The Complete Arnold: Biceps

Arnold Schwarzenegger answers your questions on training, nutrition, and intensity.
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QUESTION

What was your secret to building that legendary peak in your biceps?

ANSWER

I have discussed the technique I used to help develop my peaks so many times that it doesn’t feel like a secret anymore: supination, the outward twisting of the forearm while doing dumbbell curls (you can’t physically achieve this motion with a standard barbell).

Supination causes the outer head of the biceps to work hard, raising a peak and slapping on an extra bulge of muscle that you could see especially well when I did a back doublebiceps pose.

When doing any dumbbell curl, whether it’s standing, seated, incline, or concentration curls, start with your hand in a neutral position and then rotate it as you perform the rep so that your palm faces upward. Two inches or so from the top of the curl, twist your hand farther so that your pinkie finger is higher than your thumb and forcibly tense the biceps. The pain of the contraction is very intense, but it’s well worth it. Do this with every rep of every dumbbell curl you perform and, over the long term, it should make a big dif erence in your arm development. In addition to supinating, I preferred to let the dumbbell “drag” behind to get a stronger contraction of the biceps. Most people start a curl with their wrists straight, then flex their wrists toward the shoulders for better leverage as they raise the weights. That essentially eliminates gravity and nullifies the final part of the movement, where the peak contraction can really be accentuated. But when I curled the weight, I let the dumbbell roll down my hand and settle in my fingers so that my wrist was extended throughout each rep, not flat or flexed as you usually see. This made for a longer lever arm and ensured that, even at the very top of the movement, the weight wouldn’t be supported by the forearm—the tension would be on my biceps and I could really squeeze at the top. All the while, of course, I was also supinating the forearm.

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