Getting big biceps at the age of 50 requires proper training and nutrition. Resistance training workouts inflict muscular damage and the food you eat provides the nutrients required for your body to rebuild muscles bigger and stronger. Even if your focus is developing big biceps, you should still attempt to train all the body's muscle groups evenly to prevent imbalance and/or injury. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any resistance training program.
Train your biceps one or two days per week, preferably with two to three days of recovery between workouts. Keep your workouts under 60 minutes to prevent the buildup of the stress hormone cortisol, which cannibalizes muscle tissue, according to "The Cortisol Connection" by Shawn Talbott. At the age of 50, you are very susceptible to muscle loss due to declining levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone and/or human growth hormone.
Use eight to 12 repetitions for all sets to trigger muscle hypertrophy, also known as muscle growth. Lower rep ranges, from five to six repetitions for example, target strength and power development. Any repetitions above 12 reps target the endurance components of muscle fibers, according to natural bodybuilding expert Tom Venuto.
Workout progressively by adding weights incrementally, 5 to 10 lbs. at a time, as you get bigger and stronger. Without increasing the resistance, you cannot apply adequate growth stimulus to your muscles, say "3-D Muscle-Building" authors Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman. They also recommend taking each working set to positive failure. Training to failure means stopping your set only when you can no longer perform a controlled repetition.
Start each workout with a mass-building compound exercise for the biceps. Barbell curls make an excellent exercise to build the biceps, according to "The Best Muscle-Building Moves of All Time" by Chris Logan. After a warm-up with a lighter weight, perform one or two sets of 12 repetitions. Other compound biceps exercises include curl-grip pullups, with palms facing your body, dumbbell curls and preacher curls.
Perform one or two sets of an exercise that triggers stretch overload in the biceps. Incline dumbbell curls allow a full stretch in the biceps muscle. According to Lawson and Holman, animal studies show a 300 percent lean mass increase in response to stretch overload in only a month of stretching against resistance.
Do one or two sets of an isolation exercise that allows full contraction at the top of the movement. Concentration curls make an excellent contracted-position exercise, according to "Advanced Mass Building" by Jeff Anderson. Fully contract the biceps at the top of each repetition.
If your goal is to develop bigger arms, remember that the triceps muscle makes up 2/3 of total arm mass.
Drink a protein shake with 60 to 100 g of high-glycemic carbohydrates like dextrose or sugar immediately after your workout.
Never train to failure without a spotter.
- "The Cortisol Connection;" Shawn Talbott; 2002
- "The Holy Grail Body Transformation;" Tom Venuto; 2010
- "3-D Muscle-Building;" Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman; 2006
- "Muscle & Performance;" The Best Muscle-Building Moves of All Time;" Chris Logan; May 2010
- "Advanced Mass Building;" Jeff Anderson; 2009