Bicep Training: Turning Your Valley Into A Peak
If you read my article on tricep training then you know how bad my arms are. I won’t reiterate the self flagellation to save us both the embarrassment. I will describe how I have improved my biceps and what I think every hardgainer might want to try to bring up this stubborn body part. Again this is a continuation on the tricep article and you might want to read that one first to get the science of the leverages and biophysics.
I used to think the biceps were a small muscle and too much volume would over work them. Nope. CJ Jackson was the first coach to have me use insane amounts of volume and frequency to force my worst body part to grow. Hany Rambod has told me on multiple occasions to train them frequently and when I have they get smaller and the left forearm gets lots of pain on contraction. Pain which stops me from contracting fully, not just discomfort, actual inhibitory pain.
To get around this CJ had me use Fascia Stretch Training 7 on back days and a high volume training arm day. This is a slight modification on standard Rambod Methodology.
I Have been undergoing Fascia Stretch Therapy (FST) at Tricovery In Novi, Michigan. Jeff, Becky, and Steve all use different ways to skin this cat and now I can get a bigger pump and peak with the left arm!
(in the picture the left calf was after treatment, the right before. Normally the left is one ENTIRE inch smaller than the right!)
The Anatomy Of The Bicep
The Bicep Brachii is a fancy way of saying two headed arm muscle. This muscle has 2 origins and 1 insertion. One head starts on the humerus and the other head, the long head, starts on the front of the shoulder blade called the coracoid process. This tendon slips through a groove on the humerus and gets inflamed easily causing shoulder pain. Many times you get a shoulder injury this tendon will eventually become inflamed. Pec insertion pain and rotator cuff impingement alike will eventually lead to bicep tendon inflammation. Proper stretching will prevent this issue and staying away from the flat bench if you’re not keeping your shoulders tucked back.
Where Am I Going With This Crap?
If you curl but don’t supinate you’ll build your brachialis more than your bicep. This builds mass but not peak. You should initiate all curling motions except for hammer curls with supination.
What is supination you ask? Your arm extended with the palm facing the ceiling is a supinated palm position.
Keep your elbow tucked into your side. This prevents you from bringing your elbow out in front of you which is shoulder flexion. Shoulder flexion reduces load on the bicep and just results in the bicep tendon impingement we discussed above.
Barbells allow you to cheat and use more weight but guarantee a fixed plane. This doesn’t allow for supination through any range of motion, only isometric supination. Additionally the strong side will help out the weak side. This results in your weak side staying weak and small relative to your strong time which grows faster. The advantage is you can use more weight. To take the cheating out I prefer the preacher bench myself. Thats about it, once you get the basics down its all about proper loading patterns and tempo.
The Hammer Curl is special because it focuses on the Brachialis and Brachioradialis. The Brachioradialis is a forearm muscle.
For some advanced bicep training techniques, check out our downloadable training guides here!