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Best Pecs, Delts, and Biceps Training Methods


When there are so many options to pick from, creating a training program might be difficult. It's difficult to choose between all of the fascinating approaches and loading strategies.

However, not all muscles respond to different training regimens in the same manner. If you use the same approaches on every muscle area, you'll get less-than-ideal outcomes.

What is the reason for this? Some will point out that each muscle has a different fiber dominance (not all muscles have the same ratio of rapid twitch to slow twitch fibers), and this may be true. However, it is the location of stress in the range of motion that makes certain approaches more effective than others.

Slow eccentrics/negatives, for example, are fantastic for pressing workouts but not so much for pulling exercises. Stato-dynamic approaches, such as holds at the peak contraction, will be more successful for pulling.

Let's take a look at some of my favorite chest, shoulder, and biceps exercises. But first, let's review the two primary hypertrophic mechanisms. Understanding them can help you understand why some approaches are better for some muscles than others.


We're basically discussing muscle fiber injury and mTOR activation here. Activating mTOR and generating micro-trauma to your muscle fibers will cause your body to repair the muscle tissue, adding more protein to the fibers to make them more durable to future harm. The muscle fibers, and consequently the muscle itself, become bigger and stronger as a result of this.

When a muscle fiber is lengthened/stretched while exerting stress, it causes muscular injury. The more strain there is and the more a fiber is stretched, the more damage it will sustain.

This has three implications. To begin, you must have a complete range of motion. Second, the amount of intramuscular tension (force) must be increased, necessitating the use of rather heavy weights. Third, when the muscle fibers are extended, the tension must still be present.


Increase the level of local growth factors, which are anabolic hormones secreted within the muscles, to encourage growth. This is enhanced by building a large amount of lactate inside the muscle and depriving the muscle of oxygen.

You'll need a reasonably long set period (at least 30 seconds and up to 70) and consistent tension to achieve those two requirements (releasing muscle tension will allow some lactate to get out and some oxygen to get in).

Now that that's out of the way, here's a great way to bulk up your pecs, delts, and arm flexors.


Mechanical and metabolic stress approaches are both effective. As a result, one of my favorite pecs approaches is Charles Poliquin's 6-12-25 approach. It employs both mechanical and metabolic stress mechanisms.

It consists of a triple set for the same muscle group (three exercises performed in a row with minimum recovery). On one exercise, you go hard for 6 reps, then perform an intermediate rep range (12 reps) on another, and finally, you perform high reps on the last exercise (25).

This is what it would look like:

Dumbbell Bench (Exercise A1)


Slowly perform the eccentric or descending phase (around 3 seconds). Lift the chest up and bring the weights down to increase the strain in the bottom. Rep 6 times.

Dumbbell Flyes (Exercise A2)


There is no tension at the top, so don't go all the way up. Start at the full stretch and work your way up to about three-quarters of the way. Hold the bottom position for 1-2 seconds per rep, exaggerating the stretch. Perform 12 repetitions.

Cable Crossover (Exercise A3)



Do your reps in an isokinetic manner: control both the down and up movements, then squeeze for a second or two at the peak contraction. Perform 25 repetitions.


When you use pressing exercises to enhance your shoulders, you're mostly targeting the anterior delts, which are already severely stimulated by bench pressing, dumbbell flyes, and pec decking.

There's probably no good reason to work on your anterior delts. While overhead pressing can be included in your routine, you'll need some direct training for the medial region of the shoulder, such as lateral raises, for maximum shoulder growth.

But here's the thing: lateral rises are really difficult to make successful. All types of lateral raises are ineffective, especially those that focus on causing muscle injury (fairly heavy weights for 5-10 reps).

What is the reason for this? Because stretching/lengthening muscle fibers while they are exerting a lot of strain causes muscular injury. There is little stress when the fibers are at their maximum stretched during lateral/front rises, therefore there is very little risk of muscle damage.

So you'll have to rely on the metabolic pathway, which means you'll have to go for the burn, dude. Or, to put it another way, aiming for the buildup of lactate and hydrogen ions that will lead to the release of growth factors.

Another thing to note is that the bottom third of the lateral raise is tension-free or has a very low amount of tension. When you're "going for the burn," that relaxation point causes some of these metabolites to leave the muscle, making it more difficult to accumulate enough for growth factor release.

Also, you can easily create just enough momentum in the bottom third of the range of motion to lessen tension for the majority of the range of motion (without even realizing it).

That's why it's difficult to make the usual lateral raise work. However, there are ways to make it better. Here's how you should perform your reps:


Lateral Raise



    * Don’t bring your arms all the way down. Stop before your reach that bottom third range to keep tension on the delts.
    * Perform the concentric/lifting portion fairly slowly (2 seconds up). Focus on flexing the delts, not moving the weight up.
    * Think about pushing the weights away from your side as far as possible. The fact that they go up is a side effect of pushing away. Keep your arms straight, no elbow bend.
    * Lift the weights until your hands are in line with the shoulder joint and hold that position for a second.
    * Lower the weight under control (2 seconds) and stop before your reach the bottom third.

Yes, you will be using lighter weights. That's all right. Lifting large weights or even gaining weight isn't part of the metabolic route. The goal is to collect as many metabolites as possible. It's more effective the more it burns.

Do the Gironda 808 with lateral rises using all of these techniques. You'll perform 8 sets of 8 reps with a load that you can lift 12 times. Between sets, take only a few seconds to rest. 15-30 seconds, according to Gironda. (At the very least, shoot for 45 seconds until you've improved your conditioning.)

During the workout, you can also change the rest intervals. Starting with 15 seconds of break between sets, for example, is a good place to start. If you don't think 15 seconds will be enough after set 4, and you won't be able to complete 8 reps on the next set, you can rest for up to 30 seconds.

Basically, you aim to complete 8 sets of 8 with the same weight and as little rest as possible between sets. Complete all of your reps while obtaining a good pump. You're not doing it right if it doesn't burn like crazy by set three!


Because normal curls don't fully achieve a stretched position, most biceps exercises fail to maximize muscle damage... Unless you're doing curls on an incline bench with your arms really pulled back. In most free-weight curling workouts, however, the prolonged posture has far less strain.

As a result, the metabolic stress pathway is the ideal technique to train biceps. Mechanical drop sets are an excellent technique to accomplish this. As a superset, this strategy consists of combining three variations of the same exercise. For all variations, you utilize the same weight.

Start with the weakest variation and finish with the strongest. When you can no longer get reps in the first variation, you’ll still be able to get a few in the second movement, then a few more on the third exercise.

It’s similar to a drop set, but instead of dropping the weight, you “drop” to an easier exercise.

Here are a few combos to try:



Combo 1

    A1. Lean-away curl
    A2. Standing curl
    A3. Lean forward curl

Combo 2

    A1. Reverse curl on EZ-bar
    A2. Wide-grip curl on EZ-bar
    A3. Narrow-grip curl on EZ-bar

Combo 3

    A1. Barbell curl, back and triceps on wall
    A2. Barbell curl, back on wall (allowed to move arms)
    A3. Slightly cheated barbell curl

Use a weight you can get 8-12 reps with on the first exercise. Go close to failure on the first two exercises and all the way to failure on the last.


If you want big arms, developing the brachialis is a must. This muscle sits underneath the biceps and it’ll thicken up your arms and increase your biceps peak. If you’re lean enough, it’s the golf-ball-like muscle that’ll pop out on the side of your arm.

Here are four characteristics regarding the brachialis and training:

    It’s more active when using a neutral (hammer) grip.
    It responds better to slow contractions. It’s more slow-twitch dominant.
    It responds well to spending more time in the peak contraction since it’s involved in maintaining your arm flexed under load.
    It’s hard to stretch under load, so heavy loading won’t work very well to develop it. We must rely more on the metabolic pathway (longer time under load and constant tension).

For those reasons, my favorite way to develop the brachialis is the 1.5 rep method performed at the top of the range. This means doing the top half of the movement twice on each rep.

Curl the weight all the way up. Bring it down halfway, curl it back up, lower it all the way down. That’s ONE rep.

    Select a hammer curl variation, rope or dumbbells.
    Perform the reps under control, slowly and with constant speed. This is even more important for the half-rep portion.
    Focus on keeping the muscles flexed for every inch of every rep.

Your reps will look like this:

    Curl the weight all the way up in around 2 seconds.
    Bring the weight halfway down slowly.
    Curl it back up, flexing the muscle as hard as you can.
    Bring the weight all the way down in around 2 seconds.

Do 8-10 reps this way.