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No matter how long you’ve been training, when asked what body part you wish were bigger (no, not that one…) nearly every one of you will respond with one of two answers:
There’s something about having an impressive upper body that’s simply awesome, and there’s no clearer way to show that you know your way around the weights than with a broad chest and bulging pair of biceps.
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, your biceps are less than adequate, in your opinion, and you’re ready to make some serious changes. The good news is, help is on the way, courtesy of Primeval Labs athlete and IFBB Pro Regan Grimes.
In this video, Regan will show you three of his favorite exercises to build bigger biceps and grow the arms of a champion.
The spider curl is a great way to isolate the bicep as it takes the shoulders out of the equation and eliminates momentum so there’s no swinging the weights up and down.
To perform the chest-supported spider curl, begin by setting the bench angle to approximately 60 degrees. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie chest-down on the bench while planting the balls of your feet firmly into the floor.
Dumbbells in hand, extend your arms so that they are hanging down and out in front of you with palms facing forward. Make sure your glutes are tight and then contract the biceps to curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder, focusing on squeezing the muscle as hard as possible at the top of the movement.
Hold the peak contraction for a count of one and then slowly lower the weight under control to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Regan likes to spider curls one arm at a time, with all reps completed on one side before performing the other.
Doing so allows him to really focus on the contraction in his bicep and get a tremendous squeeze, which helps bring more blood into the bicep while also delivering a bigger, nastier muscle pump.
Cables are fantastic for training the biceps as they allow for continuous tension to be maintained on the biceps throughout the entire range of motion from the arm fully extended to the elbow fully flexed. This means there’s no break or loss of mechanical tension on the muscle as there is when using free weights.
Similar to the spider curl above, Regan likes to perform these using one arm at a time. However, instead of performing all reps for one arm and then performing them on the other, he alternates back and forth.
To perform the single-arm cable curl, attach a D-handle to the low pulley of a cable machine.
Grab the handle and step forward facing away from the machine until there is tension on the cable and your arm is pulled slightly behind your body.
Contract the biceps and curl the handle up towards your shoulder, but do not allow your elbow to come forward past the torso. Doing so involves more of the shoulder and reduces loading on the biceps.
The reason for facing away from the cable station and not towards it as many people do when performing cable curls is that you are able to place a greater stretch on the biceps, which forces them to do more work each repetition and helps remove the shoulders from the exercise.
A key tip from Regan is to turn your torso away from the back, “opening” the chest up. This helps to stretch out the biceps, even more, forcing them to move through a greater range of motion and do more work.
Regan also likes to focus on driving his elbow down into the pad, so that he has a stable base from which to work and transfer that power into his biceps, creating a powerful, strong contraction.
To perform the preacher curl, set up a preacher bench so the top of the pad fits securely under your armpit. Keep your feet flat on the floor and flex your bicep as you bring the dumbbell as high as you can.
Hold the peak contraction for a count of one before slowly lowering the dumbbell down to the starting position. Additionally, make sure to stop just short of full elbow extension to avoid losing tension on the biceps.
Chest Supported Spider Curl: 3 sets for 10-15 reps
Single-Arm Cable Curl: 3 sets for 10-12 reps
Single-Arm Preacher Curl: 3 sets 12-15 reps
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