Tip: The Most Painful Exercise for Biceps Growth

Give your arms a case of swoliosis with this curling technique.


This specialist technique will produce sleeve-busting arm growth. Since this will likely be a new stimulus for you, your biceps will be hurting for a day or three.

Drag a bench to a set of cables. Set the bench at a 75-degree incline, about one or two notches from the fully upright position.

Now set the cable height and width. For cable width, ideally you want it to be somewhere around where your arms and hands would naturally fall back behind you. Choose what's going to allow the most comfortable alignment of your shoulders and elbows.

For cable height, the cables should be set close to the bottom and at a height where, as you fully lower the curl, your forearm and the cable form roughly a 90-100 degree angle.

Curl Setup
  1. Do the concentric/lifting range of the curl in a fully forward-leaning position. Make sure you initiate the movement from your elbows in a smooth fashion, trying to keep your wrists back. You'll find this portion much easier and should be able to feel an intense contraction through the mid-range to the top portion of the curl.
  2. Hold the curl at the top with your elbows fully flexed for a second. While you're there, hinge back to the incline curl position.
  3. Once you're back on the bench, begin to lower the cable back down to its starting point. Here you're overloading the eccentric/negative portion of the curl and adding tension to your biceps in their fully lengthened state. At this point your biceps long-head should be maximally activated and feeling like it wants to pop out of its fascia. Push through!
  4. For each rep, focus on applying an eccentric overload with a change in leverage factors (mechanical eccentrics). A two-second controlled lowering is more than enough. You could accentuate the eccentric too. Just drop the weight a little and lower for up to four to six seconds on each rep.

Repeat these steps until concentric failure is achieved. You'll fail first in the leaning forward position. If you're sadistic, you could throw a drop set in there.

Try three sets of 8 to 10 to turn your pipe cleaners into pythons. Use sparingly since there's a lot of tissue breakdown happening here. You could also employ this technique for the rehab of biceps tendinopathy if your practitioner gives you the green light.

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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