Spring has sprung, and we are fast approaching summer time. This means only one thing, less clothing and the opportunity to invite people to see “the gun show”. If you haven’t yet given out two tickets to see said “gun show” then ‘do you even lift bro?!’
By reading this article, I am assuming that you don’t currently have the arms you want and your most certainly looking for bigger biceps. Read on to torch your guns and stretch your t-shirts this summer by building stronger, bigger and leaner biceps.
Best Workouts For Bigger Biceps
Standing Cable Curl
Not necessarily one you can do at home unless you own resistance bands or your garage has a top-notch pulley set-up worthy of an Instagram page itself. So hit the gym for this one as you need a cable pulley system at your mercy.
Compound movements like rows and pull-ups do engage your bicep. However, right now we are looking to isolate those beautiful biceps by concentrating on contraction. The main muscle we are targeting with this workout is the Biceps brachii, so connect a straight bar or cambered bar attachment of your choice to the end of the pulley and let’s get to it.
Stand with your back to the pulley system and the bar plus cable coming through your legs which are shoulder-width apart. Keeping a straight back and bending at the knees lift the bar up with an underhand grip, so you’re now upright with your elbows extended.
Looking straight ahead, with your chest high and your abs nice and tight, slowly curl the bar up while bending your elbows keeping them close to your body. Keeping your elbows tight to your sides throughout the movement is important as you hold the weight at the top, squeezing out your contraction. Slowly lower the weight back down, so your arms are extended.
Here is the juicy bit, on the way down don’t let the weight hit back down on the stack behind you, pause just before your arms are fully extended and repeat the rep. Aim for around 12 reps with 120 seconds of rest between sets. 3-5 sets per workout will get the pump you have been waiting to see!
The great thing about this exercise is that the cable provides constant tension. Your elbows have a strong fixed point to work from, as long as you’re keeping them by your side. If the weight is forcing your elbows to come up and away from your body, then it may be too heavy at this stage. Leave your ego at the door; drop the weight and perform the perfect rep every time. If you can achieve 12 perfect reps without breaking a sweat, only then move the weight up.
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl
We are using free weights for this one as we also want to engage the core and strengthen those abs. This gym favourite can be performed from a standing position as well as a seated one. However, on this occasion try the seated position to take away the added advantage of momentum. By being seated, you are expected to perform each rep from a resting point, making every single rep worth the aches and pains tomorrow.
Sit on a bench nice and tall, chest up and abs tight while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows close to your body as you curl one dumbbell up at a time. Squeeze the bicep at the top of the movement as it reaches your shoulder, before slowly lowering back down to starting position.
Stay composed, stable and engage those abs as you repeat that movement with the alternate arm. Aim for 6 to 8 reps on each side completing 3 to 5 sets with 120 seconds rest between sets.
This workout is great to find those imbalances of a stronger or weaker arm, as well as improving posture and core stability. Doing them seated stops you rocking the body and swinging those bad boys up; let’s sit down, take your time and ensure every rep bursts some stitches on our already overly tight training top.
Am I allowed favourites?! Well too late I’ve said it; this is a favourite of mine. Head down the gym to gain an audience with this workout, or use a home pull up bar in the garage to allow you to play some ridiculously loud ‘Rocky’ music.
Ok, I know before you start ‘dm-ing’ me this exercise does hit the back first, however, bear with me on this one. The reason why it’s a ‘fave’ is this exercise bursts those bicep muscle fibres as well as creating an opportunity for your back, shoulders and core to grow. The Brachialis will have nothing better to do but to grow while you sleep following this workout.
If we are talking t-shirt tearing biceps, then your big back will also help out to make your medium sized t-shirts look silly.
Take hold of a fixed overhead bar with a close underhand grip. Let your grip take your body weight as you hang freely from the bar. Cross your ankles as you squeeze your back and biceps raising your chin up and beyond the bar. Through this movement keep your core tight, and yes you guessed it, your chest high. Once your chin passes the bar, pause before slowly lowering yourself back down to a dead hang. Repeat to get big.
Now listen here fellow gym goers, this is easier said than done.
Contracting your biceps and pulling your body weight up to the bar and down carefully takes some serious concentration, strength and endeavour. But boy, will it be worth it. If one rep is all you can manage at this time, then just do the one, do lots of ones! Once you start to build lean muscle and strength attempt two reps, this progressive overload and development will quickly determine which summer outfit your packing.
By following this workout, you will be walking around with newly found confidence, not just with bigger biceps but with a stronger core and stability muscles.
It will be this foundation of body strength that allows you to progress on to bigger and better workouts as well as bigger and better t-shirts.