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Upgrade Your Biceps Workout for Bigger Arms

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

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  • 25 min

  • 4

  • Yes

ez bar curl
ez bar curl

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.

level up biceps

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.

level up biceps2

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.

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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.

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Routine

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Straight Up Bicep Routine

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 4

Standing Barbell Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
15, 12, 10, 6
Rest
--
How to
On your last set, do 1-2 rest-pauses after initially reaching six reps.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 3 of 4

Lying Straight-bar Cable Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
On your last set, do 1-2 dropsets after initially reaching 12 reps.
Exercise 4 of 4

Reverse EZ-Bar Curl

Equipment
EZ-Bar
Sets
4
Reps
8-10
Rest
--

Level Up Bicep Routine

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
EZ-Bar
Sets
4
Reps
12, 10, 8, 8
Rest
--
Increase weight on every set; If you fail before reaching the listed rep count, rest-pause until you get there.
Exercise 6 of 4

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
8-12
Rest
--
Alternate between arms without breaking, hitting failure each time somewhere in the rep window.
Exercise 7 of 4

Hammer Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Perform two dropsets after initially reaching failure at 10 reps.
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