How many of you flexed your bicep? Although the bicep itself cannot flex (your elbow is what’s flexing), this has become a universal sign for “I work out”…. and “Where’s the beach?”. This dynamic duo of a muscle is actually a member of a complete Swole Squad – Bicep Brachii (short and long head), bicep brachialis and the brachioradialis. Each contributing to the caliber of your guns.
A common mistake made in the gym is learning just enough to be counterproductive. Building muscle is more than isolating the sum of its parts. However, learning how a muscle works and how to make a specific movement stronger can greatly improve your physique. Train SMARTER to get SWOLER.
If you’re going to be curling in the squat rack you better be able to put up some serious weight. Take on the PYTHONS in today’s UltimateMASS session
Feel the power of Thor with the mighty hammer curl. These are a great way to develop your brachialis. This is a muscle that sits under your bicep and contributes to the overall thickness of your arm. Have you noticed you can go heavier with hammer curls than with regular DB curls? This is because you’re using not only the elbow flexor of the bicep but the brachioradialis at its strongest position. Because the muscular makeup of the brachialis contains more slow-twitch fibers, a slower contraction will illicit greater gains. Chad Demchik of TEAM USPlabs recommends a two second squeeze at the top of the movement.
This movement recruits the complete Swole Squad. As you curl the weight up in standard fashion, perform peak contraction at the top (for 2-3 seconds), then turn the hand over to lower as a forearm curl. If your elbows flare during the downward phase of this movement then this shows that your brachialis is weak in relation to your biceps brachii. If this is the case, lower your weight.
Arm day has found a new home within squat racks (sorry Planet Fitness members) across the globe. With a variety of training options (Wide grip for short head, close for long head, reverse for (brachioradialis, etc.), this movement may become one of the most efficient weapons in your bicep arsenal. John Davies, Founder of Renegade Training, says: “This is not explosive training and you need well-controlled concentric action, where the muscle is isolated for the most part and after contracting the bicep, eccentrically lower the weight properly three times slower than the concentric action (often referred to as 3:0:1).”
Close Grip Chin Ups – 2×15
Zottman Curl 4×12 (Squeeze hard at top)
Hammer Curl – Run the Rack (Pyramid) Start with the lightest dumbbell you can find and perform 6 reps. Without resting, progressively work your way up the rack. Once you reach a weight where you can only perform 1 rep, start scaling back down the rack performing as many reps as possible.
Barbell Curl– 2×10 (Wide Grip) 2×10 (Narrow Grip) – 3:0:1 Tempo
Try this UltimateMASS session the next time you train biceps. If you have any questions or comments feel free to let us know on any of our social channels.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Content contributors are not employees of USPlabs. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.
The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.