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The best exercise for bigger biceps

Updated on May 16, 2015


When you do a quick Google search for the best form of exercises for your biceps, you’re normally given two main options. These are either hammer curls or dumbbell/barbell curls. Whilst both of these are excellent exercises, as well as their seated variations they don’t always push your biceps to their full potential.

Further, they don’t always give you an amazing pump afterwards. For those that aren’t in the know, the ‘pump’ is the massive increase in blood that you get to the muscle area after working out. Not only does it feel amazing, but it also looks great and makes you look a lot larger than what you usually are. For those that are really wanting to break through the plateau of muscle building and are ready to shred their biceps there is a solution. These come in the form of 21’s.

What are 21's?

21’s, as the name suggest, is a form of bicep exercise that involves 21 repetitions of the movement, however, not all the repetitions in the 21’s are the same, with it being divided into three different movements (7 reps per movement)

The starting position is the same as any normal bicep workout. Start with the weights (be it barbell, ez curl bar or dumbbells) at your waist in the relaxed position so that your arms are fully extended straight down. Slowly raise your arms so that your elbow is bent at 90 degrees, and then slowly lower them again. This process should be repeated 6 times more.

The next part of the routine involves starting with your elbows at the 90 degree angle and move your arms up to your chest and then back down to the 90 degree starting position. Again, this is repeated 6 more times.

The final 7 repetitions involve the full range of motion of your arms. For these, start again with the weights at your waist, arms fully extended downwards and then bring them all the way up to your chest as you would with a normal bicep curl.

By repeating 21’s three times in a row, you’ll not only get a massive pump but also you’ll shred your muscles and it’ll help their growth overall.

Barbells, dumbbells or EZ Curl bar?

As mentioned above, you can perform 21’s with a barbell, dumbbells or an EZ curl bar. Personally, I wouldn’t use a barbell for this type of exercise since it’s putting a slight twist on your wrists which can increase your risk of tendonitis. Due to this, an EZ Curl would be better in that it offers the symmetry of using a barbell but it has a slight curve on it so that you can position your wrists at a much better angle.

For those that already have wrist problems, I would recommend this option. Alternatively, if you have dumbbells lying around, these are also a great option since you can move them to a comfortable position when lifting them. I’ve left widgets for an EZ Curl bar and a dumbbell set below for Amazon USA users. If you live in the UK, you can get the best EZ curl bar from Amazon UK at this link, and the best dumbbell set from Amazon UK at this link.

How much weight should you use?

When doing 21’s, because there’s so many reps involved it’s important that you don’t use the same weight that you’d normally use for a normal bicep workout. Personally, I’d use 20% of what you normally use when you’re just starting out. Not only will this limit the chance of you suffering from an injury, but it’ll also let your tendons strengthen to this new form of workout. It should also allow you to fully complete three sets of 21’s to give you the proper workout. If at any time when carrying 21’s out that you suffer from joint pain, it’s sensible to stop immediately. Also, if you feel you can’t complete the set with good form, stop, drop some weight and then start again from where you left off.

21’s are a key component for anyone that is serious about expanding the size of their biceps. But remember, if you’re wanting really big arms then you’ll also need to work on your triceps as well. These are actually bigger than biceps so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t neglect them!


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