Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you trained your biceps they just won’t grow. In this video, I’m going to show you the two biggest reasons why I believe your bicep size is not what you want it to be. Between the number of times that you are knowingly and unknowingly training them to the more important concept of hitting them with fewer exercises but more techniques.
First we should talk about the amount of times per week that you are training your biceps. Many people think that more is better however that is not the case, especially in the instance of such a small muscle group. The use of direct biceps training is effective in building bigger arms but you must still include all of the accessory work they get through exercises that bend the elbow (a key function of the biceps).
When you think about all of the back exercises that bend the elbow like barbell rows, pulldowns, pullups, chinups, one armed rows, etc you quickly realize how much extra work that arms are getting even on non bicep days. That doesn’t mean that the volume isn’t still accruing and becoming something that you must consider in your overall ability to recover.
If you are performing a push, pull, legs training split at the moment and performing each of these two times per week then any direct biceps training is going to also wind up adding significant volume to your biceps. The mistake is often to continue to add more and more when you are trying to force a change in muscle size. The right thing to do is to first step back and take away volume and frequency and monitor how your body responds.
Most often, as a natural lifter you will find that dropping this back is exactly what your body needs in order to be able to grow and resume your gains. That said, one of the other big keys to getting bigger biceps (or any other muscle for that matter) is progressive overload. Now this most often comes in the form of adding weight to the exercises that you are doing. Some will also attempt to simply add new exercises as a form of stimulus overload that keeps the gains coming.
In the case of the biceps however, the variety of bicep exercises is extremely limited due to the nature of the elbow joint. Given that this is a hinge joint that functions primarily to flex and extend the elbow, the different variations of bicep exercises often look the same; they are all some form of a curl. Whether it be preacher curls, concentration curls, barbell curls or seated incline dumbbell curls, they are all just bending the elbow.
This is why switching exercises is often not enough of a stimulus to promote new growth. It is here that the switching in of techniques is far more effective. I demonstrate three in particular for you in this video. I show you the In10sity technique for using heavier weights on your curls and getting more high intensity reps completed in a workout. The sliced reps technique for getting more time under tension and peak contraction. And finally, the arc variation technique that allows you to train to and through failure by manipulating the moment arm of the biceps as you fatigue.
All of these techniques and more are built into my Ultimate Arms program available at http://athleanx.com and are designed to help you build your biggest biceps possible in the shortest amount of time. By training like an athlete and taking your intensity to a whole new level, you will be amazed at the impact this has on your gains.
For more videos on how to get bigger arms and the best exercises for building big biceps, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at http://youtube.com/user/jdcav24
What’s up, guys?
Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.
So, you’re having trouble building your
You’ve come to me, and my video.
I think I can help you.
I’m not really sure, but I think I can help
Guys, I’ve got to be honest with you here.
That’s a joke because honestly, when I was
younger my biceps were my biggest trouble
I didn’t have big arms.
It was through my perseverance and wanting
to build bigger biceps that I made a whole
hell of a lot of mistakes, but I ultimately
wound up being able to build decent sized
arms because of that.
So, what I want to do is help you today.
I know why yours aren’t growing and I’m
going to help you fix that.
First, when we get into the different aspects
of training your biceps I like to think there
are mechanical things you’re doing wrong.
Literally, how you’re lifting the dumbbell,
and when you’re twisting, and if you’re
raising your arm up or not to get complete
I made a video on that, and I’m going to
link that right here to show you what it looks
I’m going to link it again at the end of
the video because I want you to see that.
I cover five mechanical flaws that you’re
You’re going to want to see that.
Today I’m going to tell you the two things
you’re probably doing wrong that are definitely
holding you back – beside your arms, again,
I know because I’ve witnessed this myself,
first hand – is your training frequency.
Secondly, your lack of variation of bicep
First of all, as far as training frequency
goes, you have to understand that the biceps
are pretty limited in terms of their function.
They supinate the forearm like this.
You can see the bicep will activate just by
Most importantly they flex the elbow.
That’s their biggest driver and function,
is to flex the elbow like this because of
their attachment from here, down.
They pull, they pull the elbow up.
They also have the ability to get a little
bit of shoulder flexion because of the longhead’s
attachment up in the top here of the glenohumeral
So, we can get a little bit of that, too.
Because of that, you have to realize that
any time you’re bending your elbow in any
exercise you do, on your pull day, any back
exercise, chin-ups, rows, inverted rows, one-armed
rows; anything you’re doing, you’re working
Your biceps are an incredibly small muscle,
believe it or not, only occupying a very small
portion of the anterior side of your arm.
Too much volume here, and too many times hitting
them in a week is going to be too much.
A lot of times, guys, if you’re training
a push-pull leg system, and you’re training
each function twice a week, if you throw any
direct bicep work in on top of that you’re
truly hitting your biceps three times in that
week and not giving them enough time to recuperate.
It’s not about protein synthesis every 48
It’s literally about giving that muscle
group a chance to recover and get back to
being able to be stimulated again in a meaningful
Not just to coast through another half-assed
workout, but in a meaningful way that leads
to progressive overload.
That is where we jump off into the second
When we’re talking about progressive overload,
again, go back to the function of the biceps.
Their limitation in what they do.
We’re talking about a hinge joint here.
If we were talking about the shoulders, that’s
a ball and socket joint.
Meaning, my exercise variety for shoulders
is a lot more than what we have for biceps.
In terms of the fact that they look completely
A press looks different than a side-lateral
raise, looks different from a front raise,
looks different from rear delt raises.
We have lots of different angles and planes
that we work in because of the variety of
the movement that the three-dimensional ball
and socket joint provides.
The hinge joint of the elbow dramatically
limits our options to a lot of different curls.
You’re curling with dumbbells, you’re
curling with a barbell, you’re curling with
a concentration curl, you’re curling with
a spider curl; you’re freaking curling no
matter what you’re doing, guys.
The thought that you could simply change bicep
exercises to create new overload, realizing
once again that they’re all basically formed
around the same movement here at the elbow
is not going to work.
Not mention the fact that most of our bicep
exercises are pretty limited, in terms of
the ability we have to continue to add weight
Ask yourself the last time you actually increased
the amount of weight you’ve used on dumbbell
If you have, how much have you really increased?
Progressive overload, and overload in, and
of itself is pretty difficult to achieve.
You need to do something dramatically different.
And that is, vary the way in which you’re
doing your curls.
So, let me show you a few different ways you
could do that.
The first thing I like to cover here is one
I called “Sliced Reps”.
I take a weight I can normally use for 15
reps and perform a curl all the way to the
When I come down I drop down 1/9 of the way.
You don’t have to get out your compass or
going out and figuring out what that is.
Literally, just drop it an estimated 1/9 of
the way, and come back up to the top, and
Then drop down a little more, then come back
to the top.
Then a little bit more and come back to the
So, through nine levels here it takes you
to get all the way to the bottom of the curl.
Then you come all the way back up to the top,
then you divide it, and slice it into 8 pieces.
Then you come back down, then you drop it,
and you now slice it into 7 pieces.
Ultimately, until you get down to your last
two where you’re going down halfway, then
come back up to the top, all the way down,
and your last rep is one, full rep.
Now, what is happening here?
We’re increasing our volume within a set.
We’re increasing the number of contractions
we get here.
We’re spending a lot more time in the contracted
position of the curl because we keep coming
back to it on every slice.
We’re increasing the time under tension
throughout the course of this set.
Again, although the range of motion is abbreviated
in a single rep, you’re still getting full
range of motion as you go from top to bottom
throughout the course of this dropping ladder
The fact is, this is a way to intensify the
That is going to be how you’ll increase
your muscle mass, by doing your biceps workouts
You’re adding a way to progressively overload
through some stimulus that you haven’t felt
before, as opposed to just saying “I’m
going to do a different form of a curl today.”
It’s not enough to just go exercise to exercise.
We don’t have to just use that technique
We have other things here, like our arc variation.
With an arc variation we know that the moment
arm can be changed.
If we stand here like I am, using a long movement,
we keep our forearms straight as long as possible,
and our elbows are just a little bit at the
front side of our ribcage, we know we have
a big, long arc.
A long moment arm for the biceps that make
that weight feel extremely heavy and put a
great challenge on the biceps.
But we don’t have to stop at that point.
As we get fatigued and tired we can bring
our elbows in to the sides now, instead of
in front of our ribcage.
Now, tucked in toward our sides and we continue
We’ve shortened that moment arm, effectively
lightening that weight in our hands to allow
us to keep going.
Then we can drop our arms back even more,
even into this drag curl variation that really
shortens the moment arm on the biceps.
Not only that, it changes the strength curve
of the exercise, so the hard part isn’t
in the middle of the exercise, but actually
here, at the peak contraction of the exercise.
So, we’re able to take failure and extend
it further, and further, and further, intensifying
Again, it’s all curls.
But we’ve intensified that, and that’s
going to lead to bigger biceps in the long
run because you’ve gotten too stale with
the fact that you haven’t utilized enough
of these techniques.
I’ll give you one more here.
It’s actually one we use called intensity.
The intensity style here is, you’re actually
trying to increase the amount of productive
reps you’re doing with a bit of a heavier
What we do is take an exercise and go to failure
in about five, to six rep range.
Then we rest pause for 10 seconds.
We don’t put the weight down.
We just rest pause.
You’ll see that, guess what?
After about 10, or 15 seconds you can crank
out another three reps.
That’s enough time to rest and get out another
Then you rest again 10 to 15 seconds, and
then you go for another three reps.
Then you’re maybe going for two reps.
Then ultimately, you’re going down in singles.
But if you do this for a five minute period
of time, when you accumulate the number of
high intensity reps that you did in this one
five minute set, and the number of reps you
did with this heavier weight; it’s going
to be more than you likely did when you broke
your sets up into the tradition three sets
of 12 style.
Again, using a heavier weight anyway to get
into this five to six rep range, and you’re
accumulating more of those heavy reps.
So, no matter what style you’re looking
for, heavier or lighter weights, 15 rep maxes,
or five to six rep maxes, the key is this:
it’s not the exercise variation, guys.
It’s the variation of the intensity techniques
you’re using on those exercises that will
matter the most.
As far as frequency goes, if anything, dial
it back and see how you do.
I promise you, you’ll probably see a better
result from doing that than you are adding
more, and more workouts.
Guys, I hope this was helpful to you.
If you’re looking for a program where we
put it all in one complete step by step system,
I actually created something called our Ultimate
That’s available over at ATHLEANX.
Guys, it’s not just arm training.
We train athletes here.
It’s a whole entire program, but it has
a specialization for arms that helps you overcome
all the mistakes I made.
Not just the ones I point out here.
Everything I think that will help you get
better arms in the long run.
Guys, that’s over at ATHLEANX.com.
In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up.
Let me know what you want me to cover and
I’ll do my best to do that for you in the
days and weeks ahead.