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  1. #1
    Registered User snorkelman's Avatar
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    Maximum frequency to work out biceps?

    I have heard/read mixed things about how often you should work a muscle group. From what I can tell, the majority of advice is to allow 48 hours minimum before working out the same muscles. Some even say once a week should be the max if you are lifting really heavy.

    Bottom line, I want to really work on my biceps. I currently have a 5 day split where I do as follows:
    Day 1 ? chest
    Day 2 ? legs
    Day 3 ? back
    Day 4 ? shoulders & abs
    Day 5 - arms (biceps & triceps)

    So, I am hitting my biceps on day 5 directly, and only indirectly when I do back on day 3.

    I recently read an article that said if you have an undeveloped area that you should attack it with high frequency, high volume and high intensity & that you can train that area 3-4 days per week! That frequency surprised me. I normally would have ignored it as going against most of what I had heard. However, the source really made me decide to post this question to you experienced bodybuilders. The source was ?Ask Arnold? by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Muscle & Fitness - January 2008 (pg 234). This particular advice was using the example of having small calves as the weakness, so perhaps that may change the opinion since I am looking to increase biceps?

    Thoughts/ideas on how I can increase my frequency to add mass to my biceps?
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  2. #2
    When in doubt, mumble namtrag's Avatar
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    Work the hell out of your back, and the biceps will take care of themselves.
    Yorkshireman I: Right! I had to get up in the morning, at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill and pay mill-owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our dad would kill us and dance about on our graves, singing Hallelujah!
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  3. #3
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by snorkelman View Post
    I have heard/read mixed things about how often you should work a muscle group. From what I can tell, the majority of advice is to allow 48 hours minimum before working out the same muscles. Some even say once a week should be the max if you are lifting really heavy.

    Bottom line, I want to really work on my biceps. I currently have a 5 day split where I do as follows:
    Day 1 ? chest
    Day 2 ? legs
    Day 3 ? back
    Day 4 ? shoulders & abs
    Day 5 - arms (biceps & triceps)

    So, I am hitting my biceps on day 5 directly, and only indirectly when I do back on day 3.

    I recently read an article that said if you have an undeveloped area that you should attack it with high frequency, high volume and high intensity & that you can train that area 3-4 days per week! That frequency surprised me. I normally would have ignored it as going against most of what I had heard. However, the source really made me decide to post this question to you experienced bodybuilders. The source was ?Ask Arnold? by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Muscle & Fitness - January 2008 (pg 234). This particular advice was using the example of having small calves as the weakness, so perhaps that may change the opinion since I am looking to increase biceps?

    Thoughts/ideas on how I can increase my frequency to add mass to my biceps?
    Add mass to your body and you will have mass on your biceps
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  4. #4
    stretching blows boathead's Avatar
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    i agree with the big guys. you will not put mass on your arms without mass everywhere. i read recently that bicep size goes up incrementally with every 15 pounds of lean body muscle. without that 15 pounds, no increment increase.

    that being said, the bigger the muscle, the less frequency. smaller muscle, greater frequency. hit your arms on back day, and maybe on another day. 2x per week.

    instead of changing frequency, why not change your exercises? maybe incline curls if you have never done them?
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  5. #5
    Registered User snorkelman's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I guess I will focus on the compound movements to add mass all over, and maybe throw in a couple of extra bicep exercises and/or mix up the current exercises that I use. I was just really surprised when I read Arnold's comment about 3-4 days per week.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by snorkelman View Post
    Thanks guys. I guess I will focus on the compound movements to add mass all over, and maybe throw in a couple of extra bicep exercises and/or mix up the current exercises that I use. I was just really surprised when I read Arnold's comment about 3-4 days per week.
    Yeah just keep plugging along with the schedule you already have. Deadlifts etc will certainly help with arm thickness. I think what you read is accurate for a competitive bodybuilder or someone who already has some size but wants to make small improvements in one area. What exactly does your routine look like for exercises, reps, sets?
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by snorkelman View Post
    Thanks guys. I guess I will focus on the compound movements to add mass all over, and maybe throw in a couple of extra bicep exercises and/or mix up the current exercises that I use. I was just really surprised when I read Arnold's comment about 3-4 days per week.
    You can do that when you use the S vitamin
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  8. #8
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    I must be the weirdo exception, I work the $h*T out of my back, and my biceps and tris both are a major disappointment...which kicks my a$$ cause my back, and chest are coming along nicely,,,,damn genetics...
    Just one more rep....push push...

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  9. #9
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    I noticed when I added thickness to my overall body structure by doing heavy compound exercises, my arms and calves started to grow. Also, bring up the intensity in your workouts. If you're at rep 12 and still have enough energy to pull out 3 more reps, go for it. I always remind myself to stay out of the " confort zone " and go beyond it when im going through my reps/sets. Work hard and you'll see results.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by namtrag View Post
    Work the hell out of your back, and the biceps will take care of themselves.
    x 2

    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    Add mass to your body and you will have mass on your biceps
    x 2
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  11. #11
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    Vince Gironda used to advocate working arms 3 days in a row

    for specialization. Just cut back on other body parts...work 3 days and one day off and repeat... do it twice go back to a regular workout and then repeat when ready. A lot of growth is due to satellite cell growth in muscles and this overwork stimulates that. Its not for a prolonged period but specialization only.
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  12. #12
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    I am a firm believer in letting a muscle repair b4 hitting it again for strength and or size. I say hitting a muscle three times in one week would hinder any gains. Hitting a muscle twice a week might be ok as long as you get 4-5 days rest.
    Just my .02
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  13. #13
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    Sometimes I'll hit biceps directly twice in a week...

    ...just to shock the muscle. However, as has been said, if you really work hard doing back training from a variety of angles, hitting biceps directly, with high intensity, once a week (I usually do them with either chest or shoulders or triceps) is enough. Hitting them directly more than twice a week is counterproductive, in my opinion.
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    Registered User ServoScanMan's Avatar
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    I currently do only one bicep exercise per week. Its a standing DB bicep curl to Arnold press. I feel with the other compond exercises I do, my biceps get enough of a workout.
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    Never more than 1X per week...usually done with back/lats.
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    You have to commit to a good amount of time experimenting, to see what work for you, because no two people are alike. Some here may grow Biceps indirectly by working Back and some here prefer to also implement isolation exercises (curls, etc.). I would suggest spending 6 months of each way to see how your body responds.

    I do isolation exercises, but I keep them to a minimum of maybe 5 total sets, 3 of which are some form of Curls with supinated wrists and 2 of which are Hammer Curls. 4 total sets might be better for me. A lot of people over-work their Biceps after Back and they defeat the purpose.
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    I work biceps every other day. From what I understand the key to having big biceps which is what eveyone wants is to have blood pumping through them all the time. The one day of rest gives them time to recover and still have blood in them. I also use a weight a can get 12 reps with, again its all about the blood pump which is what will make them look big. I usually use the barbell or Dumbbells. I switch it every week then I use the preacher and do 12 reps on that too. The preacher is good because it isolates the biceps, if you don't feel them burnt to the point you just want to stop then your not doing it right. I have told 3-4 people to try this out and it has worked great for then and im sure it will work great for anyone.
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    Originally Posted by Mark1T View Post
    You have to commit to a good amount of time experimenting, to see what work for you, because no two people are alike. Some here may grow Biceps indirectly by working Back and some here prefer to also implement isolation exercises (curls, etc.). I would suggest spending 6 months of each way to see how your body responds.

    I do isolation exercises, but I keep them to a minimum of maybe 5 total sets, 3 of which are some form of Curls with supinated wrists and 2 of which are Hammer Curls. 4 total sets might be better for me. A lot of people over-work their Biceps after Back and they defeat the purpose.
    This is the best comment I have read. Everyone is different. I used to hit arms with compound exercises, high intensity, heavy weight, 8 reps and didn't really get good results. It's partly genetics and partly because I really wasn't getting good pumps. I experimented with different things, tried Stoppani's arm program and had good results. This is what works best for me. I train arms twice a week. One day I train arms all by themselves. Nothing but triceps and biceps. I start with a compound exercise, heavy weight and 8-10 reps, after that I move to a more isolating exercise, higher reps, shorter rest. Then to an even more isolating exercise, even highers reps like 15-20 and even shorter rest period and finally finish with an FST-7 exercise. It takes under an hour to finish 8 exercises, 4 for triceps and 4 for biceps and my arms are done!! The second time around I do triceps with chest and biceps with back or shoulders. This time I only do 2 exercises and go for light controlled reps for 15-20 reps and squeeze and hold with each rep, like isolation curls with one arm cables. I try to keep it at about 15 mins or less. The arms burn like hell and the pumps are incredible. Training arms 3 times/week is fine for a very short period of time like 4 week bursts maybe twice a year. More than that and you risk injury and over training in my opinion. But I can't stress enough that there is no magic formula for arm training. You need to experiment and find out what works best for you!
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    Originally Posted by snorkelman View Post
    I have heard/read mixed things about how often you should work a muscle group. From what I can tell, the majority of advice is to allow 48 hours minimum before working out the same muscles. Some even say once a week should be the max if you are lifting really heavy.

    Bottom line, I want to really work on my biceps. I currently have a 5 day split where I do as follows:
    Day 1 ? chest
    Day 2 ? legs
    Day 3 ? back
    Day 4 ? shoulders & abs
    Day 5 - arms (biceps & triceps)

    So, I am hitting my biceps on day 5 directly, and only indirectly when I do back on day 3.

    I recently read an article that said if you have an undeveloped area that you should attack it with high frequency, high volume and high intensity & that you can train that area 3-4 days per week! That frequency surprised me. I normally would have ignored it as going against most of what I had heard. However, the source really made me decide to post this question to you experienced bodybuilders. The source was ?Ask Arnold? by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Muscle & Fitness - January 2008 (pg 234). This particular advice was using the example of having small calves as the weakness, so perhaps that may change the opinion since I am looking to increase biceps?

    Thoughts/ideas on how I can increase my frequency to add mass to my biceps?
    Besides the arm day, I would add in tri's on chest day and bi's on back day to really give them some extra work.
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  20. #20
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    I didn't get jack on my limbs from compounds.

    Experiment, and find what works for you.
    I don't lift weights, I flex under duress.

    My 12 month progress thread
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=155962953&p=1113020323#post1113020323
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  21. #21
    Omega Weapon EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Juggertha View Post
    I didn't get jack on my limbs from compounds.

    Experiment, and find what works for you.

    Me either, maybe im too good at training my back when I train my back? IDK chin ups seem to be the exception to this.

    OP hows your results 7 years later?
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  22. #22
    Recovering Weakling RT1957's Avatar
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    The best results I ever got working arms was 2 times per week and using Bicep/Triceps super sets. 3 Exercises for each doing 3 - 4 sets 8- 10 reps.....YMMV
    Last edited by RT1957; 04-12-2015 at 08:05 AM.
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    Registered User 4Biz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ClarkDark View Post
    ...just to shock the muscle. However, as has been said, if you really work hard doing back training from a variety of angles, hitting biceps directly, with high intensity, once a week (I usually do them with either chest or shoulders or triceps) is enough. Hitting them directly more than twice a week is counterproductive, in my opinion.
    +1

    Doing MORE bicep work MORE often is NOT going to make them big
    It will open you to injury

    Lift HARD & with INTENSITY and you'll need at least 4-5 days before you hit it again

    By the way do you ONLY want bigger biceps or bigger arms?

    2/3 is the tricep - work them a more then the bicep for a large ARM
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    Registered User VIsland's Avatar
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    In a natural athlete muscle protein synthesis lasts somewhere around 24 to 48 hours. In other words after 48 hours all the growing you're gonna do is done regardless of DOMS. Something to consider when planning out your split or full body routine and scheduling your workouts for your week.
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    Registered User Edman316's Avatar
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    Cutting fat is the best way to make your biceps and triceps look bigger.

    Lean = more definition / more muscle separation. Get lean first and worry about building bigger biceps AFTER you can actually see them.
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  26. #26
    Registered User hossjob's Avatar
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    "high frequency, high volume and high intensity"

    This is not good advice. You can do 1, maybe 2 of these, but not all 3 at one time. Charles Poloquin wrote one of the best arm workout articles I've ever seen. It was all about supersetting 2 exercises through 2 points of flexion.

    Biceps: CG Pull Ups (Focus needs to be on biceps)/SS with Incline DB Curls - 5 sets 6-8 reps. Makes perfect sense. Your best bet is to train the hell out of your back and hit biceps along with back and then on another day train them with another body part. Hitting them 3-4 times per week with high volume is going to be overkill and a waste of your time.
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  27. #27
    Shake n Bake Brackneyc's Avatar
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    OP, post up them guns. 7 years has passed. If you took all the great advice in here, you should have to have a permit for those cannons by now.
    You gonna do somethin'? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed....
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  28. #28
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    I do arms on their own day and then incorporate resistance band training to mix it up.
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  29. #29
    Not afraid of food! EB68's Avatar
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    I have 15" arms so nobody wants any advice from me
    Eric

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    squat 335x1
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  30. #30
    Omega Weapon EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EB68 View Post
    I have 15" arms so nobody wants any advice from me

    I have this problem as well.
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