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What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

November 08, 2018

When it comes to measurements in bodybuilding the arm measurement has to be the most mind boggling, theres something about 21 inch arms that is just so impressive, especially when its quality muscle mass.

What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

Plenty of guys out there do showcase 21+ inch arms but very few of them actually carry around lean muscle mass, I mean if you’re 20%+ body fat those arms just don’t look as impressive lets face it.

Tips to help you build bigger biceps: 

1. Increase your weekly volume of training

When it comes to packing on muscle mass you need to be smart with your training, volume of training plays a key role in the success of your training regime.

Research has show that muscle protein synthesis is rebooted every 48 to 72 hours, this therefore means that you will need to work a muscle two to three times a week in order to achieve optimal muscle growth and maximize results.

Tip: If you are going to be hitting your arms two to three times a week you need to make sure your nutrition is rock solid, this means making sure you get your daily meals in no matter what, and you never miss that essential post workout shake.  If you screw up on post workout nutrition and nutrition in general you will hinder your recovery process and therefore your overall progress.

What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

2. Consume plenty of protein

Not gaining mass? Eat more. Still not gaining mass? EAT EVEN MORE. It really is that simple, in order to grow you need to ensure your body is getting enough, protein, carbs and nutrients. 

The American College of Sports Medicine advises anywhere between 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight each day.

Tip: To really pack on the muscle mass and ensure your body is getting enough of what it needs, you need to remember the essential amino acids (BCAA’s), amino acids make up the building blocks of protein and contribute to repairing muscle tissue after training.

Consuming a BCAA Drink INTRA/POST workout will really help to maximize your progress. 


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3. Stretch to grow

Now this might seem like a bit of an odd tip, but stretching and flexing your biceps and triceps is key to signalling muscle growth.

Increased biceps training, coupled with a lack of movement outside of the gym can ultimately lead to your bicep tendon becoming too tight and shortened.

To counteract this issue and prevent your bicep tendon from shortening, try standing side-on to a solid wall, about an arm’s width away, then with the nearest arm, place your palm flat on the wall while keeping the arm outstretched – you should feel a slight pinch. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Best exercises for building big biceps:


What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

1. Hammer Curls 

The number one position has to be hammer curls, they are a fantastic move to help pack on mass. Hammer curls not only work the biceps, they also work other muscles in the arm we think of as "the biceps", called the brachialis and brachioradialis. 

Where are the brachialis and brachioradialis?

The brachialis sits under your biceps and the brachioradialis is a long muscle that runs from deep inside the center of your upper arm to the center of your forearm.

Hitting these two muscle is a sure fire way to pack on mass and help to beef up your arms.


How to perform hammer curls:

  1. Stand up with your torso upright and a dumbbell on each hand being held at arms length. The elbows should be close to the torso.
  2. You should be using a neutral grip, meaning your palms are facing your body.
  3. Bend your arms slightly to take tension into the biceps.
  4. Keeping your body fixed and elbows in at your sides, slowly curl the dumbbells up as far as possible.
  5. Squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. (form is absolutely essential so don't go too heavy.)
  6. Repeat for desired reps.


What are the best exercises for building big biceps? 

2. Standing Barbell Curl

Standing barbell curls has to be one of the simplest bicep exercises out there, its one of the first moves newbies often learn in the gym, but just remember, just because its simple doesn't mean it isn't effective. It is a fantastic exercise that works on both the inner and outer biceps. (great for packing on mass), it is without a doubt one of the best exercises for building big biceps.


How to perform Standing Barbell Curls

  1. In a standing position, hold the barbell shoulder width apart with arms extended towards the floor. You should always start with lighter weights to get your form down, and to make sure you don't swing the weights (Bradly Castleberry is a great example of how NOT to perform Standing Barbell Curls).
  2. Lift the barbell and curl it towards your chest. Make sure that you keep your back straight and shoulders fixed. (as I said NO SWINGING)
  3. Slowly lower the barbell down, resisting the weight. This lowering is the most important motion as it works on the muscle fibers and develops them.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.


What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

3. Concentration curl

The concentration curl is a fantastic exercise for building the peak of your bicep to really make it pop out. The reason the concentration is so effective is because, it isolates the arm flexors and hits the lateral head of the biceps which in turn helps to really develop the bicep peak.

Tip: This move is more of a polishing move, focus on building the mass first.

How to perform Concentration curls

  1. Gripping a dumbell, sit down on bench and rest your right arm against your right leg, letting the weight hang down. Be sure to let your arm fully extend.
  2. Curl the weight up squeezing your bicep at the top of the movement, pause, then lower.
  3. Repeat with the other arm. It's that simple!

 What are the best exercises for building big biceps?

4. Preacher Curls

And last but most definetly not least is the preacher curl. One of the key benefits to preacher curls are the fact that the preacher bench forces you to perform a curl in the strictest manner, it is nearly impossible to cheat or swing the weight when performing this move.

The advantage to not being able to swing the weights is that it really helps to isolate the biceps. Your biceps will feel like their on fire after performing a solid set of preacher curls! The preacher curl is one of the best exercises for building big biceps.

Another key benefit to preacher curls are due to the fact that you inherently have to use slightly lighter weights than most curling exercises. You have the opportunity to work on form and function and developing a better mind to muscle connection.

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How to perform Preacher Curls

To perform this movement you will need a preacher bench and an E-Z bar. 

  1. Start by grabbing the E-Z curl bar at either the close (inner) or wide (outer) handle. Make sure the palms of your hands are facing forward.
  2. With the back of the upper arms (triceps) resting on the preacher bench pad and the chest against it, hold the E-Z Curl Bar at shoulder length. This will be your starting position.
  3. As you breathe in, slowly lower the bar until your upper arm is extended and the biceps is fully stretched. (Make sure your bicep is fully stretched -  no half curls!)
  4. Curl the weight back up to the start position, be sure to fully contract the biceps at the top of the movement.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

Tip: Another great way to really maximize this exercise is to incorporate drop sets. You'll want a training partner present for this to help change the weights over quickly. 


How to perform a drop set:

Begin with a moderate weight and perform around 12-15 reps, as soon as you have finished those reps drop the weight and perform another 12-15 reps with a lighter weight. You will feel a serious burn! Drop sets are fantastic for packing on mass and building big biceps.

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