Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bigger Biceps

3 Things You Don't Know About Your Biceps

1. The visibility of your cephalic vein, which crosses your biceps, has nothing to do with how many curls you can perform. To make this vein pop, you need to drop your body fat below 15 percent. Don't be surprised if the vein is more pronounced on one arm than the other: Genetics also play a key role in determining its prominence.

2. Under a microscope, some muscle fibers look pinnated, or feather shaped. But the biceps's long parallel fibers give them the ability to bulge. This means that devoting just a little attention to your biceps, especially compared with other muscle groups, goes a long way toward making them grow.

3. The average guy's biceps are composed of about 1 pound of muscle. For both of your arms combined, that's just 3 percent of the amount of muscle mass in your entire body. Remember that number: It's a good way to keep a perspective on how much you train your biceps compared with your other muscle groups.

Close-Grip Chinup

Grab a chinup bar with an underhand grip, your hands spaced about 6 inches apart. Hang with your arms straight. Keeping your face straight ahead and your elbows pointed down, pull yourself up until the bar is directly under your chin. Then lower yourself to the starting position.
Stare straight ahead at all times--it will limit momentum.

Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Grab a dumbbell in each hand, using an underhand grip (palms facing forward). Let them hang at arm's length next to your sides. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights up toward your shoulders, then slowly lower them.

If your elbows move forward, you're cheating. Keep them pointing down.

Dumbbell Incline Offset-Grip Curl

Set an incline bench to a 60-degree angle, then grab a dumbbell in each hand so your thumbs touch the plates (instead of holding the center of the handle). Lie on the bench holding the dumbbells at arm's length, palms facing each other. As you curl the weights, rotate your wrists so your palms face you at the top of the move. Reverse to the starting position.

Grasp the weight so your hand is against the side of the plate, not in the center.

Rope Cable Hammer Curl

Attach a rope to a low-pulley cable and stand 1 to 2 feet in front of the weight stack. Grab an end of the rope in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). With your elbows tucked at your sides, slowly curl your fists up toward your shoulders, then return to the starting position.

Don't allow your wrists to bend as you curl the weight.

Towel Inverted Row

Lie under a Smith machine or squat rack with your legs straight and a bar set a few inches higher than arm's length. Loop two small towels over the bar, spaced shoulder-width apart. Grab each towel. Keeping your body straight, pull yourself toward the bar. Pause, then slowly lower yourself.

Using towels challenges your grip, so it also builds your forearms.

Dumbbell Single-Arm Isometric Curl

Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the weight in your left hand until your elbow is bent 90 degrees. Holding that position, curl the weight in your right hand toward your shoulder, then lower it. Complete your reps while maintaining a right angle with your left arm. Repeat on the other side.
Keep one arm bent 90 degrees as you curl with your other arm.

Hard Move, Harder Muscle

Ready for a challenge? Try this exercise at the end of your biceps workout. Do two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds after each set.

Single-Arm Cross Curl

Stand between the weight stacks of a cable crossover station and grab a high-pulley handle in each hand, with your palms up. Hold your arms out to the sides so they're parallel to the floor, but keep your elbows slightly bent. Without moving your left arm, curl your right hand toward your head. Flex your biceps. Then slowly allow your arm to straighten--control the weight throughout the exercise. Repeat the move with your other arm.

Keep your upper arms parallel to the floor at all times.

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