“Guns”, “pythons”, “thunder and lightning” or however you refer to them, the biceps are generally the glamour muscle group that anyone training with weights seeks to obtain. In addition to showing off, larger biceps and triceps help with proficiency in several sports.
Adding size to your arms is no rocket science. It’s just hard work, dedication and consistency. It might feel like a slow process, especially in the beginning, but if you train your arms heavy and consistently they will grow bigger and stronger.
What are considered big biceps?
If your biceps are easily visible without flexing, you already have big biceps. Proportion and symmetry are important, so your arm size should match the rest of your body frame. According to research, your biceps should be a little more than twice the size of your wrist.
To measure your biceps, you need keep your arm down at your side and relax it. Wrap a tape measure around the middle of your upper arm between the shoulder and elbow. When you do this measurement for your biceps, you actually measure the entire upper arm. This goes to show that if you want bigger biceps you need to train your biceps AND triceps.
In order to attain big arms, you need to train your entire body. You need to focus on compound exercises, such as squats, rows, pullups, dumbbell curls and presses. When doing exercises for your back, you work your biceps too, while chest exercises work your triceps.
The best weightlifting exercise for building biceps is the biceps curl. When doing this exercise, by bending your elbow you are isolating the muscle because bending is the primary function of your biceps. There are many ways in which you can do curls that work hard on your arm muscles. Some options would be preacher curls, reverse curls, hummer curls, concentration curls, and standing barbell/dumbbell curls.
Pushups can also work your biceps very efficiently with a little tweaking. Instead of performing pushups like you would normally do, when going downwards make sure to go much slower and focus or squeezing your biceps hard. You can make them even harder by elevating your feet on a chair. Chin ups are also highly effective for your biceps.
The best exercise equipment for building your arm muscle mass is the barbell. When you use a barbell, it’s easier for your muscles to balance the weights, and you can even increase the amount of resistance you use. Dumbbells are close second at this chapter. While barbells have an advantage as to the maximum resistance you can use, dumbbells have the advantage of providing safety. This is especially important when suffering from lower back problems. Doing exercises with dumbbells can offer you more favorable positions for your spine.
Although dumbbells have the safety advantage, the safest pieces of weight training equipment are machines and cables. The exercise motions are more restricted than with free weights and using them is the perfect alternative especially for beginners.
For optimal results, train your biceps and triceps twice a week. Training less won’t give you quick results, while training more won’t give your muscles enough time to build and recover. Don’t overdo it because this will more likely cause injury and slow your progress even more. Also, you need to vary the exercises for best results.
You need to stretch your muscles and increase their flexibility before each workout, so you can benefit from a full range of motion. The standing biceps stretch is simple and you can do it anywhere. You need to clasp hands behind your back. Turn your palms downward and lift your hands until you can feel the tension. Hold for 15-12 seconds and then repeat three more times. This stretching is also great for deltoids and pectoralis muscles.
What you eat before and after your training sessions fuel your body to build muscles as well as recover from your workout. Here are three useful tips for your diet that can help you build those strong arms you wish for:
- Increase your protein intake. In order to build big and defined muscles, you should increase your protein intake, which should make up about 40% of your daily caloric intake.
- Consume less of the simple carbohydrates. Start cutting simple carbs out of your diet in order to maximize your biceps definition. Decrease the consumption of carbs to roughly 30% of your caloric intake and make sure that the carbs you eat come mostly from fruits and vegetables.
- Consume calories. You need a proper balance of caloric intake in order to build those muscle fibers.
- The key to having big biceps is to exercise your triceps too since toned triceps give a nice definition to your biceps.
- Keep your reps short – 8 reps being enough with 3 sets for each exercise.
- Eat five or six smaller meals per day instead of three.
- Starchy carbs like oatmeal and rice can provide you with lots of energy to train hard.