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|Subject: The Biggest Bicep Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:37 pm|| |
The Biggest Bicep
… by Mike Wonnacott
Biceps are probably the most overstrained body part by men of all ages. The "big gun" attitude is something we have all faced at some point — myself included.
t's no secret women like men with muscular arms, but a great pair of fit arms crossed over a protruding gut is a complete turn-off.
Overall fitness and a well proportioned body is really what women will look for. And besides, these are the markers of good health!
With that said, let's talk how you can achieve those "big gun" arms — in combination with your overall fitness, of course!
Dissecting Your Bicep
Your bicep muscle is responsible for moving your hand towards your shoulder. The bicep muscle actually consists of 3 muscles:
* The "biceps brachii" is the main bicep muscle.
* The "brachialis" is the outside bicep muscle.
* The "brachioradialis" is the connector muscle between the main bicep and the forearm muscle.
To develop bicep muscles, you will need some form of resistance — whether it be barbells, dumbbells, bands, cables, machines, or what have you. I personally do all of them.
If you choose to work out at home, you might want to opt for bands. They don't take up much room and are easy to store. The bands vary in difficulty so you can progressively get stronger if you choose.
You can use any of these types of resistance equipment for my recommended bicep exercises, or you can use them interchangeably.
Mike's Recommended Bicep Blowouts
To really pump up those biceps, you need resistance exercises that will isolate the bicep muscles. Here are some of my favorites:
Sitting Dumbell Curls: 21s
Sitting dumbbell curls are my favorite, mostly because I like back support. I do 21s. This is a tri-set of 7 reps descending in weight. You do 7 reps with your heaviest weight, 7 with the next size down, and 7 more with the lightest weight for the last set.
No rest between sets! Have weights set up ahead of time so you can keep going.
Standing Barbell Curls
Standing barbell curls are probably the most standard form of bicep development. It's best to do them standing against a wall so you will have better form and better back support.
Most people don't do this — likely because they simply don't know any better.
Sit on the end of a flat bench. Spread your legs apart into a "V" and lean forward slightly.
Grasp the dumbbell in one hand with your palm facing upward. Rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh and let the dumbbell hang. Rest your other hand on the top of your other thigh for support.
Slowly curl the weight up while keeping the torso, upper arm, and elbow still. As you lift, twist your wrist so that your little finger turns towards your body. Squeeze the muscle at the top and then slowly lower the weight.
Cable Hammer Curls
Attach a rope attachment to a low pulley. Stand face forwards and about 12 inches away from the machine.
Grasp the rope with a palms-in grip and stand straight up. Put your elbows at your side and KEEP them there during the entire movement. Your elbows should not move.
Pull your arms up until your biceps touch your forearms, keeping your palms in a facing-in position. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Close Grip Barbell Curls
This is like the normal barbell bicep curl, but with a closer grip which works the outer part of the biceps more.
Grab a cambered barbell and hold it on the innermost ridges. Your two hands together should be in the shape of a big "V." While standing, hold the bar at arm's length in front of you.
Curl the bar up while keeping your elbows in the same place. Do not swing! Contract your biceps as far as you can go, then slowly return to the starting position.
Cable Preacher Curl
This is just like the normal preacher curl, which is done with a barbell. Place a preacher bench about 2 feet in front of a pulley machine.
Attach a straight bar to the low pulley. Sit at the preacher bench with your elbow and upper arms firmly on the bench pad. Do not let your elbows or upper arms move! Pull the weight up towards your shoulders and squeeze at the top. Do not rock your body — go slowly. Lower the weight to the starting position and repeat.
Mike's "Biggest Bicep" Training Tips
Many people simply don't realize the importance of good muscle balance. Experts agree that increasing your overall flexibility and strength can help avoid injuries.
Stretching and strengthening muscles on both sides, sometimes referred to as antagonistic or opposing muscle groups, is of utmost importance. Typically, muscles on the front of our bodies tend to be stronger simply because we use them more often. We lift objects with our biceps and climb stairs with our quadriceps.
Also, the dominant or preferred side (right or left) is often stronger in the front. Stronger muscles tend to gain even more strength, while the opposing, or opposite side muscles tend to lengthen. In time, a significant imbalance can be created.
An often overlooked injury prevention prescription is to strengthen the weaker muscles and work on improving flexibility on the stronger muscles.
For example, we all want that six-pack, so we do crunches, train on ab machines, etc. But back pain is one of the most common complaints. As we strengthen the abdominals, we forget to do the same for the opposing lower back muscles to balance our stronger abs.
Muscle balance is important for muscular and structural integrity. When a muscle is both strong and flexible, it is easier to maintain a neutral or stable position.