According to the statistics, the sales of muscle magazines increase when there’s a flexed arm on the cover. This is not a coincidence. Exploitation of the natural human perception of aesthetics has convinced the population that the biceps are the universal symbol of strength. This is why the lifting literature contains 1000s of arm routines. However, most of them are filled with corrupt notions that lead naturals into a labyrinth. On this occasion, I present you a few tips designed to improve your biceps workouts.
Stop Doing Stupid Exercises
The biceps represent a small muscle group. There is no need to do more exercises for your arms than you do for your back. Try different movements but stick with a few. Anything over 3 seems excessive and makes tracking progress harder. The more variables there are, the harder it is to measure their effectiveness.
The Straight Barbell Can Hurt You
The straight barbell curl is a very good exercise, but it can cause joint pain. The wrist is the most likely point to complain. If your wrists hurt, try a wider grip (better joint alignment) or switch to the EZ bar and/or dumbbells.
Remove The Scott Bench (Preacher) Curl
Curls on the so-called “Scott bench” suck for the most part. They place too much stress on the biceps tendons.
Many people do Scott curls in the hope to fill the lower portions of the biceps, but that’s a waste of time. The bodybuilders with the fullest biceps have genetically short tendons and long muscle bellies. Larry Scott himself is a good example. He had short tendons and long muscle bellies.
Conversely, if you have long tendons and short muscle bellies, there’s nothing you can do to fill out your “lower” biceps. Tendons don’t grow, dummy!
Note: Some arm wrestlers find the Scott curl beneficial for the sport. In this article, I am focusing on hypertrophy training, not preparation for an arm wrestling contest.
Remove Chin-ups Too
Chin-ups are a great exercise, but the majority of the population will experience wrist pain from them. The straight bar twists the wrists in a very unnatural position. Unless you have flexible and resilient connective tissues it will hurt.
This is where neutral grip pull-ups and ring pull-ups come to save the day. Out of the two, the ring pull-up is better. It starts as a pull-up and ends as a chin-up. The movement is kinder to the elbow than the straight bar versions.
So, which are the best biceps exercises?
In my opinion, the most joint friendly biceps movements are standing dumbbell curls and ring pull-ups. Those two prevent unnecessary stress on the joints and work the biceps muscle completely. However, everybody is free to experiment.
More tips on biceps training:
– Don’t train your biceps before big compound exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, squats, power cleans…etc. You risk injuries if you attempt big exercises with fatigued arm flexors.
– Don’t do more than 3 movements for your biceps. If you want to add more volume, you can just do more sets of the same exercises.
– Squats don’t build big biceps. Curls and pull-ups do.
– Deadlifts don’t build big biceps. Curls and pull-ups do.
– The biceps are small and can be easily overtrained. The tendons are susceptible to injuries when the leverage is poor.
– Don’t obsess over arms.