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Fine-Tune Your Biceps in Four Weeks

These new exercise techniques will change your approach to arm training, not to mention the size of your bi's.

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  • 4 weeks

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Bicep-Dumbell
HadelProductions / Getty
Bicep-Dumbell
HadelProductions / Getty

Of all the adjectives that describe your biceps, neglected probably isn’t one of them. Seriously, asking you to avoid training arms this week would be like asking the planet to stop spinning. As a group, bodybuilders typically give more attention to arms than any other body part, save for chest. But what should you do if your peaks don’t live up to your goals, or the pump isn’t going according to plan? Since dedication isn’t the issue, it’s time to look at the finer points of arm training, making subtle and effective changes to your arm workouts. With the four-week specialized workout routine outlined here, at least if the world stops turning your arms will keep growing.

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Over the next month, we’ll hit your biceps with the utmost intensity while also paying close attention to the small details within each workout. Each week focuses on a particular area or aspect of biceps training. You’ve likely been using some of these exercises from week to week for quite a while, so they may be very familiar. But some moves and training schemes might be totally foreign to you, which is another great reason to tackle these tips. In addition, each week’s workout can be used in consecutive weeks.

Finally, for all exercises, select a weight that allows you to fail within the designated rep range. We also provide an intensity menu, offering several techniques to take your training to the next level. Follow the instructions carefully, and use the intensity techniques on your last few sets where you see the * symbol.

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Intensity Techniques 

Use these intensity techniques whenever you see the * symbol. Choose one technique for a particular exercise and utilize it on only the last set of that move.

Partial Reps

Perform reps over a partial range of motion – at the top, middle or bottom – of a movement.

Forced Reps

Have a training partner assist you with reps at the end of a set so you can work past the point of momentary muscular failure. Your partner helps lift the weight with only the force necessary for you to keep moving and get past the sticking point.

Drop Sets

After completing your reps in a heavy set, quickly strip an equal amount of weight from each side of the bar, select lighter dumbbells or move the pin up on the stack. Continue repping until you fail, then strip off more weight to complete even more reps.

Rest-Pause

Take brief rest periods during a set to squeeze out more reps. Use a weight you can lift for 5-6 reps (5RM) but do only 2-3 reps, rest as long as 20 seconds, then try for another 2-3 reps. Rest again briefly, then try for as many reps as you can handle, and repeat once more.

Routine

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Week 1: Overall Mass Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 16

Seated Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
4
Reps
8-12*
Rest
60 sec
*Choose 1 intensity technique and use it only on the last set. Perform on a decline bench.
Exercise 2 of 16

Barbell Preacher Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
8-12
Rest
60 sec
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10-15*
Rest
60 sec
*Choose 1 intensity technique and use it only on the last set.
Exercise 4 of 16

Hammer Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-15
Rest
60 sec

Week 2: Long, Outer Head Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 5 of 16

Close-Grip Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Sets
5
Reps
6-15*
Rest
60 sec
*Choose 1 intensity technique and use it only on the last set.
Exercise 6 of 16

Incline Cable Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
8-10
Rest
60 sec
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12-15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 8 of 16

Reverse Barbell Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
10-15
Rest
60 sec

Week 3: Short, Inner Head Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 9 of 16

Kneeling Incline Cable Curl

Equipment
Sets
5
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 10 of 16

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12*
Rest
60 sec
*Choose 1 intensity technique and use it only on the last set. Perform standing.
Exercise 11 of 16

Wide-Grip Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 12 of 16

Cable Hammer Curl

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment
Sets
2
Reps
15*
Rest
60 sec
*Choose 1 intensity technique and use it only on the last set.

Week 4: Separation Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 13 of 16

Lying Cable Curl

Equipment
Sets
5
Reps
15-20
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 15 of 16

Zottman Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
15-20
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 16 of 16

4-Part Wall Curl

Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
100*
Rest
60 sec
*Have lighter weights close by to fulfill the 100-rep set if necessary.
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