The biceps -- otherwise known as the biceps brachii -- is a two-headed muscle found on the upper arm between the elbow and the shoulder. Enlarging the biceps is popular for those who are interested in increasing the appearance of their upper body, and creating a more "toned" look. While many people rely on supplemental protein when it comes to getting big biceps fast, this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Understanding how to train the muscle, following a healthy diet, and getting adequate amounts of rest can all help when it comes to increasing biceps size.
Start Lifting Weights
According to the American Council on Exercise, strength training is key when it comes to increasing the size of your biceps. Bicep curls, upright rows, and even pushups are all great exercises that can be used to stress the biceps muscle. To promote increases in size, perform a low number of repetitions and a high number of sets of the exercises listed above. When done consistently, three to five sets of six to eight repetitions of dumbbell biceps curls, for example, will be effective when it comes to increasing bicep size.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Just because you don't want to use supplemental protein doesn't necessarily mean that you still can't follow a healthy diet. And, in fact, ACE says that eating 0.8 to 1.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight is more than enough when it comes to building muscle mass -- about the same amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. An average 150-pound male, therefore, should eat between 48 and 68 g of protein per day. When paired with low-fat dairy, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, a healthy diet can go a long way in increasing the size of your biceps.
Know How to Recover
Knowing how to recover can also help increase the size of your biceps. For optimal results in muscle hypertrophy, aim for two to three days per week of strength training. This gives the muscles an adequate amount of time to recuperate from the workout, and allows them to prepare for upcoming sessions. Delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS, is a good indicator of whether or not you're ready for resistance training -- if you are still sore even three days after a lifting session, hold out for another day or two.
Get Adequate Amounts of Sleep
Finally, be sure to get at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. In addition to allowing the body time to "de-stress" from the day, sleep helps muscle rest following resistance training sessions. Those who are new to exercise may need even more sleep to allow their muscles a complete recovery.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise