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  1. #1
    Registered User imbeingcereal's Avatar
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    Are Bent Over Rows A "Good" Bicep Builder

    So obviously, we know that bent over rows won't be as good for building biceps as direct arm curls are, but has anyone still noticed pretty good gains from doing bent over rows alone and not really doing much direct bicep work? I never really worked my arms directly because I trusted that doing compound lifts would show gains everywhere, but I I've noticed that my back (upper back at least) is fairly big, but I have really puny arms, which ends up looking funny. I'm wondering if it's because the bent over rows aren't really that great for biceps or if it's just genetics.
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  2. #2
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    Bent over rows is an overall excellent compound movement. And yes it can definitely help your arms grow. In fact, I know some people who hardly train or don't directly train biceps and still have decent size guns due to concentrating on mostly compound movements (edit:not that I recommend that).
    Last edited by nics1246; 07-31-2011 at 07:31 AM.
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  3. #3
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    from my experience I did very well from just compound exercises. having said that, I don't believe that isolation exercises should be neglected in any way and if you aren't seeing the results you want then even more reason to include a curl variation (and something for the triceps)
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  4. #4
    For the lulz HeavyMetalLover's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about myself, because I did isolations from the start. You should experiment with it. If it doesn't give you the results that you want, add some isolations.

    Also, try underhand grips. Seems like it gives the bicep more tension than overhand grip.
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    I've always admired people who couldn't take 20 or even 30 precious minutes of their lives a week,
    in order to do some curls. I understand them though, curls are sooo physically and mentally taxing, great danger in them.
    Can't even compare that danger with results they may bring. Never do Biceps exercises for Biceps growth, one of the best sentences/mantras/rules ever.
    + we are all the same.

    Good job.
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    Originally Posted by themilkybarkid View Post
    I don't believe that isolation exercises should be neglected in any way and if you aren't seeing the results you want then even more reason to include a curl variation (and something for the triceps)
    Agreed.
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  7. #7
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    Any pull exercise will work your biceps. Your biceps will most likely be the first to fail in a "back" or pull exercise. So they are getting all the stimulus they need. I honestly don't think you need much other than pull ups, chin ups, commando pull ups, and rows to develop decent biceps to a point. I would say 16" - 17" arms, depending on your height.
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  8. #8
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    Want good biceps? Do direct bicep work. It's not rocket science.

    Good bodybuilding routines are built around compounds, but not comprised of compounds only.
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  9. #9
    Moderator Dominik's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by imbeingcereal View Post
    So obviously, we know that bent over rows won't be as good for building biceps as direct arm curls are, but has anyone still noticed pretty good gains from doing bent over rows alone and not really doing much direct bicep work? I never really worked my arms directly because I trusted that doing compound lifts would show gains everywhere, but I I've noticed that my back (upper back at least) is fairly big, but I have really puny arms, which ends up looking funny. I'm wondering if it's because the bent over rows aren't really that great for biceps or if it's just genetics.
    Form will play a role. Some people row more with their arms and don't really focus on 'pulling from the elbows' and engaging the back muscles.

    Compound lifts like presses, rows and chins will add size to the arms -- and they did for me -- but if you want to specifically target the arms then the obvious choice is arm exercises.
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  10. #10
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by imbeingcereal View Post
    .. has anyone still noticed pretty good gains from doing bent over rows alone and not really doing much direct bicep work?
    No.

    In 18 years of bodybuilding, I've never known anyone who possessed a good pair of arms that got them by only going indirect work.

    If you expect to build good arms, train them directly.
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  11. #11
    Registered User imbeingcereal's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VoxExMachina View Post
    Want good biceps? Do direct bicep work. It's not rocket science.

    Good bodybuilding routines are built around compounds, but not comprised of compounds only.
    OK, let me ask you this: how often would I need to hit the biceps directly if you are otherwise lifting heavy? I.e. if you do rows often, is hitting the biceps 1x a week at higher volume good enough or would more be needed?
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    Originally Posted by imbeingcereal View Post
    OK, let me ask you this: how often would I need to hit the biceps directly if you are otherwise lifting heavy? I.e. if you do rows often, is hitting the biceps 1x a week at higher volume good enough or would more be needed?
    Try 1x per week. If that's not giving you the results you want, try 2x per week. Simple.
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    Originally Posted by medjen View Post
    Try 1x per week. If that's not giving you the results you want, try 2x per week. Simple.
    ^ This. Everyone responds differently, and considers different levels of growth to be adequate. If you're not seeing enough results, start by increasing volume.
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    If you're doing bent rows correctly your whole goal is to isolate to the back as much as possible, so no, they won't work your biceps that much. Curls will work your biceps but if your arms are small all around triceps account for more "resting mass" anyway.*
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    No.
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    I'm not going to argue with that. *

    Though I'd add that dropping the Bent over rows would be foolish. *Just throw a few sets of isolation movements to your weekly.
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    op i have a really hard time w/ biceps also. i didn't focus on arms during the first 5 years of liftin or so and now am finding it hard to catch them up w/ the rest of my body. like the other posters said, your best bet is isolation w/ looooooooooow weight. or even better to do them after your back workout. i find my back and shoulders help me w/ biceps even when i keep strict form unless i use light weight and focus on the bicep doing the movement.*
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    Originally Posted by imbeingcereal View Post
    So obviously, we know that bent over rows won't be as good for building biceps as direct arm curls are, but has anyone still noticed pretty good gains from doing bent over rows alone and not really doing much direct bicep work? I never really worked my arms directly because I trusted that doing compound lifts would show gains everywhere, but I I've noticed that my back (upper back at least) is fairly big, but I have really puny arms, which ends up looking funny. I'm wondering if it's because the bent over rows aren't really that great for biceps or if it's just genetics.
    I don't have giant biceps at all, but I still tend to feel rowing and pull ups more in that elbow flexor area than I do in my back, sadly I wish I had your problem, I want to target the upper back and have it do most of the work. I'm starting to think that using fly isolation movements would be the only way to win at this I wonder if doing the rows with dumbbells instead of a barbell might help.

    Originally Posted by biogeek4 View Post
    Any pull exercise will work your bicep
    Depends on how strictly we define the word pull. Definitely no biceps involved with this bro: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...mPulldown.html
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