Time Your Curls
Sometimes the “best” method of triggering fresh muscle gains is to simply do something new… something you haven’t done before or haven’t done in a long time. For biceps, here’s something to try.
- Do your favorite curl variation, but keep an eye on the clock or have a buddy time your set. How long did that set of curls take?
If you typically go heavy, your set probably fell below 60 seconds. Let’s say you did a fairly heavy 8-rep set, and it took roughly 1 second to lift the weight and you lowered it under control for 2 seconds each rep. Do the math. That’s 24 seconds per set. Add a 1 second squeeze at the top of each rep and you get 32 seconds.
That’s fine, heavy weights, lower reps, and therefore a shorter time under tension (TUT) builds muscle too. But you could be “missing” some muscle fibers and missing out on hypertrophy if you always use short sets.
- Now do another set and make it last at least 60 seconds, maybe even up to 90 seconds.
Yes, you’ll have to reduce the weight, and yes, this will hurt in a whole new way. In fact, it’s tougher in many ways than doing fewer reps with a heavier weight, which is why many people avoid it. But you’ll also be tapping into different muscle fibers and triggering a host of fresh biological responses that tell your body to “put some new muscle here.”
Keep the timer handy or watch a nearby clock the next time you hit biceps. You may be surprised that you never even approach the 1 minute mark. Add some 60-90 second sets to your heavy work, or spend a whole training block in that longer TUT range. Your biceps will grow.