How to Grow Your Biceps – Mind Pump

Check out the Mind Pump Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • The rules of bicep training:
    • When curling, don’t let your shoulders take over the movement
    • Your form is MUCH more important than the amount of weight you can curl
  • Chin-ups are a game-changing compound exercise for bicep growth and strength
  • Optimal bicep training frequency and parameters:
    • Low reps (less than six) don’t work well with bicep training (except for chin-ups)
    • For optimal development, aim to complete 9-18 bicep exercise sets per week
  • Other effective bicep exercises:

Products Mentioned

Intro                                                                      

  • Mind Pump consists of Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG: @mindpumpjustin)
    • The trio have 50 years of combined fitness experience as personal trainers

Why is the bicep flex the universal check-out-my-muscle pose?

  • It was the original bodybuilding pose
  • Historically, in strong-man competitions, there was a strength and flex portion of each contest – the bicep flex was the first pose
  • Muscular arms demonstrate superior strength

Anatomy

  • The main function of the bicep is to bend the elbow and rotate the hand
  • The bicep muscle has two attachments (but you can’t work the outer and inner bicep separately)
  • “Shape of the bicep is entirely determined by genetics”
    • This image shows it perfectly (the length of the muscle belly determines how your biceps look)
  • Carrying, holding, or pulling something with your arms are functional uses of the bicep
  • The brachialis muscle lies beneath the bicep and is worked every time you flex your arm, especially when you do a curl

Bicep Game-changers

  • There is more to training biceps than just flexing the elbow, positioning makes a big difference
  • When curling, don’t let your shoulders take over the movement
    • Keep your elbows in fixed position
    • Most people curl by swinging from the bottom and use the shoulder rock at the end to close the movement – this forces the shoulder to carry the load
    • Bicep tendon inflammation often results from doing curls that are too shoulder-dominant
  • Full range of motion is essential with all exercises but especially for the biceps
    • Avoid shortening up the range of your curl to lift more weight
      • Remember: Your form is more important than the amount of weight you can curl
  • Chin-ups are a game-changing compound exercise for bicep growth and strength

Best Bicep Rep Ranges

  • Low reps (less than six) don’t work well with bicep training, except for chin-ups (3-6 reps)
    • And remember: More reps isn’t better – “Just because you can do more doesn’t mean you should do more”
  • For optimal development, aim to complete 9-18 sets of bicep exercises per week
  • The ideal training frequency for biceps is 3 intense workouts a week
  • Think of your body’s ability to build muscle as a lock. Only the right key will open the lock.  That key is different person for every person.  Your key is unique to you.  Use the wrong key (i.e. train too hard or too easy) and you’re not going to unlock your body’s ability to develop muscle.”

Sal’s Bicep Workout – 3 sets for 10-12 reps each (1-2 reps short of failure)

  • Barbell curls – the “king” of bicep exercises
  • Barbell preacher curls – focus on full-extension, use less weight than with regular barbell curls
  • Drag curlsfocus on squeezing at the top of the movement without bringing your elbows forward
  • Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets

Adam’s Bicep Workout – 2-3 sets

  • Supinated pull-ups (3-5 reps)
  • Alternating dumbbell curls – seated or standing, for 10-12 reps (5 -6 per arm)
  • Cluster sets” (done with a variety of bicep exercise) Do 4 reps, rest for 10-15 seconds, and repeat until failure
    • Failure = when strict form is broken, NOT when exhaustion occurs

Justin’s Bicep Workout – 3 sets

  • Farmers carry with a heavy sandbag or kettlebells (walk ~40 yards)
  • Hammer curls – use lighter weights for 15 reps, keep your elbows in tight
  • Spider curls – lean over an incline bench

Trigger Sessions

  • These are a great way to add frequency and volume to your body without causing damage
  • Get resistance bands and do resistance curls – just enough to get a pump
    • Repeat 2-3 times/day on non-training days

Additional Notes

  • Biceps are especially important for wrestlers, grapplers, and football players
  • Over-developing the tricep (the opposing muscle) can result in a bicep tear
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