When most lifters train their biceps, they jump right to dumbbell and barbell curls… vanilla, run-of-the-mill curls.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you’ve been doing the same exercise in the same set/rep range for the past 10 years, it’s time to make a change!
To see extraordinary results, you have to take extraordinary action. Here are five extraordinary exercises to challenge your biceps and shake up your workouts.
1. Thick Grip, Close-Grip Chin-Up
How much weight do you use when you perform a normal set of curls? Probably not too much. Maybe half of your bodyweight for a set of 10? Maybe 135 pounds if you’re incredibly strong? Now imagine if you could curl your bodyweight on the bar!
That is essentially what you’re getting from the thick grip, close-grip chin-up. The close grip will really demolish the biceps. The additional thickness of the bar will trigger more muscular development and increase neurological recruitment.
When setting up your grip, start out with your hands slightly closer than shoulder-width. Gradually bring the grip in more as you progress. You could get as close as the hands touching if the pull-up bar allows it.
If you don’t have access to a thicker chin-up bar, add a pair of Fat Gripz to a standard bar, or go find a bar at your local playground.
Perform 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps. Stick to lower reps at first to make sure each repetition is high quality.
2. Hand-Over-Hand Sled Pull
This will not only build an extremely strong back, but also help build your biceps. The nature of the movement will require every muscle fiber of your being to get involved, but the biceps will be key as your back begins to fatigue and you’re still pulling the sled with everything you’ve got.
You want to go HEAVY and overload the arms. It’s a safer and more effective way to overload because your entire body is involved in the movement.
Do 3-5 sets, depending on the length of your rope.
3. Rope Biceps Curl
Change up the attachment to spice up your curls. Using a rope or a towel will make your grip work harder which can lead to new growth.
You can use a machine, but it’s better to use a thick rope and feed it through a few kettlebells or plates. Make sure to get a full stretch when lowering the weight. Squeeze the rope and your biceps as hard as possible at the top.
Do 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.
4. 90-Degree Chin-Up Isometric Hold
This exercise helps to overload the biceps in a specific joint position that you can’t typically accomplish with dumbbells or barbells.
This isometric is absolutely brutal. Your midsection will despise you and your biceps and shoulders will hate you, but you will get much stronger.
Perform for 2-3 sets holding as long as possible in the 90-degree position.
5. 1.5 Rep Incline Dumbbell Curl
This is a great finisher to any upper-body workout. The seated incline position allows for an aggressive full stretch of the biceps. Oscillating for a half-rep in between every full rep creates a massive pump. By rep 6 you’ll be smoked because you’ve technically done 9 reps.
Do these with lighter weights and focus mostly on the full stretch in the bottom position. Try 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps.
Bonus: Add Fat Gripz to Anything
Add Fat Gripz to any exercise: a press, a pull, an extension, or anything in between.
A thick-handled implement increases total muscle activation. You will naturally squeeze a thick grip harder and create more tension. In turn, you’ll build more size and strength.
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