Monday Workout ~ How to Train Bi’s
I rarely train bi’s directly. Not because I don’t think that there are benefits to training them directly. It’s just that I don’t like the way my shoulder feels whenever I train them hard and I don’t recover quick enough to make them a viable addition to my workouts. If I had to choose between no shoulder pain/the ability to do all of the movements that I like doing that require my shoulder and slightly larger and more sore bi’s, I definitely pick the ability to do all the movements that I love doing.
With that said, a good biceps workout every once in a while is a great way to know that you’re making progress with your biceps strength using other non-direct methods, such as various chin-ups, rows, weighted chins, etc.
So what are the ways that I like to best train bi’s when I’m actually trying to get move size?
There are two methods I use, that I switch between with weekly.
Both of these methods use 3 exercises with about 9 total sets for the routines.
A1 – Single-armed EZ Bar Preacher Curls – Full Range of Motion followed by 1/2 range of motion until burn out.
A2 – Band Curls – Fast and with a bit of shoulder flexion – 10 on each arm. 3 sets.
B1 – Incline Dumbbell Curls -One and a half method. This basically means that you’re going to come up, with a full supination (palms up), go half way down – hold – Come up with the other arm, do the same thing (go up, go half way down holding the supinated grip) – Go back up with the other arm and go down – repeat on the other arm. That’s one rep. Usually my arms are screaming by the time I get to 5-6 reps. Complete 3 Sets.
Seriously, that movement has made me squeal like a little girl – Good Times! If you want to work your brachialis a bit more, you can have the hold be a neutral grip (so thumbs up), but make sure that you’re getting that full supination on both parts of the curl.
With these three movements, you’ve pretty much burnt out the short-head of the biceps with A1 and A2. With B1 and the neutral grip hold, you’ve burnt out the long-head of the biceps along with fatiguing the brachialis. In other words, you’re hitting all parts of the bicep that are important for growth.
Can you do more work? Sure. For me though, I don’t need to.
That workout gets switched with this following workout. Why do I switch it up? Mainly because the previous workout is definitely tough on my shoulders with the incline curls pulling the long-head of the biceps and the short head of my biceps taking forever to recover. This following routine allows me to work my bi’s while working different movements.
A1 – Seated DB Curls – This movement, I do seated so I don’t use too much sway, but I definitely go as heavy as I can. I’ll work down until I can only get 5-6 decent reps on each side. As many sets as possible, but usually 4-5 sets.
B1 – Standing Barbell Curl – This movement should be somewhat self-explanatory, but it’s probably the most abused (and most justifiably excusably abused) cheat movement. With this movement I like to keep the form very strict, with as little shoulder flexion as possible. This is because in my previous workout, I’ve given the movements some good “body English” to keep them moving. , The strictness of this movement makes for an incredibly good burn. I don’t go too heavy, because I can’t (being strict with the movement), but the pump and workout are still great all the same. The rep range for this movement is a bit higher at 8-12 reps. 3 sets.
C1 – Kettlebell Piston Rows – This movement is a good exercise for a bunch of muscles and is great at the end of your workouts to help build some work capacity. Your lower back has to stabilize and hold you in a bent over position. Your rhomboids/middle trap get a good pump, along with a bit of work done for your rear delts. With that said, the reason I do this movement is primarily for the brachialis. With this movement, your arm should always stay with a neutral grip and going to failure allows your brachialis to get in as much work as possible, without really over stressing your body as a whole. As many reps as possible – 2 sets.
So there you have it. The two methods I use for my bicep routines, when I’m actually directly training them.
If you have any questions or comments about this post or about personal training in Hoboken, please email me at John@PersonalResultsTraining.com.