Grow those Biceps!

By on 30 September, 2015

Today’s post is an overview of one of my personal bicep routines. This workout will blast your biceps and add inches within a few weeks. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Whenever I get to the gym, before doing anything I’ll do some light cardio for 5 minutes just to get the blood flowing. This could be treadmill, rowing machine, bike, etc. After that, grab a light barbell and do 30-40 controlled reps of barbell curls. If you feel you need a bit more, grab a pair of light dumbells and do 20 reps on each arm of standing bicep curls. You should be ready now for a hard bicep session.

Standing Barbell Curls

I believe there are some fundamental moves when it comes to training, and for me standing barbell curls is one of them. This is a great one to start with because it will quickly send the blood to the bicep and give you a good pump. This will also help with the overall size and strength of the bicep.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width, grab the barbell about shoulder width with the thumbs closed over the bar (palms facing forward). Your elbows should be on your sides, in line with your body. Arms completely straight.

Now, keeping your elbows in position, lift the forearm to bring the barbell up towards your chin. Your upper arm should remain stationary. When you get to the top, squeeze your bicep for 2 seconds and then bring the barbell back down in a controlled manner. It should take about 2-4 seconds to bring the barbell down again. Make sure that you come all the way down to the starting position (i.e. arms straight). That’s one repetition.

Incline Dumbbell Curls

Next we’re going to grab an adjustable bench/seat and move the back of the seat to about 60 degrees incline (a bit more than you would use for incline press). Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on the bench with your arms hanging on the sides. Your palm should be facing inwards or even backwards if you can (by turning the palm of your hands inwards towards the back). Now, lift one arm and at the same time rotate your hand from in to out until your palm is facing up. Bring the dumbbell towards your shoulder. All the time, keep your upper arm as stationary as possible. Hold it here for 2-3 seconds while squeezing your bicep, then bring the arm back down to the starting position in a controlled manner (rotating the hand to the starting position as well). Now the other hand. Once you have curled on both arms, you have completed one repetition.

This exercise will help to add thickness to the bicep because it engages the brachialis which is the muscle on the outside of the arm (similar to hammers which we will cover in another routine).

Preacher Curls

One of my favorite exercises to get a good pump. This exercise will help to increase the peak of the bicep. It is also a great exercise to build strength.

Take the EZ bar and the preacher curl bench (see picture). Grip the bar on the inner section with palms facing up. So out of the 2 angled parts of of the bar, grab the inner ones and in a way that feels natural (you’ll feel it, but basically your palms should end up facing slightly towards each other while remaining up). Start with your hands closer to your shoulders, and in a controlled manner, lower the bar by dropping your hands and straightening the elbow. On the ending position, there is a fine balance between having your arms straight enough to work the muscle adequately but not straightening too much which can end up hurting the elbow. You need to have your arm about 80%-90% straight at the ending position. If you can get to that point, you might have the weight too heavy. Reduce the weight, get the form correct and build it up slowly.

From the bottom, hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then bring the hands back up towards the shoulders to complete one repetition.

Hammer Strength Preacher Curl

The preacher curl bench with EZ bar. (Photo credit: Official Hammer Strength site)


Reverse Barbell Curls

To end it off, we are going give the biceps some work from a different angle and do some work on the forearm (especially the brachioradialis). Take another EZ bar, but make sure that it is a lot lighter than what you used on the preacher curls. You are going to stand and hold the bar in the same spot as before but this time with the palms facing downwards (or towards the back if your arms are straight down). Stand with arms straight down. This is the starting position. Now lift the forearm up by bending the elbow, bring the forearm up as far as you can (the angle between the forearm and upper arm should be less than 90 degrees), hold for 2-3 seconds and then bring the arm back down in a controlled manner. Your upper arm should hardly move. This is one repetition.

The Routine

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the exercises, let’s talk about the routine. This routine should be followed for 12 weeks. After that, we can change it up a bit to ensure the body doesn’t get too used to it and stop responding. But for now, stick to this routine, once a week, for 12 weeks.

Between each set, take a 30-60 second rest. After each set, you tense your bicep for a few seconds to help with the pump. We will superset the last 2 exercises to get a good pump and burn at the end of the routine. On the same day you can train chest or triceps. If you do chest, do it before biceps. If you do triceps, do it after biceps.

bicep routine

Barbell Curls: Take a weight heavy enough to basically have you at failure by rep 12 on the fourth set. Try and choose your weight in a way that you can maintain the same weight for all four sets. Not too light though. It should be the max you can handle for four sets of 12.

Incline Dumbbell Curls: Increase the weight and decrease the reps on each consecutive set so that you are almost failing on the last rep of each set. Remember that one repetition includes both arms. So 6 reps means that each arm does the movement six times.

Preacher and reverse barbell curls: Super set these two exercises. This means that when you finish a set of the preacher curls, you immediately do a set of revers barbell curls. Then, immediately back to preacher curls, and so on. No rest in between sets. You might need to reduce the weight slightly on each consecutive set to ensure you complete all the reps.

Remember to maintain good form at all times and controlled movement. If you cannot do so, reduce the weight to a level that allows you to execute the exercise effectively. Reach out if you need any details on specifics. I’ll be happy to assist.


Keep growing and stay healthy!

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