ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Essential Biceps Muscle-Building Routines

Updated on September 21, 2012
Strong arm flexors are essential many activities
Strong arm flexors are essential many activities | Source

Why you should be working your arms.

Building big arms is a functional and aesthetically rewarding endeavor. Often called the vanity muscles, the biceps and triceps and forearms assist in many movements, through conscious and unconscious activation.

Consider how hard it would be to pick up your groceries, load the laundry or carry any type of weight in your arms without the assistance of biceps and forearm flexors; or the difficulty you would have getting off the floor, out of bed or pushing a door open without the triceps.

Everyday activities will certainly be hampered by weak arms, but they are vital when working out. The arms assist in almost every movement from push-ups and bench press to bent-over rows and pull-ups.

So how does a person build strong, muscular and functional arms? The answer is a combination of compound movements and isolation movements geared towards these smaller muscle groups.

Extreme volume is not necessary, especially if your training program emphasizes compound movements like the clean, bench press, deadlift and bent-over row, but it should be intense.

Mix an intense high rep routine with a heavy routine twice a week (depending on the training schedule) and always start with a compound exercise. High reps should be 12-20 maximum, and difficult to finish. Heavy sets should be from 5-8 reps, with the last couple a struggle.


Straight barbell curls are a staple biceps builder.
Straight barbell curls are a staple biceps builder.
Hammer dumbbell curls emphasize the brachialis.
Hammer dumbbell curls emphasize the brachialis.

Here is an example of a big biceps workout utilizing this concept:

High Rep day:

General warm-up (e.g. 10 minutes cardio.)

1-2 warm up sets of first exercise, not to failure.

Then:

Underhand Pull-ups/Assisted Pull-ups: 2-4 x 12 +

One of the following:

Standing Barbell Curls

or

Cable Curls/Suspension trainer curls:

2-4 x 12+

One of the following:'

Reverse Barbell Curls or

Dumbbell Hammer Curls:

2-4 x 12+

Finish with joint rotations and stretching for the arm muscles.

For the Heavy Day, try the following:

*(you can choose the same routine above and increase the resistance until only 5-8 reps are possible with each exercise.)*

General warm up and specific warm-up as above, then:

Bent-Over Rows: 2-3 x 5-8

Standing Barbell Curls: 2-3 x wider than shoulders grip + 2-3 x closer than shoulder width grip.

Reverse Barbell Curls: 2-4 x 5-8

Finish with joint rotations for the arms and stretching for the arm muscles.

For maximum benefit, perform the high rep routine after heavy chest and back days; and do the heavy day when the arms muscles are well recovered. Dumbbell hammer curls can be substituted for reverse barbell curls, but only if the palm is pronated (towards the floor.) Choose your own exercises when these get tiresome, but always include a compound exercise to get every muscle in the arm activated. Stay consistent and the results will be impressive!


TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack
TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack

The TRX suspension trainer is the original and still the best, suspension trainer in the industry. It is an excellent value and the only suspension trainer used by the US Military. Get yours today.

 

Alternatives to Free Weights

You can get a great workout without dumbbells or barbells. For that matter, you don't need a lat pulldown machine, preacher curl bench or any other such equipment. If time and space are limited, consider using suspension trainer straps or gymnastic rings. Find out more in the links below:

Odd Object Training

Using unbalanced odd objects adds an entirely new dimension to your training. Not to mention, it will shock your muscles into positive adaptations. Read the hub below for some awesome arm workouts using everyday objects you can find around the house. No formal equipment needed, thank you very much.

Before you buy new equipment for your home gym, do your research. From BowFlex to TRX, learn all you need to know to make an informed decision here:

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Derdriu! I know what you mean, I find my heavy workouts become less and less frequent. But even light and moderate weight workouts are healthy for all ages. Aloha!

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      MosLadder: What a concise, precise summary of strengthening those all-important arm muscles! Even though I do not lift big weights, I like to stay current on what the latest equipment and routines are.

      Thank you for sharing, voted up, etc.,

      Derdriu

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Will1015, I know 21's. They are wicked. I usually start with a lighter than normal weight to make it through the whole set. If you want a once a week bicep workout, try doing 3 drop sets of 21's while accentuating the negative. Yikes! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Will1015 profile image

      Will1015 

      6 years ago from Brooklyn

      Good information for anyone looking to work on their arms. Nice article.

      Have you heard of a curling exercise known as "21s"? Great for isolating the biceps.

      seven half-reps (from rest position to 90 degrees at the elbow)

      seven half-reps (from 90 degrees at the elbow to the chest)

      seven full reps (7+7+7=21)

      All straight through with out rest. You'll want to go as heavy as you can handle with weight, since you will not be increasing the number of reps. I do 3 sets of these at the end of my arm workouts - when the muscles are already fatigued.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)