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The below “bulging biceps” workout, designed by Marine Tyler Valenzia delivers just that with 19 total sets, plus a few drop sets at the end for good measure… and bigger guns.
Featured trainer: Corporal Tyler Valenzia is a 6469 RTCASS Technician in the United States Marine Corps, stationed at MCAS Miramar San Diego. (RTCASS is short for Reconfigurable Transportable Consolidated Automated Support System.) Valenzia is also a fitness expert and a member of the Bravo Sierra team.
Workout overview: “This workout is a high-volume biceps workout,” says Valenzia. “It includes a variety of exercises that will target the entire biceps muscle with a combination of free weight and cable moves. As well as drop sets to really finish off the bicep. By the end of this workout, you should have one of the best biceps pumps you’ve ever had.”
If you were looking for unique arm exercises, moves you’ve never seen before, this isn’t that workout. Nothing novel here. Just tried-and-true curl movements at an ideal muscle-building rep count (12 per set).
“This is a bodybuilder-style of workout,” Valenzia says unapologetically. “The primary focus is to isolate the biceps to develop size and the peak of the biceps. This workout will be perfect for those who wish to achieve bigger biceps, or just want to switch things up. You can add this to any workout routine you have at the gym.
Rest no more than 30 seconds between sets, Valenzia says. On alternating dumbbell curls, go straight from one arm to the other without resting.
“The last few reps of each set, you should be struggling,” says Valenzia. “Adjust the weight as needed.” For example, if you reach 12 reps on a set and weren’t close to failure, add weight for your next set so that you’re challenged on those final reps
Use this technique on every rep during the workout to fully fatigue the biceps: “When curling the weight, hold the contraction at the top for 2 seconds, then bring the weight back down slowly and controlled,” says Valenzia. On alternating dumbbell curls, turn your palm outward at the top of each rep, and squeeze.
This exercise is exactly what it sounds like: a barbell curl while seated on a bench. Because you’re sitting, the range of motion (ROM) will be limited to more or less the top half of a normal rep. This will allow you to go heavier than normal, which will place added tension on the biceps at peak contraction. Lower the bar down until it lightly touches your thighs (don’t let it rest at the bottom), then curl it up.
The benefit of using a rope attachment versus a bar is that it allows you to more freely rotation your wrists/forearms to promote a stronger muscle contraction in the biceps. “At the bottom of the rep, your palms should be facing each other,” says Valenzia. “At the top of the curl, your palms should be facing up and outwards, if possible, like an alternating dumbbell curl.”
Start the set with a weight you can get for 12 reps to failure. When you hit failure, immediately drop the pin a couple of notches (approximately 20 pounds) and do a drop set of 6 or more reps to failure. Do this drop set protocol three more times for a total of four drop sets. That’s one set. Repeat for two more sets.
The high volume in this workout means you’ll need plenty of rest when it’s over. Give yourself a full week before training biceps again (but of course, go ahead and train other muscle groups in that time). Once you’ve conditioned yourself for the high volume, you can bump it up to training biceps twice a week.