Everyone knows bicep curls and parallel bar dips are excellent for building a great set of guns, but here are five hints that will help you smash through plateaus and kick-start some growth!
ONE: CURL WITH YOUR LITTLE FINGER
One of the main purposes of the biceps muscle is to supinate the hand. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and
hold onto the bicep of that arm with your opposing hand, now rotate the hand on the bent arm through pronation and supination without changing the angle of your elbow. You will feel your biceps contract as you move into supination (hands facing up) and relax when hand is pronated (hand facing down) so when doing any kind of bicep curl, especially dumbbells, lead with your little finger! Imagine trying to turn your little finger out all the way through the movement to recruit maximum motor units.
TWO: EXERCISE WITH PERFECT TECHNIQUE
Cheating too much will not build a great set of arms. When performing bicep curls you should take the muscle from full extension to full contraction, this means that you have straight arms at the bottom of a curl. Another thing to remember is to keep your elbows pointed at the floor all the way through a curl to avoid assistance from other muscle groups.
THREE: BICEPS; UNDERSTAND THE STRENGTH CURVE
The strength curve describes the amount of force a muscle will apply through a specific range of movement. For example during a preacher bicep curl more force is required at the bottom of the movement where as a spider curl will need the biceps to produce more force near the contraction point of the exercise to complete the movement. So when training biceps you want to select exercises that overload at three points (low range, mid range and upper range) of the strength curve.
FOUR: SQUEEZE, DON’T RELAX
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy occurs when there is an increase in the sarcoplasmic fluid surrounding the myofibril fibres within the muscle. In order for this to occur you need to get a strong pump during training. And for that to happen you must flex at the contraction point of every rep. Squeeze, don’t relax! In order to get a good pump to stretch the fibres you need the muscle to be full, so make sure you are completely hydrated and have carbs present.
FIVE: DON’T FORGET GRIP WORK
If your bicep progress stalls it might be worth adding in some specific forearm training into your programme. The stronger your grip the heavier you can curl, it’s a no brainer: Stronger forearms, better grip, heavier weights used when curling, more overload on the biceps, greater hypertrophy.