Building your biceps muscles means you must challenge your biceps with sufficient intensity to tear, repair, remodel and grow your muscle cells. If you are a beginning weight trainer, 20 pounds will definitely stimulate muscle gains at the front of your arms. Furthermore, changing your biceps routine will enhance the size of your biceps.
Overall Training Program
Your bicep muscles are engaged when you pick up weights for a variety of exercises, including dumbbell chest presses and dumbbell shoulder presses. Back exercises like pull-downs and rows strongly activate your biceps muscles. A well-rounded resistance training routine is essential to preventing muscular imbalances among your biceps, triceps and deltoids.
Slow Tempo Curls
To build muscle mass, you must use a weight that is heavy enough so you can only complete between six and 12 repetitions for four to six sets of each biceps exercise. Curling 20-lb. dumbbells will build your biceps if you stay within this range of repetitions. However, if you perform biceps curls using a four-second count during the upward and downward phase of the movement, you will change the intensity and build bigger biceps.
Fast Tempo Curls
Increasing the speed at which you perform each curl will also build bigger biceps. The risk with completing curls at a faster momentum is that you will swing your trunk. Strongly contract your core to stabilize your trunk so you are not swinging your body to lift the 20-lb. dumbbells quickly.
Negative set training is a method of lifting in which you contract and shorten your biceps using a normal, two-second count. But you must contract and elongate your biceps using a slow, five to 10-second count. Because this is a highly intense style of lifting weights, you would complete only six to eight repetitions per set.
Performing biceps curls using isometric contractions simply means you are keeping your biceps in one position. For instance, hold a 20-lb. dumbbell in each hand. Curl your right elbow until your forearm is parallel to the floor; hold this position for 10 seconds, then return to the start. Complete an isometric curl for your left biceps. You may do six to eight repetitions at this angle for each arm. Or you may vary the angle of your curl while holding each position for 10 seconds.
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- PubMed.gov: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand; Progression Models in Resistance Training for Adults