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Why Won't My Biceps Grow Bigger?

by
author image Stan Mack
Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.
Why Won't My Biceps Grow Bigger?
Bicep curls develop arm muscles. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Weightlifters often hit plateaus where it seems like their workouts do nothing to increase muscles. Design a workout program that avoids common problems that minimize muscle growth. For every bicep exercise you perform, use the correct amount of weight. One set of an exercise should fatigue your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions. If you can do more than that, increase the weight.

Too Few Calories

To build muscle, your body converts surplus calories into muscle tissue. If you don't eat enough calories during a typical day, no matter how hard you exercise your biceps, your body will not add mass. Muscle gain requires a surplus of at least 200 calories a day, according to the American Dietetic Association. Use an online calorie counter to determine your daily caloric needs. Then add enough food to your diet to surpass your daily caloric needs by 200 calories. For best results, eat a healthy diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, nuts and seeds. This ensures your body gets a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, healthy fats and nutrients.

Insufficient Protein

If your diet is too low in protein, exercising won't lead to muscle gain. Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, which are necessary for building muscle. Protein sources should make up 15 percent to 20 percent of your daily calories, or between 1.4 and 1.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, according to the ADA. Healthy sources include eggs, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. A large egg has 6 g of protein, a cup of low fat milk has 8 g and a 3-oz. piece of chicken breast has 27 g of protein.

Ineffective Workout

If the bicep exercises you perform don't stress your muscles enough, there won't be sufficient muscle breakdown to spur growth. For example, if you don't complete a bicep curl slowly along a full range of motion, you won't get as much benefit from the exercise. Watch expert muscle builders to learn how to use correct form during an exercise. Rows, bicep curls, wrist curls and chinups are a few typical exercises that, performed correctly, will lead to larger biceps. If possible, hire a personal trainer to demonstrate various bicep exercises for you.

Not Enough Rest

If you exercise your biceps every day, chances are they will not increase in size. Your body needs time to rebuild muscle. Schedule your bicep workouts so that they fall on non-consecutive days. For example, exercise your upper body on one day and your lower body on the next. This prevents overexertion of particular muscle groups, which could minimize muscle gain.

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