Workout Routines

The Classic Straight Up Biceps Workout

Curl movements, appreciable weight, high volume, high intensity, bigger biceps! Any questions?

Straight Up Biceps Workout
Duration 30 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

No gimmicks, no novel exercises, no reinventing the wheel. Just lots of curls and a bigger pair of arms for your efforts. That’s the basic premise behind the following biceps routine designed by M&F contributor Jim Ryno, a personal trainer and owner of luxury home gym design firm Iron House in Alpine, NJ ( Weights are kept relatively heavy with the exception of a 20-rep dropset finisher on the last exercise (steep-angle preachers).

“There’s no magic number of reps when it comes to building massive biceps,” says Ryno, who recommends doing this routine either with triceps or on its own.“The key is to include a variety of rep schemes—low reps, medium reps,high reps—into your overall program. This routine forces you to use all of these rep ranges. Be mindful to select the proper poundage foreach exercise. Going too heavy only leads to bad form, not fully stimulating the muscles and overstressing the elbows. You need to focus on the biceps working.Train the muscle, not the movement.”

Barbell Curl

Slight “cheating” can be utilized on the last repor two, but otherwise keep your form strict with no leaning back. As for grip width, go with whatever’s most comfortable and natural so that you can focus solely on the biceps.

Hammer Curl

“Execute them as a power movement for the arms, using heavy weight for lower reps,” says Ryno. Still, keep your form tight. It’s OK if your elbows move slightly forward, but don’t let them flare out.

Weighted Chinup

Increase the amount of weight slightly on each set so that the decreasing repcounts are difficult. Feel free to do the first set or two with body weight only if 10 reps or so is your max on body-weight chinups. Absolutely no kipping on these.The goal is to build muscle, not burn calories.

Steep-Angle Preacher Curl

A standard preacher curl bench fixes your upper arms at around 45 degrees. With steep-angle curls, you’re aiming for the upper arms to be vertical or close to it. This can be achieved by using the backside of the bench or by sitting up tall (not back) with your shoulders well above the pads, as shown in the top photo.

The Workout

Exercise 1

Weighted Chinup You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Weighted Chinup thumbnail
4 sets
10,8,6,4 reps
60-90 sec rest

Exercise 2

Barbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Barbell How to
bicep curl thumbnail
4 sets
12,10,8,8 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 3

Hammer Curl
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
8,8,6,6 reps
60-90 sec rest

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Preacher Curl You'll need: Dumbbells, Preacher Bench How to
Dumbbell preacher curl for biceps thumbnail
2 sets
6, 20 reps
90 sec rest
*6/20 dropset method: Select a relatively heavy weight, one that limits you to 6 reps. Do 6 reps, then immediately cut the weight in half and do 20 reps with the lighter resistance. That’s one complete set.