Sporting a set of arms reminiscent of Arnold, Larry Scott or the late Sergio Oliva takes more than just barbell curls and tricep pressdowns. While people think they performed endless sets of barbell curls, they might be surprised at how much work these bodybuilding legends had to put into their forearms. The biggest misconception newbies have is the idea that the only thing that bends the arm is the bicep, which is only partially true. The elbow flexors include the bicep, brachioradialis, brachialis and pronator teres muscles.
Without reinventing the wheel, there is a whole lot you can do to help increase the size of your biceps and forearms, at the same time. Let’s stick with the basics. Putting a new twist on already-great exercises will get you the expected gains. Here are 6 easy ways of changing your workouts, without removing your favorite exercises.
This goes for almost every single exercise you can think of, but let’s stick with forearms and biceps here. I like to work with different angles to blast the biceps and one of my favorites is the mechanical advantage set. Here is an example:
A1 - Incline dumbbell supinated curls x10
A2 - Seated dumbbell hammer curls x 10 or max
A3 - Prone incline dumbbell pronated spider curls x 10 or max
The basic premise of this technique is that you can keep the same weight for all three by only changing the angle of attack. The key is to perform the toughest exercise at the beginning while you are fresh and end with the easiest when you are at your weakest and most fatigued state.
Angles are also good when doing forearms. If you do wrist flexion on an incline, the strength curve will be different than a flat surface. The incline surface will target the end of the flexion while the flat surface will target the mid range portion.
My favorite part of working elbow flexors is the thick grip training and attachment. Using thick grips increases overall strength and the much-coveted thickness of the forearm muscles. My three favorite tools for this are thick barbells/dumbbells, rogue fitness cannonball grip attachments and dog bone pull-up bar, and the Gripsfear. Every possible notion you had about your grip strength is thrown out the door when you use one of these. In a matter of weeks, you'll notice a tremendous increase in your grip and overall upper body strength.