How to Build Biceps Fast: Get Bigger Biceps Fast with These Bicep Building Exercises and Bicep Training Techniques
Nov 12th, 2011
Well developed, large biceps with high peaks are perhaps the most admired of all of the muscles on the body – and probably the most intimidating.
Large biceps are a symbol of strength and dominance, and all men who are honest will admit that they wish that their biceps were a little larger.
At the age of 14, I began my weight lifting career by doing nothing but straight bar curls and bench presses three days each week. I eventually started putting a much greater focus on my biceps as they slowly grew larger and I began getting compliments on how well developed my arms were becoming.
This certainly wasn’t the best plan for developing all of the muscles in my body, but it did help me to build fairly impressive biceps in a matter of a few months – even while using terrible form and technique. Nevertheless, I slowly learned how to better train my bicep muscles and my early and intermediate bodybuilding years taught me a few things about building an impressive set of arms that will be useful to anyone looking to quickly build bigger biceps.
Bicep Training Frequency
If you have a muscle group that you have isolated as one that you would like to quickly improve, your goal should almost always be to train that muscle group every other day, and the biceps are no exception. Training a muscle group every other day will give your muscles a sufficient period of rest to adequately recover from each training session.
Always remember that muscle growth occurs during times of rest and neglecting to properly rest your muscles will prevent your muscles from reaching their maximum potential.
Don’t worry if your biceps are still sore from your last workout. If you have given your biceps a full day of rest from direct stimulation, they will have sufficiently recovered from the last time they were trained and will be ready to be overloaded again.
By the way, muscle soreness will usually subside after a couple of warmup sets as your muscles begin to fill with oxygen rich blood.
So, now that I have established that you should be training your biceps every other day for maximum growth, the intendant question becomes, “What are the best biceps exercises for you to be doing?”
The Best Bicep Workout Routines and Techniques
Before I get into the best bicep workouts, I want to note that if your goal is not just to target the biceps, but is to build bigger arms in general, you will need to focus a similar amount of attention on your triceps.
The tricep muscle makes up about 40% of the upper arm and neglecting to build your triceps (along with your biceps) will lead to your arms becoming asymmetrical and also prevent you from maximizing the overall size increase that you would otherwise experience in your your upper arms.
On to the best bicep workouts…
The opinions among bodybuilders regarding which bicep building exercises are the best for quickly building size will obviously vary from person to person. I cannot speak for what has worked for everyone else, but in my experience, there are only three exercises required to sufficiently stimulate both heads of the bicep muscle.
Although, I should note that my belief is that how you perform these lifts will have a far greater impact on your ability to get bigger biceps than the actual exercises you are using.
More on that in a minute…
First, here are the 3 exercises I recommend using as part of your complete bicep workout plan:
• Standing Curls with an E-Z Curl Bar
• Preacher Curls with an E-Z Curl Bar
• Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls
Just to make sure you know exactly how to perform each of these lifts with maximum bicep building effectiveness, I am going to quickly describe the best form and technique for performing each of these lifts.
Standing Curls with an E-Z Curl Bar
Standing curls are a great way to work the outer head of the bicep muscle. To properly perform a standing curl, you will start by placing your feet about shoulder-width apart (feet angled outward slightly) and grip the bar using the outer grip curves (using the outer grips will effectively target the long outer head of the bicep).
You will start with the bar lowered in front of you with your arms near full extension. With your elbows tucked in closely to your side, you will curl the bar upwards toward your chin until your biceps are fully contracted with the bar around shoulder height.
When the bar reaches this point you want to hold it there for 1-2 seconds and intensely squeeze your bicep muscles as hard as you can before lowering the bar to its starting position in a controlled manner.
Contracting your biceps at the top of the lift for any bicep exercise will be your secret weapon for quickly building your bicep muscles. Contractions are in actuality the desired effect of lifting weights and are the reason that your muscles become stressed and overloaded while weight training.
Adding an extra “squeeze” at the top of your curls will give your biceps an additional stress that will be more intense than any part of the curl movement and will be the largest factor in your ability to build the biggest pair of biceps possible.
A Note on Intentional, Intense Biceps Contractions
When it comes to compound lifts that involve many different muscle groups, the amount of weight that you are able to lift is the most important factor in building muscle mass. However, when it comes to isolating the bicep muscles, intense contractions are far more important than the amount of weight that you are using.
As such, I recommend using a weight that enables you to reach muscle failure within 7-10 reps. Any more than that will just make your training much more physically taxing and will not provide any additional muscle building benefits.
Preacher Curls are performed using a preacher bench and an E-Z Curl Bar and will target the short inner head of the bicep muscles. Preacher curls are performed by gripping the curl bar using the inner grip curves. Gripping the inner curves will help to place a greater emphasis on the inner head of the biceps and is one of the best exercises for building up the peak of the biceps.
While resting your elbows on the angled pad of the preacher bench, you will curl the bar upwards until the bar reaches your chin. Just as with standing curls, you will squeeze with an intense contraction for 1-2 seconds at the top of the lift and then slowly lower the weight until your elbows are near lock-out position.
Preacher Curl Warning
When performing preacher curls, never allow your arms to straighten completely when lowering the bar back to the starting position. Fully straightening your arms will place a large strain on the tendons in your elbow and can lead to tendonitis. I had tendonitis from locking out my arms when doing preacher curls and it took several months for it to go away which prevented me from being able to fully train my biceps with maximum overload and intensity.
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls
Standing alternating dumbbell curls are performed by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and taking a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the outer legs. You will start by curling one of the dumbbells upward and twisting the dumbbell in towards your body as the dumbbell progresses through the movement.
At the top of the movement your wrist should be turned in as far as comfortably possible while contracting your bicep muscle for 1-2 seconds before lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position.
The movement will then be repeated with the other arm and you will continue alternating between arms until you have completed 7-10 reps and reached full muscle failure on each arm.
These are the only 3 bicep exercises I used to increase my biceps from 15″ to 17″ in a little over a year. While 2 inches may not sound like much, trust me when I tell you that this is a huge difference in bicep size.
Another quick note on training your biceps…
When training your biceps every other day as I have prescribed, you should alternate between these 3 lifts by completing a total of 5 sets of one of these exercises each day that you train your biceps.
Importance of Compound Lifts for Bicep Development
While the isolation movements described above are perfect for full bicep development, the biceps are actually used as secondary muscles for performing several other compound lifts as well. A few examples of compound lifts that incorporate the biceps are bent over barbell rows, dead lifts and pull ups. As such, these compound movements that involve the biceps also play an important role in building up the heads of the bicep muscle.
The impact that free weight compound lifts have on building the biceps is often underestimated. On the days that you train your biceps, be sure to mix in a compound lift or two that incorporates the biceps (after directly stimulating the biceps) to help provide added opportunities for more fully developing and strengthening the full range of bicep muscle fibers.
Final Note on Quickly Building Bigger Biceps
If you are looking to build big biceps fast, you need to train your biceps hard, train them often, give them at least one full day of rest between training them, use intense bicep contractions at the apex of each lift for 1-2 seconds and regularly incorporate compound lifts into your training regimen. If you do these things, you will be able to continually increase your biceps size for several months.
Tracking Your Progress
Before implementing these techniques, I recommend measuring your flexed biceps with a tape measure and recording their circumferences. Every two weeks or so, take new measurements and record your new measurements.
If you are following everything I have shared in this posting, you should continually measure growth in your biceps every week or two which will be a great way to keep you motivated to continue with your biceps training.
After 3-6 months your gains will start to slow down as your muscles get closer to their genetic potential, but if you continue to use the techniques I have shared above and occasionally increase the weights you are using on your lifts, your growth will not stop as your muscles will be forced to continually adapt to greater and greater stresses – regardless of your muscle building genetics.
Do you have any bicep workouts or comments about how to build bigger biceps that you would like to share? I invite you to join the conversation by using the comment box below.