If you want to increase the strength and size of your biceps, we have good news: There are plenty of isolation exercises you can add to your routine to increase the size of your arms — and progressive overload is the key to bigger biceps.
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The Best Exercise for Bigger Biceps
As with all muscles in the body, you need to create an appropriate training program to increase your biceps size. When your muscle is exposed to the same stimulus or weight, it will adapt over time, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). So, if you're curling the same weight every time you train your biceps, your muscles will adapt and stay the same size — not the goal.
So, to achieve hypertrophy (muscle growth), you need to set up a progressive overload regime, according to NASM. This means that you need to gradually increase the resistance of your weights over time. (Feel free to lift fewer reps if it makes it easier for you to lift more weight.)
There are several exercises that isolate your biceps. You can try standard curls or hammer curls with dumbbells. To add variety, try curling a barbell or using a cable machine. No matter the curl variation, avoid rocking your body and using momentum to lift the dumbbell back up.
In order to increase blood flow and definition in your biceps, you can also implement drop sets in your workout routine, according to the American Council on Exercise. To perform a drop set, repeat an exercise to fatigue. Take a brief rest, decrease the weight and perform the exercise again until you can't perform another rep.
Read more: Back Compound Exercises
Eating to Increase Biceps Size
The food you eat is just as important as exercise. Without the proper amount protein and carbohydrates, you may lose rather than gain muscle. While you may be packing on the protein in every meal, more is not necessarily better, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Opt for about .37 grams of protein per pound of body weight and choose lean sources of protein like chicken and fish.
Consuming quality carbohydrates is just as important as your protein. Carbohydrates supply your body with glycogen, which your muscles use for energy, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you're strength training at least twice per week, half of your daily caloric intake (at least) should come from single-ingredient carbs. These include rice, potatoes or other whole grains.
While protein and carbs usually get all of the attention, you shouldn't forget about fat. For optimal overall health and muscle gain, it's important to chose heart-healthy fats like those in olive oil, avocados and nuts.
Read more: 18 Fat-Rich Foods That Are Good for You