From the rank amateur to the seasoned professional, everybody wants to build big arms. Aside from maybe the bench press, we're willing to bet curls were the first bodybuilding exercise you ever tried. Below, we list some basic exercises that should help you reach those goals.
Objective – To pack size onto the biceps. This is the best mass builder, because it enables you to handle heavy weights with strict form.
Technique – Position yourself so that your feet are approximately shoulder–width apart. Take a palms–up, shoulder–width grip; let the bar extend down to arms' length to upper–thigh level; curl out and up in a wide arc, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Flex at the top of the movement, and resist on the negative motion.
Comments – "Never cheat by rocking back and forth or relying on momentum. A straight bar offers more total biceps contraction and peak than a cambered bar."
Volume – Four sets of 6–8 reps.
CAMBERED BAR PREACHER CURLS
Objective – To develop the lower biceps.
Technique – Sink the top of the pad into your armpits, with your triceps planted onto the working side (angled or vertical) of the bench. Grasp the bar with a thumbs–up grip, and, while keeping your body fixed, curl until your biceps are fully contracted at the top. Resist on the negative motion.
Comments – "The bench locks you into position so you cannot and should not cheat. Don't try, because the preacher position places so much isolated stress on your biceps joints, tendons and ligaments that you could easily tear one."
Volume – Three sets of 6–8 reps.
ONE-ARM PREACHER CURLS
Objective – To develop the lower biceps, but this time with more versatility to emphasize the inner or outer heads.
Technique – Fix your upper arm onto the working side of the preacher bench. Curl from full extension to maximum contraction at the top.
Comments – To focus on the inner head of the biceps, curl through an arc straight out in front of your body, supinating as you go. To focus on the outer head and brachialis, use more of a hammer-curl motion parallel to the pad, with your hand pronated.
Volume – Three set of 6–8 reps, each arm.
CABLE CONCENTRATION CURLS
Objective – To add quality; fine–tune and peak the biceps.
Technique – Hold onto a fixed support with your nonworking arm, for stability. Grasp the cable handle with your working arm. Keep your elbow stationary, and curl only by contracting the biceps. At the top, squeeze out a peak contraction; thus, reaping maximum benefit from the continuous tension offered by this cable movement.
Comments – This is an ideal exercise for utilizing the mind–muscle connection, as you "think" full power into the precise target spot of your biceps.
Volume – Two sets of 6–8 reps.
EIGHT-WEEK BICEPS BLAST
|Cambered bar preacher curls||3||6-8|
|One-arm preacher curls||3||6-8|
|Cable concentration curls||2||6-8|