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4 Advanced Tips To Build Bigger Biceps

Look at Dwayne Johnson’s biceps and one thing becomes obvious: “He has some very special genetics working in his favor,” says Dr. Brad Schoenfeld.

But even if tree-trunk sized arms aren’t written into your DNA, you can still optimise what is.

“Just so we’re clear, that doesn’t mean performing endless sets of curls,” says Schoenfeld. “Hammering away at one exercise doesn't mean you'll get big biceps that pop – you have to work the full spectrum of muscle fibers throughout your arm in multiple ways from multiple angles.”

And that’s exactly what you’ll do (i.e. get big biceps) if you follow these tips.

Curl With Your Little Finger

One of the main purposes of the biceps muscle is to rotate the hand. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and hold onto the bicep of that arm with your opposing hand, now rotate the hand on the bent arm so your palm is facing down and then rotate so it is facing up, without changing the angle of your elbow. You will feel your biceps contract as you move into supination (palms facing up) and relax when your hand is pronated (palm facing down). So, when doing any kind of bicep curl, especially dumbbells, lead with your little finger! Imagine trying to turn your little finger out all the way through the movement to recruit maximum amount of muscle fibre.

Use an Offset Grip

Basic anatomy tells us that our biceps are not only elbow flexors, but they’re also forearm supinators. Based on this, we’ve found the best way to ensure maximal biceps recruitment when doing dumbbell biceps curls is to hit both (resisted) elbow flexion and forearm supination by holding the handle in a unique way.

Here’s a new gripping strategy we use, which I can promise will give you a much better biceps pump!

Instead of gripping the dumbbell from the middle (in the traditional manner), grip toward the thumb side with your hand as far to this side as possible.

Doing this will force you to resist forearm pronation by using more of your biceps as supinators while you perform the biceps dumbbell curl exercise as long as you perform them.

Understand the Strength Curve

The strength curve describes the amount of force a muscle will apply through a specific range of movement. For example, during a preacher bicep curl more force is required at the bottom of the movement, where as a spider curl (leaning over a bench with arms hanging) will need the biceps to produce more force near the contraction point of the exercise to complete the movement. So when training biceps you want to select exercises that overload at three points (low range, mid range and upper range) of the strength curve.

Dig deep

Underneath your biceps lies another muscle called the brachialis. “Building it pushes your biceps up, making it look larger,” says Schoenfeld. “But to target the brachialis, you have to make the biceps less active.”

Do that by performing a reverse curl instead of a traditional one. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at arms length next to your sides, palms facing back. Without moving your upper arms, curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, and then lower the weights back to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 reps.