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Arm Training Guide: Biceps, Forearms


BodybuildingPro.com Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles Written by Matt Canning Arm Training Guide: Biceps, Forearms



Arm Training Guide: Biceps, Forearms

Big arms are the primary goal of a lot of people who take up bodybuilding. In fact, many people I know train with only a few goals in mind, one of which is big arms. Although this isn't the best approach to bodybuilding (as it is a balanced activity), it does show just how appealling big arms are. Below are some excellent exercises you should consider including in your bodybuilding regiment for maximum biceps growth.

Biceps Exercises

Standing Barbell Curls

Standing barbell curls are one of the most basic mass builders for the biceps. All you need is a bar and some plates to adjust the weight to one that you will be able to reach temporary muscular failure by 8-12 repetitions. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining good form, and for safety, pyramid the weight up (using a weight for 12 reps, followed by a heavier weight for 10 reps and a final set with 8 reps at the heaviest weight for example). Try to perform the exercise as strictly as possible. A bit of cheating with your form is ok though. On the last few reps of the last set you can do forced reps by swinging the weight a little bit, but don't make a habit of this, as it is only beneficial as post failure training. If you perform your working sets with a weight which will require you to swing it in order to complete a rep, you are wasting your time and worse yet, risking injury. You should seek to avoid that.

Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls

Take two dumbbells and start by curling one up, keeping the elbows steady and twisting as you go up. Once the first dumbbell has completed half of the full range of motion, bring the other dumbbell up with your other arm as the first dumbbell is on its way back down. If you want to perform regular dumbbell curls instead of alternating curls, keep your elbows steady and your palms facing forward and curl up both dumbbells at the same time. Again, try not to cheat unless you are on the final reps or post failure reps of the final set. Cheating can be beneficial if you use forced reps effectively, but taking advantage of this training principle may lead to injury.

Preacher Curls

Preacher curls are performed on a preacher bench and can be done with either a preacher curl bar or dumbbells. You can also use a straight bar, but that is normally avoided since the preacher curl bar takes stress off the wrists and is still a highly effective piece of equipment. Prachers anchor the elbow, keeping it steady so that you achieve a peak contraction at the top of the range of motion. You can generally adjust preacher benches, so that you can rest your elbows on pads between 45 and 90 degrees. As mentioned, a barbell can be used as well. Personal preference is generally used to determine what type of bar you use (or dumbbells), as well as your training goals.

Dumbbell Concentration Curls

Sit on a bench and bend over and rest your elbow against the inside of you thigh. Raise the weight with a slow, controlled movement, being fully aware of what the muscle is doing at all points throughout the range of motion. Be sure to lower the weight with just as much discipline and control. This is essential to both maximize the muscle building abilities of this exercise and to stay safe by avoiding injury.

Cable Curls

Using the cable machine, curl your hand up and across your body, with the same range of motion you would use for a dumbbell concentration curl as described above. Focus on feeling the muscle throughout for optimal results.

Forearms Exercises

Barbell Wrist Curls

Sit at the end of a bench with your forearms together and your palms resting just off the end of the bench and hold a barbell close to you. Bend your wrist back and down and let the bar roll down into your fingers. From there, curl the bar back up until the muscles underneath your forearms are fully contracted. Focus on feeling the movement throughout the entire range of motion.

Reverse Barbell Curls

Hold a curl bar with your palms facing down (a reverse grip). From there, simply curl the weight up in the same range of motion you would use for the standing barbell curl.

Hammar Curl

Keep your palms facing inward and towards each other. From there, curl the weight in the same range of motion you would use for the standing alternative dumbbell curls or regular dumbbell curls. With your wrists facing towards you like this, the curl involves the forearm extensor muscles as well as the biceps.

Sample Routines

Sample Routine #1
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Curls 2 12,10,8
Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls 2 12,10,8
Preacher Curls 2 12,10,8
Barbell Wrist Curls 3 20,20,20


Sample Routine #2
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Concentration Curls 3 12,10,8
Standing Barbell Curls 3 12,10,8
Barbell Wrist Curls 3 20,20,20
Reverse Barbell Curls 3 20,20,20


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