Now that tank top season is here, it is time to show the world those bulging biceps you worked so hard to get during the cold winter months. But have you noticed your bicep development slowing down a bit or are you getting bored with the same old hammer and concentration curls? Well, here are four great moves that you can use in your next bicep workout to get the definition and strength you want. (photo credit: here)
1. Cable Curls: Most people curl starting from an arms-down position. Cable curls have you flexing those biceps with your arms raised. Stand in the middle of a cable machine and attach a D-handle to both sides of it. Raise (or lower) the handles so that they are slightly above shoulder height and hold on to them. Your arms should be fully extended so you are making a T. While keeping your elbows where they are, draw the handles in towards your ears. Make sure not to shrug your shoulders and always keep your elbows at shoulder height. They should not go down, up, forward or back. After you curl them in, return your arms to the T position and finish your set. (photo credit: here)
2. Rope Cable Curls: Staying with the cable machine, put the rope attachment onto one side of the machine and place it at the lowest possible setting. Grab on to the ends of the rope and stand straight up. Now perform a curl, but as your hands are coming up, turn them outward to the side and really squeeze your bicep. Then lower your arms back down to start and complete a full set. Use slow and controlled movements throughout the exercise. (photo credit: here)
3. Preacher Curls: Despite its odd name, preacher curls are definitely a must for bicep building. Sit at a preacher curl bench with a bar set up with some weights. Grab the bar, sit down and place the back of your arms and your elbows against the front part of the bench. Curl the bar up in a nice and controlled movement and then lower back all the way down without resting the bar. If you do not have a preacher bench or one is not available, you can perform this exercise using a weight and an incline bench. Stand behind the bench with a weight in one hand and place your upper arm and elbow against the bench. Perform a curl and then lower down without resting on the bench. Switch arms when you finish your set. (photo credit: here)
4. Barbell Drag: Find a barbell (or you can use two dumbbells) and hold it with an underhand grip in front of your body. Rather than curling it up as you would normally do, pull your elbows back which will bring your hands and the weight up. This is similar to a row, but because you are standing straight up instead of bent over, the exercise will target the biceps and not your upper back. Be careful that you don’t shrug your shoulders during this exercise. They should always be down and away from your ears.(photo credit: here)
TIP: Like any muscle, you need to switch up your routine in order to see continued growth and strength. Biceps are often a strong muscle to begin with because they get used for many everyday activities even though we don’t realize it. So do not be afraid to go heavy with the weights. Even if you can only do six reps, that’s a great place to start. When you begin lifting with a heavier weight, your reps are going to be on the low side. Eventually your strength will increase and you will be doing more reps. Once you can do ten or twelve reps with minimal difficulty it’s time to increase the weight.
TIP: If you’re looking for an added challenge, you can do these exercises circuit-style by doing one set of each exercise without rest. After you complete one round, take a break for sixty to ninety seconds and then repeat the circuit at least two more times. Your biceps will be fried in less time than usual.
TIP: As with all weight lifting, you want to perform every rep with control and focus on building strength, not speed.