Having a strong set of biceps provides great shape to your arms, and also helps you perform many daily tasks like carrying all your groceries in one trip. If you feel like your biceps are a lagging body part, or you simply want to focus on this muscle group to maximize its growth potential, there are a few key secrets which can help you.
Bicep training is as much about training wisely as it is training hard, so don’t think it’s enough to just hit the gym and blast your ‘guns’ with as many sets of curls as possible. There needs to be a strategy in place so that you can optimize each and every rep you perform.
Here to share some of their top secrets for building sleeve-busting biceps are the KAGED crew. Keep these tips in mind as you go about your next workout, and soon you’ll have difficulty fitting in your shirts.
Choosing the right exercises will help you build the foundation of your program and get off to the right start. If you aren’t doing exercises with the highest payoff, no matter how hard you work, you likely won’t see the growth that you’re after.
“Preacher curls allow me to stabilize the arms, preventing any activation from the front delts or assistance from the lower back,” explains Kris Gethin, CEO of KAGED.
When training biceps, it’s critically important that you can zero in on the bicep. Any time momentum is used, you’ve lost the mind-muscle connection. This also likely means the front delts are driving the movement more than you realize.
Lying Cable Curls
Finally, to finish up his bicep workouts, Gethin enjoys adding lying cable curls to the mix. “When lying on the floor, I have to use a lighter weight because I’m isolating the biceps without engaging my core,” he explains. “This position also eliminates the natural swing from both the lower and upper back, so this is a perfect move to really get the biceps feeling it.”
Strictly isolating the biceps, especially at the end of the workout, will flood the muscle with blood and have you feeling the burn.
Alternate Dumbbell Curls
When asked another of his favorite exercises, Gethin states alternate dumbbell curls make a regular appearance. “By having a free range of motion, I am able to target the biceps while removing any unwanted stress from the wrists and elbows.”
Keep in mind that in addition to feeling the muscle, you also want to do your part to prevent injury as well.
Perfecting Your Rep and Set Ranges
Once your exercise selection is in place, the next step is to perfect your rep and set ranges. This will directly influence how much weight you’re lifting, thus the nature of the progress you see.
For maximum bicep growth and strength gains, IFBB Men’s Physique Pro and KM athlete Daushon McGregor recommends working through two primary rep and set ranges: 4 sets of 10-15 reps and 3 or 4 sets of four to eight reps. “Switching between the set and rep ranges can help overcome plateaus,” he explains. Your biceps can quickly adapt to any stressor you place on them, so by switching it up regularly, you can help avoid this.
“Additionally, I like getting both set ranges in there because it can help to improve strength levels, maximize muscle growth, and it shocks the system so that the body doesn’t adapt to the same old routine.”
You may be tempted to always perform your bicep work using a higher rep range because it’s thought to best stimulate hypertrophy. However, keep in mind that building strength is also a key element in building muscle size.
Strength can be gained through using heavier weight in the lower rep range, which will help you progress to using heavier weight in the higher rep range as well. This is what will keep those muscle gains coming.
Integrating Arms into Your Workout Routine
How you choose to add your arm exercises to your workout routine also matters. The integration of arm work will largely depend on your overall physique goals, your rate of recovery, and your time availability to hit the gym.
Some trainees may not be able to frequent the gym 5-6 times per week or have the recovery capacity to do so. In these cases, arm training will likely be tacked onto another muscle group.
For KM athlete Marzena Tkcazyk, this is her preference. “I don’t often dedicate a day specifically to training arms,” she says. “My biceps and triceps are usually incorporated at the end of a workout in which they have already been pre-fatigued with, such as biceps after training back.”
Since your biceps assist on pulling movements, and your triceps come into play on push movements, by fatiguing them first with compound exercises, you’ll have to do less work at the end to maximize the fatigue you feel on the individual arm muscles. Furthermore, this also allows you to train your major body parts at a higher frequency during the week since you don’t have that single day devoted to arms.
For athletes who are happy with the rest of their body and just want to bring up the lagging bicep muscle, a full day dedicated towards arms may just be what you need.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to add your bicep training to your workout routine, but rather, you need to take into account your own unique situation.
Optimizing Your Performance
Finally, when it comes to actually executing those workouts, remember that how you lift counts. “For me to ever achieve that desired pump – the one that makes you feel as if your arms are burning, it’s important to mix and match exercises,” says Tkaczyk. “Even more important though is to extend your normal sets until your muscles feel as if they’re on fire – if it doesn’t hurt, you aren’t doing it right.”
She notes that it’s critical to remember you aren’t a powerlifter here. You aren’t trying to break a record and the goal is to accumulate as much fatigue by pumping your arms full of blood. “Slow, controlled reps with a smooth transition from lowering to lifting and back to lowering is what you want to focus on.”
So keep these four tips in mind next time you’re hitting the gym for a bicep workout. Train wisely and you’ll start seeing solid results. To get started, feel free to use the workout provided below.
Back & Arm Day Workout
Bentover Barbell Rows
Horizontal Cable Rows
Close Grip Lat Pull-Downs
Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Lying Cable Curls
Equipping Your Biceps with Growth-Inducing Supplements
Now that you have a great workout in place, it’s time to match that workout with the right supplements. By using the right products, you can promote even better growth and faster recovery between sessions. Here are some products that will maximize your effort in the gym:
Designed to ensure optimal hydration, this product will help fill your muscles with sufficient water, which is needed for maximum performance and muscle pump.
Get that pre-workout edge with PRE-KAGED. This product will help you drive more blood into the working muscle, push harder for longer, and stay focused on the workout on hand.
When you use this product, you’ll have the support you need to encourage out-of-this-world pumps thanks to the vasodilation effects that it has.
Push harder for longer by saturating your muscles with creatine, needed to form the high energy compound ATP, which help to fuel each and every muscle contraction.