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“I was constantly playing tricks on my mind. This is why I began to think of my biceps as mountains, instead of flesh and blood. Thinking of my biceps as mountains made my arms grow faster and bigger than if I’d seen them only as muscles.” –Arnold Schwarzenegger
Emulating Schwarzenegger’s mind, we are going to attack three unconventional movements that build perfect bicep peaks. These movements are intense, heavy and most likely unfamiliar, yielding the perfect storm to perpetuate the formation of perfect peaks.
When prescribing exercises, it is important to look at the function of the muscle: the biceps supinate (palms facing you in a chin-up) and flex the elbow (bend the elbow on the way up). The chin-up involves both muscle functions and allows you to go heavy because of the supporting muscles involved.
When performing a chin-up, the back will assist you but the biceps flex the elbow, providing a huge biceps overload at the top portion of the movement, like a heavy cheat curl. But chin-ups are safer, transfer to real life situations better and enable you to handle greater amounts of weight. The overload we are after primarily occurs at the top of the movement. Enter the Hercules chin-up.
The Hercules chin-up is a creation of the Jailhouse Strong system that uses partial movements to build sleeve-busting biceps.
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Cory Matthew Hitting Some Hercules Chin-ups
Full range of motion for full development is a good guideline but like most rules, there are some exceptions. In this case, the partials are used to overload specific ranges of motions for strength building, allowing the biceps to handle very heavy weight at peak contraction. Keep in mind you need to start from a full hang and end in the starting position. Barring injury, keep the supinated (underhand) grip for the greatest bicep overload.
Invented by bodybuilding pioneer and trainer, Vince Gironda, this may be the most effective biceps exercise ever invented. It provides a good stretch at the bottom of the movement but intense tension throughout the movement and even a good peak contraction at the top of the movement.
This is not a cheat curl; there should be no swinging of the torso. The concentric should take three seconds and the eccentric four. There should be a hold at the top position for one second.
It almost feels like doing a heavy overload barbell curl with an incline stretch curl.
Don’t let this oldie but goodie go the way of the leotard.
Study after study shows to maximally develop muscle, eccentrics are the call to arms (pun intended). Far too many people neglect heavy eccentrics when it comes to bicep training. We are going to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of perfect peaks. Enter the one-armed eccentric barbell curl.
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Branch Warren Performing One-Armed Eccentric Barbell Curls
With each of the movements listed, you will want to go as heavy as possible. The use of cheat curls from time to time with these movements is permissible but you should never sacrifice technique for additional weight on the bar. Try these movements as heavy as possible, with perfect technique and your bicep-building stalemate will enter a period of unparalleled growth.