Sculpt your lower biceps with a three-step exercise routine.June 30, 2008Written by FLEX Staff
Big upper biceps are nice and all, but to be perfectly honest, they're nothing without a nice set of lower biceps to accompany them. Regardless of how high your biceps peaks might be, if your bicep bulk does not swell all the way down to your elbow, you'll appear to have only half an upper arm.
To avoid this funny-looking result, we've provided a three-step exercise to fully work your bis all the way around, down to your elbows, and back.
EXERCISE ONE: SEATED ALTERNATE DUMBBELL CURLS
Don't start with a barbell exercise because the heaviest way to hit the total cross section of the lower biceps is to get in as many supinations and peak contractions as possible, and you can't supinate (turn the wrist) with a barbell.
At the bottom, let the dumbbell twist slightly counterclockwise, so that the palm of your hand actually faces somewhat downward. As you curl, twist the dumbbell clockwise. At the top, get a further crimp for a peak contraction, but if you use such heavy dumbbells, you will be limited in the degree that you're able to twist them.
Keep your back perfectly straight, don't rock or lean, and press your elbows very tightly against your sides. Make every rep painfully slow so that the entire range of motion is effective. Also, never use the trampoline method of any exercise. Bouncing the weight is giving you only a partial workout, and defeating the purpose of each movement. Man up and suffer the pain of the weight burning your muscles. It's called "weightlifting" for a reason.
The next thing you want to keep in mind is to curl only as far as your elbow allows. If someone is curling to eye level, his shoulder is pushing the weight through the last 30 or 40 degrees; that extra margin is all rest for the biceps. When your upper arm is fixed against your side, the very top of your range of motion is at chest level, and your biceps remain under tension.
If you are using a significantly heavy weight, make sure your warm-up is virtually a workout in itself. First, curl a 20-pound bar for 10 reps then pyramid through 10-pound intervals of 10 reps each, finishing with a 70-pound bar for 10 reps. At that point, you're ready for your working sets.
Always take every set to failure; otherwise, there's no point in doing it.
EXERCISE TWO: CLOSE-GRIP CAMBERED-BAR PREACHER CURLS
Body position and grip are the important points to remember here. Don't drape yourself flaccidly over the preacher bench like a rag doll. Instead, lean your body forward to prevent yourself from leaning back and using your body for leverage. Your shoulders, arms and body are all fixed into position, which means that only your biceps can move the bar.
A wider grip hits primarily the brachialis and forearms. With an extremely close grip, range of motion is limited, but use all that your elbows allow.
Do four sets of these, all to failure, the first set for 12-15 reps and the last three in the six- to eight-rep range.
Sculpt your lower biceps with a three-step exercise routine.
June 30, 2008
Written by FLEX Staff
EXERCISE THREE: ONE-ARM DUMBBELL SPIDER CURLS
Again, use the same over-the-top body position, with your upper arm plastered against the vertical side of the preacher bench to maintain the range of motion.
In contrast to seated alternate dumbbell curls, do not supinate these. If you let the dumbbell twist on the way down, it places an uncomfortable torque stress on your brachialis and elbow tendons. Keep it perfectly level throughout.
The range of motion, however, is the same as for any dumbbell curl. Start each rep by letting your arm hang straight down at full extension. This targets the lower biceps. (Stop short of full extension and you miss the lower biceps altogether.) Then curl as high as your elbow will allow, which in this case is approximately horizontal, again maintaining continuous tension.
Do four sets, all to failure, the first for 12-15 reps and the last three in the six- to eight-rep range.
GO FOR IT
The final word of advice to heed is to picture what results you are looking to reach, and just do it. Do you want arms that mirror mountain ranges or mountain peaks? If you want biceps that extend along your upper arm like the bodybuilding messiah, Arnold Schwarzenegger, then these three fail-proof techniques for major bicep bulking are your answer. Try this routine once a week, follow perfect form, go to failure on the prescribed sets, and you'll raise your lower biceps to new heights.