Home Archives 2011 July 29

Daily Archives: Jul 29, 2011

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The average male athlete who starts weight training is often fixated with getting ‘huge’ arms! The fascination of bulging biceps and triangular triceps leads these lads upon a quest to find out the secrets which lie behind the construction of a rippling pair of arms. This is why FitMag are going to do a ‘’ABC guide to Big Arms’’ series. Let’s start with a comprehensive guide to bicep training.

Training your biceps isn’t as straight forward as you think, there are several mistakes people make which tend to hold them back.

Your biceps are made of two separate heads, the long head (inner head) and the short head (outer head). Therefore you must use a diverse biceps workout to ensure you are stimulating both heads and not just the one. Normally, the long head does most of the work during a biceps workout therefore people’s arm development looks impressive with a front on double bicep pose, yet from the side they look a little weak.

Now you understand the importance of training biceps properly to develop a full looking arm, here are some ‘’do’s and don’ts’’ for you!

Do’s –

. Train your biceps once a week doing between 7-9 working sets, WHY?

To avoid over training.

. Use exercises which will hit your inner and outer heads every workout, WHY?

To ensure you develop strong looking biceps from all angles.

. Control the negative on every repetition

To keep the tension on the biceps at all times.

. Change the range of repetitions you do each workout, WHY?

To hit slow and fast twitch muscle fibres and stretch the fascia with high volumes of blood in the muscle.

Don’ts –

. Swing the weight up, WHY?

This takes the tension and focus off the biceps leading to poor rates of growth. You also risk the chances of injuring your back and shoulder joint.

. Use weight which is too heavy for you

This leads to poor form, it doesn’t stimulate the muscle and you won’t make any progress.

. Train your biceps every workout

Over training is a common reason as to why people can’t make their arms grow!

. Train your biceps for 45-60 minutes

This is way too long to train your biceps! They are a small muscle group therefore 30 minutes is sufficient to ‘total’ them!

There are some very basic rules which are key to building an awesome set of biceps. If you overlook the fundamentals then your arms won’t ever grow the way you want them to, unless you have genetics like Zack Khan in which case you probably don’t need to read this!!!

With that all said and done, here are three bicep workouts which covers all of the fundamental rules. Remember, variation is key therefore I suggest you cycle these workouts on a 3 week rotor.

Workout 1

3 X alternating dumbbell curls 8-12 repetitions

3 X close grip rope cable curls 8-12 repetitions

3 X concentration curls 8-12 repetitions

Workout 2

4 X close grip EZ curls 12-16 repetitions

3 X seated dumbbell curls 12-16 repetitions

2 X 21s

Workout 3

3 X barbell curls 50 repetitions (stop/start to failure)

2 X alternating cable curls 30 repetitions then drop set to do 20 more repetitions

1 X barbell/machine preacher curls 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 repetitions with 40 seconds rest between sets

There you go a comprehensive break down of bicep training. It is vital that you use a diverse range of training to really stimulate growth in your biceps. It is also imperative that you don’t under any circumstances cheat with poor form because you won’t stimulate any growth, which is why you are in the gym right? In the second part of this series we will be talking about the fundamentals of building a set of killer triceps!

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I just have to open by saying that I’m genuinely impressed and at the same time a little disappointed after my weekend. With both a race and a gym session planned it was always going to be very telling, there would be no hiding and I would get a good idea of exactly how things are coming on with mine and The Bulge’s training. This was going to be the first time in our schedule that we would get to train together after 4 weeks of going it alone.

 I’ll start with the race on Saturday morning. I had a brief conversation with the Bulge at work on Fri. He reliably informed me he was looking forward to this weekend, in part because he’s enjoying his running and also because he’d dug out a club receipt for a casual 800 beans! Naturally he was burying his sorrows and his hangover with two burritos- I didn’t have the heart to argue with his nutritional choices. Our third race was a 10k at Dorney Lake in Buckinghamshire. It’s a glorious venue and the weather was equally impressive, all that was missing was our Trophy, but she was in Spain bronzing herself and there was nothing that could be done about that. The Bulge was really impressive on this run, nothing short of inspirational; for the 10k he managed 38:52, easily under the sub 40 target and his own personal best. I love seeing him succeed and my mind wonders what he might achieve if he wasn’t sucking on a cigarette a whole 60 seconds after the race. 40 minutes for a 10k and a fag, the figures speak for themselves. Impressive!!!

 Sunday however was the other side of the coin. Fresh from victory on the track he was keen to get into the gym and this was the first time we had trained together in well over a year. I thought I would treat him to a couple of scoops of PhD’s V-Max pump before the session. The caffeine would provide some stimulation and the creatine will certainly aid recovery. We opted for a chest/shoulders session, the staple of many a gym goer and the default setting for your casual blow-the-dust-off type afternoon.


All 5 sets of 8. Military press, decline bench, flat bench, incline bench, and flies on the cable machine.

Military press 40kg. This transgressed into more of a push press with much of the lifting being done with the legs as the Bulge found his shoulders fatiguing after the third set. 

Decline bench- 22kg. I know he was disappointed with this and to be honest it won’t be long till he’s up in the high twenties.

Bench- 60kg. Reasonably comfortable with the bench but really should be aiming to increase the weight within a few weeks.

Incline bench- 16kg. Having fatigued many of his shoulder/chest muscles required for this exercise he found this particularly hard.

Cable flies- 70kg. I’m not sure whether it was the cable machine or the fact he knew it was our last exercise but he put the effort in and put up some good numbers. Good jog he took the PhD V-Max!!!

All in all it had been a great weekend and a good chance to really see how things are progressing. His cardio is certainly well above expectation and confusingly impressive. We just need to focus on a few isolated resistance movements during the week and some bigger compound exercises on the weekend to increase his size and strength. We’re on the right track and it’s probably best that his gym experience has come in at the bottom end of the scale because you can only get better from here. We’re free from races now for a few weeks so no excuse not to spend some time in the gym. You have to be cruel to be kind- BULGE GET IN THE GYM!!