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  1. #1
    Registered User BadGaskets350's Avatar
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    When to know you've sufficiently exhausted a bicep?

    Biceps seem to be one of those bottomless pit muscles that always seem to be ready for another set of 10 reps to failure after a few minutes.

    I've only been back into lifting since July and I have had bicep growth, but seemingly not in proportion to the rest. But when I do biceps, I usually go balls out on them. I can get them to scream for mercy but the results don't seem proportional to the effort, compared to others. Is this your experience?

    I can make my shoulders and quads grow just by talking about squats and overhead press. My triceps are responding nicely. Definitely not the case with my biceps.

    I did a century set the other day with a 20lb ez-bar, pausing only long enough to convince myself that my arm wasn't being carved like a pumpkin. After I got home, 30 minutes later, I was tempted to hit the dumbbells again but stopped.... knowing I probably would not benefit.


    I do biceps usually 2-3 times per week, 2 exercises per session. Usually 2 of these, 10 reps to failure, reverse Pyramid, 5-7 sets each (ie, start heavy, dropset while reducing weight).

    Hammer curls, dumbbell
    Cable curls
    Preacher curls w/ez bar
    Reverse curls w/ez bar
    Curls on Matrix machine (which allows very close grip)
    Century sets w/ez bar and light weight & a barf bag.

    At the end of every session I feel the muscle fatigue everywhere I targeted, and the next day, I feel the DOMS. Except, not much in the biceps. Despite going full masochist in the gym. Rarely have my biceps ever felt more than "a wee bit sore" while my shoulders and quads feel like huge bruises.

    I certainly want to grow these things but how do I know when I got the job done?
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    When it blows up and deflates into a shapeless blob.
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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Biceps tend to be limited relative to one's overall development, and furthermore simply challenging on their own as they are an anatomically small muscle.

    I suspect you might be "bro" training them. If you're not already at a decent level with your major compound motions: hinge, squat, overhead press, bench press, row, pullups, then I'd drop curls altogether for a few months and work exclusively on those. You will probably gain bicep mass without even specifically aiming for it. Where are you at on these? If in a good place overall, I'd still drop the volume and start curling with the barbell for a while. My curl improved quite a bit once I started using it in addition to dumbbells. Do it with your back against a wall if possible to mitigate cheating.

    But, I personally think that curls get made fun of too much. If you're not lagging elsewhere, they're your best card to play for biceps. The accusation of "ego lift" also is somewhat amusing to me, when physique training is all necessarily that to some extent anyway. Being stupid and showy about it is one thing, but aiming for bigger biceps and working hard for that is ultimately just as vain or legitimate as just about all of this.
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  4. #4
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    When I can’t flex my elbow anymore. You know, since the bicep is a forearm flexor.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Training the **** out of them makes it worse, you dig a hole into your recovery
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    Masstrophysicist Camarija's Avatar
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    4 hard sets of direct work a week is enough to maintain your biceps.

    If you want them to grow fast, start at ~ 8 hard sets a week and slowly increase as needed. If you don't need more, don't do more.

    Hint, if you're reaching more than 12 sets in a given session, you're doing it wrong.

    Some tips on bicep programming:
    https://renaissanceperiodization.com...s-hypertrophy/
    ► Intermediate Bodybuilding Classic Physique ► Renaissance Periodization Programming
    ► https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=180349883
    ► Progress Pictures
    ► https://i.ibb.co/r6RKF4p/Progress-Pictures.png
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  7. #7
    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Camarija View Post
    4 hard sets of direct work a week is enough to maintain your biceps.

    If you want them to grow fast, start at ~ 8 hard sets a week and slowly increase as needed. If you don't need more, don't do more.

    Hint, if you're reaching more than 12 sets in a given session, you're doing it wrong.

    Some tips on bicep programming:
    https://renaissanceperiodization.com...s-hypertrophy/
    I do just 1 set less than once a week, but of course when it's 1 set I make it hard as hell and leave no doubts that I could have done anymore. I'll rep back on r/c bro
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    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    The only direct things i've ever done for biceps are chin ups and zottman curls, and they seem to respond well to those. Possibly genetic but they seem to be one of my better bodyparts. But yeah, those two appear to be pretty efficient builders for this area - and the reason I combine either a hammer or zottman is so the brachialis is given equal attention. That's something a lot of people don't even think about, and it's a shame cause it gives em the width that compliments the peak to create balance. No matter what, don't prioritize the peak and neglect the brachialis - have something to address it. You'll thank yourself later!
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  9. #9
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheShadowMan View Post
    The only direct things i've ever done for biceps are chin ups and zottman curls, and they seem to respond well to those. Possibly genetic but they seem to be one of my better bodyparts. But yeah, those two appear to be pretty efficient builders for this area - and the reason I combine either a hammer or zottman is so the brachialis is given equal attention. That's something a lot of people don't even think about, and it's a shame cause it gives em the width that compliments the peak to create balance. No matter what, don't prioritize the peak and neglect the brachialis - have something to address it. You'll thank yourself later!
    I wish I could rep you again for Zottman curls. Can someone give this guy some green for me?
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  10. #10
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    Big arms will come with big curls.

    What
    Kind of weight do you handle on barbell curls in the 6-8 rep range?
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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  11. #11
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    I wish I could rep you again for Zottman curls. Can someone give this guy some green for me?
    Done. Never tried Zottman's but I probably should.

    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    Big arms will come with big curls.

    What
    Kind of weight do you handle on barbell curls in the 6-8 rep range?
    Or maybe even a lower rep range for the bar's emphasis on weight. I have a feeling OP just does hammers or supinated with DBs in probably that rep range already.
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    Registered User BadGaskets350's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    Big arms will come with big curls.

    What
    Kind of weight do you handle on barbell curls in the 6-8 rep range?

    Actually unsure, the only barbell curls I've done since returning to lifting in July have been higher rep sets with 30s and 40s, because generally speaking Barbells compromise my abused wrists. It's one of the results of nearly 20 years of carpentry that I'm trying to improve. They just hurt my wrist so I avoid heavy weights. I can't easily Supinate my hands and rep heavy weight , even the ez-bar can be frustrating. I also struggle with supinated grip lat pulls. However, with time all this lack of flexibility is improving


    Dumbell, I can rep 35s in each hand for 10 reps. This would be more of a hammer curl though
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    Registered User BadGaskets350's Avatar
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    I hit the gym this afternoon. I was able to barbell curl (ez-bar normal width grip) 80lbs 7 reps, this was after 5 sets lat pulldown and 5 sets seated row, so I'm quite confident I could have done 10 on the 80 prior to those
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  14. #14
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BadGaskets350 View Post
    I hit the gym this afternoon. I was able to barbell curl (ez-bar normal width grip) 80lbs 7 reps, this was after 5 sets lat pulldown and 5 sets seated row, so I'm quite confident I could have done 10 on the 80 prior to those
    Uhh.. I know they're not the same thing, but if you could rep 350 on the bench, I'm surprised even after the fatigue that was all you managed. I barely squeek out a 3 plate bench on a good day and can curl 135 for reps any day of the week.
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