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What Are Considered Big Biceps?

author image Jolie Johnson
Based in Austin, Texas, Jolie Johnson has been in the fitness industry for over 12 years and has been writing fitness-related articles since 2008 for various websites. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Illinois.
What Are Considered Big Biceps?
A close up of a man's bicep flexing. Photo Credit shakzu/iStock/Getty Images

Biceps are the muscles on the front of your upper arm -- they are considered the "show" muscles. If asked to flex your muscles, you are likely to intuitively flex your biceps. No standards exist in the fitness world for how big your biceps should be. Having "big" biceps is relative to your body frame size and overall musculature.

Big Biceps

Isaac Nesser holds the record for the world's largest arms. In a relaxed state, his upper arms measure 29 inches. The official basketball of the National Basketball Association is 29.5 inches in circumference. Nesser has a large frame to match his biceps. He is 6 feet tall and weighs more than 350 lbs. He uses up to 315 lbs. for the barbell curl exercise.


For you to have big biceps, you don't need to match the size of Nesser's arms. If your biceps are easily visible when you aren't flexing, you already have big biceps. Proportion and symmetry are more important than pure size, especially for bodybuilders. Your arm size should match the rest of your body frame. The idea of the perfect physique is subjective, but bodybuilders often use the measurements of classic physiques, such as those of the Greek and Roman statues, to create a sense of proper symmetry. According to the proportions of these statues, your bicep should be a little more than twice the size of your wrist. Another well-respected physique is that of Steve Reeves, a professional bodybuilder in the 1950s. According to Reeves' proportions, your bicep should be 252 percent larger than your wrist.

Get Big Biceps

To get big biceps, you need to train not only your biceps, but also your entire body. Lifters with huge biceps don't have flat chests and small backs. Back exercises work your biceps and chest exercises work your triceps. Focus on compound, multi-joint exercises, such as squats, presses and rows. Start your biceps workouts with rows, pulldowns and pullups. Finish off with biceps isolation exercises, such as dumbbell curls, cable curls and preacher curls.


To measure your biceps, you relax your arm down at your side and wrap a tape measure around the middle of your upper arm, at the halfway point between your shoulder and elbow. Although called a biceps measurement, you actually measure your upper arm, which includes your triceps, the muscles on the back of your arm. You cannot measure your biceps alone. If you want large biceps, work your triceps muscles, which comprise the majority of your upper arm.

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