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  • Bicep growth

    Hello everyone. I’ve been around on the site for a while, but this is my first post.

    I know it may sound cliché, but I’m having trouble gaining size in my biceps. I am currently doing DC style training and am eating between 4000 and 4500 calories daily. I weigh 195lbs and am 5’10”. I’ve based my diet after a sticky post by Massive G (on a much smaller caloric scale, of course) and have been gaining size in all other areas, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

    The three arm exercises I am alternating between are spider curls, preacher curls and incline curls. My question is this: In one of Skip’s videos, he mentioned that at one point he quit doing bicep specific movements and noticed much better gains. How do I determine if this would work for me? Just give it a shot? Or would you guys suggest different bicep movements?

    It’s frustrating for me to watch the rest of me grow, but my bi’s stand still...my forearms are starting put my upper arms to shame. In the past, I have had shoulder surgeries (seven ops total: three full bankart repairs and four ‘scopes’ between the two of them…hockey player) and am beginning to wonder if this may be causing my plateau.

    Any help/advice you gents could give would be most welcome!

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Well you won't know if dropping direct work will help until you try it and what's the worst that will happen? You say they ain't growing anyway.
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    • #3
      My advice would be to make sure your back width and thickness movements hit the biceps secondarily (like reverse-grip pulldowns, for example). Then use your bicep exercises to go very high-rep (30-40 RP range) and REALLY do your best to "feel" the muscle and focus on the stretch and contraction. Also bump your bicep stretches to the range of 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
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      • #4
        This may seem like a silly question, but are you actually measuring your arms or just looking at them and not seeing the results you want. I didn't realize the progress I made on arms until I got into contest shape. You may have actually improved your development, but just aren't seeing the difference due to bf levels. Even if the measurements aren't moving or are just moving a little higher bodyfat levels can still keep you from seeing the difference. Just something to keep in mind.
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        • #5
          Pictures would help a lot here.

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          • #6
            I would listen to Sammich's advice, and if you're a big handed/long-armed person accessories like Fat Grips and Grip4force will help you develop a good mmc. And make sure you're are NOT starting the curling motion with your shoulder, this is very easy to do when you try to go stupidly heavy and cheat/use momentum.

            If you wanna use a bit more volume, you can also change your forearms exercises to ones that also demand a lot from the biceps, Incline Hammer Curls, Rope Grenade curls, etc.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doberman View Post
              This may seem like a silly question, but are you actually measuring your arms or just looking at them and not seeing the results you want. I didn't realize the progress I made on arms until I got into contest shape. You may have actually improved your development, but just aren't seeing the difference due to bf levels. Even if the measurements aren't moving or are just moving a little higher bodyfat levels can still keep you from seeing the difference. Just something to keep in mind.
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              • #8
                I have been lifting for two months now, after 4 months off from a torn bicep. I have done almost nothing for direct arm work (aside from doing some light DB curls with the recovering bicep to get a little blood flowing in there), but have been hitting rack chins and pull ups hard. My arms are bigger and harder than they have ever been. Food for thought.
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                • #9
                  I will throw this out there, and I am not attacking you TheJosh...this is just for anyone out there complaining about arm growth...this has been talked about a lot by Dante and others...

                  IF YOU ARE X WEIGHT...AND ARE UNSATISFIED WITH YOUR ARM DEVELOPMENT, IT'S GONNA TAKE A LOT OF GAINING TO MAKE YOUR ARMS LOOK BIGGER. IF YOU HAVE 16 INCH ARMS, AND WANT 20 INCH ARMS, AND WEIGH 185, YOUR PROBABLY GONNA HAVE TO ADD AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM 50LBS OF BODYWEIGHT (RANDOM GUESS, THE NUMBER IS ARBITRARY) TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL.


                  This is coming from a guy whose arms are his worst part I myself have only measure my arms A handful of times in my life. From my first contest at around 170lbs to my most recent at ~220-225lbs my arms had grown 2.5 inches....50ish lbs of muscle gain, and that much growth. I am 6'2'' though, so take it with a grain of salt....longer limbed people take ages for arm growth I have found.


                  I just get so sick of hearing guys say "Everything is growing except my arms"...the bicep is a damn small muscle group...

                  My advice? Work on your tris...IMO growing larger tris will make your entire arm look substantially larger.

                  Take Sammy's advice...exercise selection is crucial with DC.
                  Last edited by Lock it Up; 03-05-2012, 04:58 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I've made my biggest gains in bicep growth by just deadlifting heavy, then doing higher-rep bicep exercises and focusing on the "feel" of the muscle.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sammich View Post
                      I've made my biggest gains in bicep growth by just deadlifting heavy, then doing higher-rep bicep exercises and focusing on the "feel" of the muscle.
                      x10000. I can BB curl a shit ton of weight, but since dropping that, and using lighter weight and really squeezing, slowing down, and focusing on using the bicep my arms have come up. Also, I can't agree more with Macho when saying pullups and chins are amazing for arm growth. I added in pullups every single backworkout the last year and my arms have come up along with it..coincidence?

                      EDIT: And obviously, if you add 100lbs to your dead, row etc your arms are gonna benefit. That is so overlooked by so many. I always ask "Ever see an elite level powerlifter/strongman with small arms?" Rarely do any of them focus on arm work, yet they all can deadlift houses, and row cars. I know poundstone like to train his arms with "PAIN TOLERANCE" training...high rep stuff to help push through pain barriers for events...like repping the OLY bar for hundreds of reps.
                      Last edited by Lock it Up; 03-05-2012, 05:11 PM.

                      2012 EUP's Mission Submission II
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                      -1st Heavyweight Gi
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lock it Up View Post
                        x10000. I can BB curl a shit ton of weight, but since dropping that, and using lighter weight and really squeezing, slowing down, and focusing on using the bicep my arms have come up. Also, I can't agree more with Macho when saying pullups and chins are amazing for arm growth. I added in pullups every single backworkout the last year and my arms have come up along with it..coincidence?

                        EDIT: And obviously, if you add 100lbs to your dead, row etc your arms are gonna benefit. That is so overlooked by so many. I always ask "Ever see an elite level powerlifter/strongman with small arms?" Rarely do any of them focus on arm work, yet they all can deadlift houses, and row cars. I know poundstone like to train his arms with "PAIN TOLERANCE" training...high rep stuff to help push through pain barriers for events...like repping the OLY bar for hundreds of reps.
                        Not meaning to take this thread off topic, but I think the above is worth highlighting. Not pointing to the OP, but in general I hear all the time, people saying, how can I bring up this or that? How do I work on rear delts, or my horseshoe, or etc etc... Should I do Lateral Raises leaning over, are reverse pec decs better than bent over raises, rope pushdowns or reverse grip pressdowns etc... I always like to paraphrase Dante, when he talks about gaining size. If you can shoulder press 315, you will have shoulders that look like you can. If you can deadlift 600 pounds, you will have big arms. I say just work on getting bigger/stronger on everything overall, and various bodyparts will grow as you do..

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                        • #13
                          First off, thanks for the advice everyone.

                          @Sammich/Delta/Lock - I'll try incorporating a little more under hand pulling motions with my back work and really focus on stressing the movement and squeeze of my curls. I've always tried hard to keep the shoulders out of it because they just end up hurting like hell if I over work them. My current repertoire seems to be working, though (see below).

                          @Doberman - You were right. I took a measurement and compared it to measurements I took eight months ago and have gained just under 3/4" in both arms. They're growing. I guess my mirror has just been being a bastard (you are your own greatest critic...). Thanks for the advice, there. I'm going to pay way more attention to numbers than mirrors from now on. Just like Lock said above, I've gained everywhere else - there's no way my bi's wouldn't grow, too.


                          @Macho - Just curious, did you need to get opened up for that torn bicep? And what was your recovery like? I've always been afraid of that happening.

                          Again, thanks for the help everyone!

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                          • #14
                            Sammich and anyone else really, what exercises do you recommend are best for getting that "feel." I have a very hard time feeling biceps and am forearm dominant (popeye forearms). I find it hard to know how hard to push the "feel" exercises because that usually requires strict form.

                            There's a guy in my gym who does a lot of bro exercises. Always benching, curling and pressing and then some plyo type stuff for legs. BUT he does have big tennis ball biceps. I see him using bands sometimes and just churning out tons of curls. Any of you tried this?
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chris.tan View Post
                              Sammich and anyone else really, what exercises do you recommend are best for getting that "feel." I have a very hard time feeling biceps and am forearm dominant (popeye forearms). I find it hard to know how hard to push the "feel" exercises because that usually requires strict form.

                              There's a guy in my gym who does a lot of bro exercises. Always benching, curling and pressing and then some plyo type stuff for legs. BUT he does have big tennis ball biceps. I see him using bands sometimes and just churning out tons of curls. Any of you tried this?
                              Chris.tan - A few exercises that I like that help keep the form strict for Bis are: 1) Scott Curls; 2) Incline Bench DB Curls; 3) Slider Curls (either BB, DB or Smith)
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