Arm Exercises

Big, Burly, Badass Biceps

Fire up your guns with these arm blasting bi-laws.


If your biceps are not quite where you want them to be despite your most ferocious efforts in the gym, read on, and maybe you will run across a bi-law that will help get the job done for you.

Bend ’Em Back

Trainees often tell me that when they work their biceps, their forearms get the more intense pump. That’s not a good thing if you’re looking for bigger guns. If that sounds like you, then what you should actually be doing during most curling movements is bending your wrists back and holding that position throughout the set. That effectively takes the forearm flexors out of the movement, forcing the biceps to do almost all of the work.

Yes, it will feel a little odd at first—and chances are your curling poundage will drop somewhat—but trust me when I tell you that you will actually hit your biceps harder than ever before. Try using this method on at least one exercise in each biceps workout (I suggest a barbell movement), and I bet you’ll see improvements.


Keep Your Chin-Up

When I talk about your “chin,” I’m not referring to the one on your face, but the kind you should be doing in the gym if you want to pummel those biceps into growth. Close-grip, underhand chins are one of the most effective biceps exercises you can do; yet few trainees ever use them. To get the most out of your close-grip chins, make sure you use perfect form. I recommend spacing your hands no wider than six inches apart.

Begin the movement at a dead hang, with your arms completely straight. At the peak of the concentric portion of the rep your chin should rise just above the bar (no half-reps please) as you squeeze your bi’s hard. Try to lower yourself very slowly, taking up to four to six seconds to get to the bottom position. When you can get 10 to 12 reps with your bodyweight, add some extra resistance with a belt designed to hold plates and/or a dumbbell around your waist. Once you’re doing clean reps with 50 extra pounds attached to you, your biceps will have all the mass you could ever want.

Twice Is Nice

It’s very much in vogue these days to train each body part only once per week, and with good reason: It works. When you’re looking for some extra growth in a particular muscle, however, it can be very effective to hit that muscle twice per week for a time. The keys to an effective two-days-per-week biceps-prioritization program are: 1) Make sure there are at least three days between workouts, and 2) do two different types of workouts each week. Here’s a split that you can use while doing two biceps workouts per week:

Monday: Chest and biceps
Tuesday: Quads and hams
Thursday: Lats and traps
Friday: Shoulders, biceps and triceps

With a program like this, I suggest you make Monday your main biceps day, using about a third more volume—that is, sets—than you use on Friday. It can also be very effective to use heavier weights and lower reps in one workout and lighter weights and higher reps in the next. Another way I like to vary the two biceps workouts is to use all barbell movements the first day and all dumbbell movements the next. That’s something you can experiment with, as long as there are some meaningful variations between the two workouts.