Workout Routines

Upgrade Your Biceps Workout for Bigger Arms

Torch your guns from armpits to wrists with this shirt-stretching biceps and forearms routine.

ez bar curl
Duration 25 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

There are only so many variations of biceps curls, but we prefer to discover and milk every last one of them. In our November 2012 issue, we gave you a biceps workout that touched on all the basics: standing curls, incline curls, lying curls, and reverse curls to stimulate the forearms. More than four years later, that concept remains largely intact, only with a few minor (yet noticeable) tweaks.

This time there will be no lying around. Three of the exercises are standing, and the one seated move will likely be the most painful: dumbbell preachers, with which you’ll go back and forth with little, if any, rest throughout. The other key difference in this workout is a greater focus on the forearms, with two nonsupinated curling exercises (hammers and cable reverse curls). The one area these two workouts share in common: Both will produce a better set of pipes.

Do the Level Up workout first, then revisit the Straight Up one three to seven days later. Indeed, milk it for all it’s worth. This cow won’t run dry.

STANDING EZ-BAR CURL

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE:

There’s not a ton of variance between straight bar and EZ-bar curls. Those who prefer EZ-bar typically cite a more comfortable hand position (palms turned slightly in) that reduces stress on the wrists.

DUMBBELL PREACHER CURL

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE:

From the previous workout, preacher curls essentially replace incline dumbbell curls, but the emphasis is different between the two moves. (Preachers stimulate the biceps short head slightly more, and incline curls work the long head.) The concept of isolation remains the same, though.

CABLE REVERSE CURL

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE:

The forearms take the brunt of the load, and switching from free weights to cables provides constant tension, which will increase thickness.


Back to Level Up 2017>>

Straight Up Bicep Routine

Exercise 1

Standing Barbell Curl
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
15, 12, 10, 6 reps
-- rest
On your last set, do 1-2 rest-pauses after initially reaching six reps.

Exercise 2

Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Lying Straight-bar Cable Curl
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
12 reps
-- rest
On your last set, do 1-2 dropsets after initially reaching 12 reps.

Exercise 4

Reverse EZ-Bar Curl You'll need: EZ-Bar How to
Reverse EZ-Bar Curl thumbnail
4 sets
8-10 reps
-- rest

Level Up Bicep Routine

Exercise 1

Standing Biceps Curl You'll need: EZ-Bar How to
Standing EZ-Bar Biceps Curl thumbnail
4 sets
12, 10, 8, 8 reps
-- rest
Increase weight on every set; If you fail before reaching the listed rep count, rest-pause until you get there.

Exercise 2

Dumbbell Preacher Curl
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
8-12 reps
-- rest
Alternate between arms without breaking, hitting failure each time somewhere in the rep window.

Exercise 3

Hammer Curl
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest
Perform two dropsets after initially reaching failure at 10 reps.

Exercise 4

Reverse Cable Curl
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
15 reps
-- rest
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