyweight tricep exercises : If you’re like me, it’s in your best interest to learn how to properly work your biceps. Most people who start working out don’t know how to develop their biceps and get poor results despite hard training. So how do you develop your biceps, even if you train at home?
You need to follow these 6 rules, some of which may surprise you:
Lift lighter loads
Engage the right muscles through concentration
Maintain a constant tension in the biceps
Consume enough calories (especially protein)
Get enough rest for the muscles being worked
Control the time under tension
Don’t worry, you’ll understand everything by reading the rest of the article…
It’s hard to have big biceps!
To tell you the truth, I grew up with a pair of toothpicks hanging from my shoulders?
I swam in every shirt with several inches of cotton flapping in the wind above each elbow. I grew at an incredible rate, gaining 22 cm in 9 months at the age of 11. I’m not a giant by any means, as I’m about 1.86 m tall, but I was almost full grown by the time I was 14.
The problem was that I was terribly asthmatic and sports, including weight training programs, were not part of my daily routine… I had to wait until I was 16 to start shaking things up a bit. And I did well, even if I didn’t always do it well, and even often like a dick?
And the advice I received later in the weight room was not much better. I was put on programs that took hours just for one muscle group. This was the great era of pyramid training (great for bodybuilders, but not for beginners starting from scratch).
In fact, it was a good technique for weight loss, but not for a strength training program.
Result: I did gain a lot of stamina without ever getting bigger biceps.
If you’re also struggling to work your biceps properly and build size, here’s something to help you out…
Discover 6 secrets to working your biceps
Working the biceps for mass gain
1. Lift less weight for bigger biceps
Does this surprise you?
It’s true that we often stress the importance of using heavier loads or higher tensions for mass gain for a large muscle group.
But when it comes to training biceps for big arms, that’s not the best solution. Instead, all you’re likely to get first is an elbow problem before you get a huge bicep. And this is even more true if you are over 50, like me! Lifting too heavy is the best way to get tendonitis rather than building up your biceps.
This is especially true with dumbbells, since elastic tubing is more likely to work the biceps than the joints. But you still need to be careful and choose the right resistance.
There’s no need to pile on the cast iron discs to do heavy barbell curl sets. Instead, try to go lighter and do sets of 10 to 15 reps with a dumbbell in each hand so you don’t get a locked-in wrist.
If possible, start your biceps workout with hammer grip curls. Do the same with the elastic band, because it is the best exercise to develop the volume of the biceps brachii. Read the linked article to understand its importance.
And above all, even if the load or tension seems a little low, contract the muscle as hard as possible with each repetition. As if you wanted to crush it at the end of the movement. That doesn’t mean you should use a pair of cotton swabs 🙂
Work the biceps with light loads
This is not bodybuilding equipment
But choose a weight or resistance that allows you to achieve at least 10-12 reps with good form, i.e. without cheating the movement.
Don’t let your ego take control of your arms when you work out, even if you go to a gym. And remember, when it comes to building biceps, it’s rarely the ones who lift the heaviest that have the biggest. I learned that the hard way…
2. You need to engage the right muscles
To understand me, use your visual memory. Imagine yourself doing a dumbbell or elastic band curl to build up your biceps. You contract your biceps as hard as you can during the lift. That’s good!
Now, as you bring the arm back to the starting position, consciously contract your triceps and try to push the bar back toward the floor. You’re basically working your biceps and triceps together, kind of like they’re in conflict… but the biceps should win anyway 😉
Obviously you are working with gravity, not against it. So the dumbbells, EZ bar or elastic band are bound to return to their original position. By using this trick, you will get a more intense contraction during your biceps exercises. This is true for every exercise, and especially for a pupil curl (also called Larry Scott) or your hammer grip curls.
Here’s an example of hammer grip curls to work the biceps with a rubber band:
When using this technique for your isolation exercises, be sure to take 2-3 seconds for the negative portion of each repetition.
This naturally leads to the next tip…
3. Maintain a constant tension in the biceps
As you pump your arms with your longer sets, you need to consciously maintain a constant tension on the biceps or brachialis muscle.
This is even more important with dumbbells than with resistance bands. Indeed, when you want to work your biceps with an elastic tube, the tension is stronger at the top. If you use this type of equipment, you know that the biceps remain more contracted at the top than at the bottom. Thus, it is almost impossible to release the tension at the time of the flexion.
This is one of the reasons why I think that elastic resistors are a better weight training equipment overall.
To summarize, and especially if you’re using free weights, stop a bit before the elbow lockout at the bottom and top of each repetition throughout the sets. Also favor the rotational curl with dumbbells instead of a straight bar. Failing that, use an EZ bar. It is less traumatic for the elbows.
This technique will ensure better muscle growth without causing unnecessary injury. If you are serious about building muscle at home with only 2 dumbbells and a bench, you can do so by following this program:
4. For bigger biceps, feed them
Are you aware of this?
All the bodybuilding exercises in the world are useless (or almost useless) without the right nutrition. And working the biceps is no exception. To create muscle growth, you need to give your body what it needs when it needs it.
So how do you feed the muscle?
I’m not going to go into detail here, as you’ll find many articles on this subject throughout this site. But, you must give your muscles the energy they need during training, for example with good quality carbohydrates.
Then you need to refuel after training by consuming what your body needs to grow. This includes quality protein and healthy fats.
If possible, eat as soon as possible after your workout to promote mass gain. Ideally, within an hour of your workout. Remember, you will need to take in excess calories to help build muscle. However, these calories should be rich in high quality nutrients. Don’t eat everything that comes your way!
You should especially eat protein and vegetables at every meal.
5. Give your biceps enough rest
I already explained this point in the article on muscle recovery. Especially if your exercises to build biceps lead you to what is called muscle failure, you need to give them time to recover. In reality, they are rebuilding themselves a little bigger during this time!
This is actually part of the basics of strength training, including working the biceps properly. You are destroying muscle fibers so that your body understands that it needs to provide you with stronger ones for the next time 🙂
So it would be a shame to sabotage the effects of the previous session by being impatient. Let the amino acids do their work! So, for bigger arms, give your body a minimum of 48 hours to repair them. It will be all the better prepared for the next session.
6. Use the right technique to work your biceps
Are you counting the time you strain during your sessions?
I guess not. In fact, almost no one does, not even me! Except that the amount of time your muscles are under tension is a very important factor in getting bigger arms. More important than you think. In reality, increased muscle size comes in 2 forms:
Myofibrillar or functional hypertrophy
Honestly, I don’t want to put you through all the technical details. You will find very good articles on the subject, such as this one. The important thing to remember is that your muscles need to stay under tension for at least 40 seconds in a set, which means that your movement should not be less than 4 seconds in resistance if you do 10 reps.
This is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t use momentum to lift the weight. This is what I explained in an article about the importance of not cheating the movements.
Focus on really working the muscles you are exercising for with controlled movements. In fact, you’ll do much better if you follow the first 3 tips in this article.
Conclusion for bigger biceps
Start using these 6 tips in your biceps workout programs today to build more muscle, and let me know how it works for you.