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Though the biceps are a two-headed muscle, most guys have a single-minded focus when it comes to training them: grow mutha*****, grow! With all the curling that goes on in most gyms, you’d think every gym rat would have prize-winning biceps. But in reality, there’s a scarcity in the bulge department (that’s what she said).
One, you can instantly make your arms look a size bigger by wearing a shirt that’s a size smaller. There’s nothing like a “schmedium” shirt to make your biceps look larger than life. It’s scientifically proven (research pending) and most importantly, it’s a lifestyle.
Two, get schooled in the art of bigger biceps by top natural bodybuilder Julian “The Quad Guy” Smith. Though Julian’s known for having quadriceps that look more like octaceps, he’s also got a beautiful set of twin peaks for biceps.
Here are Julian’s three best biceps building moves that you can start using today to bump up those bi’s:
1. Wide-grip barbell curl
Why use a wide-grip with your hands outside of shoulder-width? Because this puts a little more emphasis on the inside or short head of the biceps that’s closest to your chest. Developing this head adds thickness to your arms when viewed from the front.
Julian recommends 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps, though he even dips into the lower 4 to 6 rep range on occasion to really squeeze out every last bit of size and strength gains. In terms of performance pointers, he says “focus on minimal movement in the upper arm for maximum biceps activation.”
2. Single-arm concentration curl
With the exception of the Arnold press (a rotational shoulder press credited to the GOAT of modern bodybuilding), no other exercise was dearer to the heart of the Terminator. And Arnold’s biceps were second to none. Adding this move to your weekly training regimen is a sure-fire way to say hasta la vista to puny arms.
Julian stresses that the “concentration” component of the curl is to have your arm at a dead hang and move only at the elbow joint to complete the movement. In this way, no other muscles can help and the biceps are completely isolated. Plus, the unique body angle created by being bent over creates peak tension at the top of the move when the muscle is fully contracted. That’s how you start busting sleeves like a savage.
“Remember to keep that elbow pointed down and slightly in front of your shoulders,” says Smith. “Imagine that there is a preacher bench pad behind your triceps. This will supercharge the level of biceps stimulation.”
Julian recommends 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps per side, shooting for symmetry in strength and muscular development on each side. He also likes throwing in brief pauses on the contraction from time to time. “I like to squeeze my biceps as hard as possible on each rep.” It’s kind of like making biceps lemonade, high in muscle protein and low in sugar.
3. Bent-over barbell curl
Julian calls this drill “my favourite hybrid biceps exercise!” Essentially, it combines a traditional barbell curl with the aforementioned concentration curl. “This gives you the meat and potatoes of the classic biceps builder but in a more vulnerable position for maximum contraction,” says Smith.
Julian recommends 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps for beginners. Advanced trainees can use the pyramid method, where you start with a lighter weight for higher reps and bump the weight up and reps down from set to set.
And don’t forget to mind your form. “Since you are bent over, make sure to retract your shoulders blades and maintain a flat back position.”
Either hit all 3 of these moves in a single training session or work them into your weekly routine. Julian guarantees a steady diet of this trifecta will transform your biceps into baseballs.