These bicep workouts will help you develop stronger, bigger arms – As a rough rule, arms are split in 2/3 triceps and 1/3 biceps. Both need to be trained to achieve balanced and strong arms that are effective for performance. Check these 10 exercises out and add them into your tricep and bicep workouts.
Using the word ‘Biceps’ refers to the muscle group more accurately termed the “forearm flexors”. This is made up of include the biceps, the brachialis, and several other muscles and supporting muscles.
If you generally don’t train biceps directly, yet still make gains in size and strength then no direct biceps work is really needed to keep your gains, so long as you’re doing plenty of pulling work (such as rows and deadlifts).
If you are accustomed to focusing on your biceps directly then 4-6 direct sets per week is a good number to keep in mind when you want to maintain your gains.
If you are an intermediate-advanced lifter then you will probably need at least 8 sets of direct biceps work per week to make gains. Experiment with this number is your program contains a higher focus on pulling work for the back (for strength, technique or speed) as you may be able to gain mass with lower numbers of sets per week.
The vast majority of people respond best between 14 and 20 weekly sets. Biceps play a role in shoulder flexion (they can get a great pump from from chest flys for example), and can be taxed significantly through close grip pulling during back training, but if you want to target your biceps precisely, add in a variety of curls.
LEGLESS ROPE CLIMB
The legless rope climb builds much more than just arm strength. This movement builds solid upper body, core and grip strength as well as improves balance and coordination.
Another useful benefit is that they will improve your self confidence in your own ability, because you are climbing higher and higher, and this puts pressure on you and your body to perform. If you fail a bicep curl then the weight doesn’t reach the full range of motion – not a big deal. If you fail a legless rope climb then the consequences can be a bit more painful. This is a good thing, as it will force you to perform when the pressure is on.
Here is CrossFit legend Mat Chan to demonstrate for you.
- For Time
- 27 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
- 4 Legless Rope Climbs (15 ft)
- 21 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
- 3 Legless Rope Climbs (15 ft)
- 15 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
- 2 Legless Rope Climbs (15 ft)
- 9 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
- 1 Legless Rope Climb (15 ft)
The chin up is a great way to build arm and upper body strength. It will strengthen your lats, back and shoulders. You can adapt your form in order to target and strengthen specific parts of your body.
Tip: Keeping the torso as straight as possible maximises biceps stimulation while minimizing back involvement.
Technique tip: Tense your glutes and grip the bar as tightly as you can when performing the exercise.
If you are struggling with chin ups or pull ups, then this article will be helpful:
21-15-9 reps of 95-pound barbell thrusters and pull-ups, all done for time.
Do strict chin ups instead of kipping pull ups.
SUPINATED BARBELL ROW
This is also known as a Yates Row or Reverse Grip Bent Over Row. This is a great way to add a twist to a traditional and highly effective exercise.
Stand erect while holding a barbell with a supinated grip (palms facing up). Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up.
OVERHEAD CABLE CURL
Two arm overhead cable curls are an excellent isolation exercise for adding definition to your biceps. Cables have the advantage of providing constant tension during the movement and they provide resistance to help build strength in the upper arms. This exercise targets the biceps brachii (2 heads of the biceps), brachialis (middle of the arm in between the biceps and triceps) and the brachioradialis muscles (forearms).
This is a great exercise to get a full stretch in the biceps on the “negative” which is the eccentric portion of the movement when the muscle elongates or lengthens.
- Fix up one cable station on either side of your shoulders, at a height slightly higher than your shoulders.Attach a stirrup type handle to each pulley.
- Select a weight that is comfortable to you, and make sure you attach the same weight on both sides of the machine.
- With your feet at a distance of shoulder’s width apart, stand between the two machines.
- Stretch your arms to their respective sides and gab the handles with an underhand grip of your hands.
- Keep your arms and shoulders in a straight line.
- Curl your arms towards your shoulders by flexing your biceps. Exhale as you do so.
- Curl until your forearms touch your biceps. Hold there for a count of one.
INCLINE BICEPS CURL
Concentration curls prevent you from cheating and force you to perform each rep with perfect form. Although that maximizes the focus on the biceps — especially the long head — it can limit the amount of weight you can curl. So leave concentration curls for later in the workout — after you’ve gone hard and heavy with barbell and other dumbbell curls.
Take a lighter weight as you would use for standing curls. Sit back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms length. Keep your elbows close to your torso and rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. This will be your starting position.While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a second.
Biceps workouts – Hinge forward and position your elbow near the base of your knee.
Place your free hand on the other knee to stabilize yourself.Using a supinated (palms facing up) grip, take a deep breath and curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder.
Once the bicep is fully shortened, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
TRICEP AND BICEP WORKOUTS – CLOSE GRIP BARBELL BENCH PRESS
Bring the barbell to your lower-pec/upper-ab region while keeping your elbows in tight to the torso. Hit the close-grip bench press early in your triceps routine when your muscles are freshest. Doing so will allow your triceps to endure as much stress as possible, safely. If you don’t have a spotter, try this in a Smith machine or power rack.
TRICEP AND BICEP WORKOUTS – SKULLCRUSHER
Using a close grip, lift the EZ bar and hold it with your elbows in as you lie on the bench. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor.Don´t hold your hands too close,this will only affect your wrists. If your spread thumbs touch it will be your starting position. Keeping the upper arms stationary, lower the bar by allowing the elbows to flex. Pause once the bar is directly above the forehead.Lift the bar back to the starting position by extending the elbow.
- Tricep and Bicep Workouts – Grab the bars and jump up. Balance yourself with locked elbows.
- Lower your body by bending your arms. Lean your torso slightly forward.
- Go down until your shoulders are below your elbows at the bottom.
- Lift your body back up to the starting position by straightening your arms.
- Balance yourself with your shoulders over your hands. Lock your elbows.
TRICEP AND BICEP WORKOUTS – KICK BACK
This is a great exercise to add into your tricep and bicep workouts.
Start with your palms facing your torso. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor. Your upper arms should be close to your torso and parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be pointed towards the floor as you hold the weights.
There should be a 90-degree angle formed between your forearm and upper arm. This is your starting position.Now, while keeping your upper arms stationary use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended. Focus on moving the forearm and let the elbow tight to your Body.
- Bicep-workouts: Photos courtesy of CrossFit Inc