Build Bigger Arms With This Bicep Workout

For bigger arms, don't rely just on Bicep Curls. STACK Expert Jim Carpentier prescribes a full-body workout that hits the biceps but is more sports-functional.

Big Bicep

Big biceps look impressive, but arm size doesn't always translate to better performance on the field. Overly developed biceps can actually make you more susceptible to muscle and joint injuries (strains, sprains and pulls) caused by muscle imbalances.

Multi-joint exercises engage more muscle groups and promote more muscular growth throughout the body than single-joint exercises like Bicep Curls and Tricep Extentions. In addition, working the larger muscles (e.g., quadriceps and glutes) with multi-joint exercises such as Squats and Lunges optimally releases more natural anabolic hormones (testosterone, HGH) than single-joint exercises.

The combo movements below take ordinary single-joint Bicep Curls to the next level by mixing them with two or more powerful multi-joint anabolic exercises, which will not only increase arm size but also build leg, chest, back, shoulder and core strength. This workout promotes total body symmetry, lessens the risk of sports injuries and boosts on-field performance. You get the best of both worlds: bigger biceps and greater muscle development throughout the body for a stronger and more imposing physique.

Bicep Workout

This challenging full-body workout comprises essential athletic components: hypertrophy (enlarging muscles), strength and power, endurance, balance and flexibility (with upper- and lower-body stretches in the cooldown at the end of the workout).

Equipment

Two moderately heavy dumbbells

Guidelines

  • Begin with a dynamic upper- and lower-body warm-up (e.g., Lunges and Arm Circles).
  • Finish with a cooldown of upper- and lower-body static stretches to enhance flexibility.
  • Sets/Reps: 1x10 per combo exercise.
  • Rest time between combo exercises: 0-30 seconds to optimize endurance—simulating brief pauses between sports action on the field.
  • Try to complete the workout in 15 to 30 minutes by performing some of the combo exercises consecutively without rest, except where noted for hydration.

Single-Leg Squat/Row/Curl

This combo movement promotes balance and strengthens leg, hip, back, forearm, bicep and core muscles.

  • Start in an athletic stance holding dumbbells with an underhand grip at shoulder level, your left knee bent and your right leg off the floor.
  • Squat, then bring the DBs to knee level with your arms extended.
  • Pull the DBs to your waist, then curl them to your shoulders.
  • Repeat sequence for 10 reps. Rest 10 seconds and repeat Squat/Row/Curl sequence, alternating right knee bent/left foot off the floor for 10 reps.
  • Hydrate and quickly perform next combo movement.

Alternating Push-Up/Row/Squat Thrust/Standing Curl

This combo movement strengthens the chest, triceps, biceps, upper back, shoulders, legs and hips. Squat thrusts also boost lower-body power.

  • Assume push-up position with hands holding DBs (neutral grip) at shoulder-width.
  • Perform a Push-Up, then pull the DB up to your chest with your right hand, pause one second and lower the DB to the floor.
  • Do another Push-Up, pull the DB to your chest with your left hand, pause one second, and lower the DB to the floor.
  • Immediately thrust your legs toward your arms, stand up with the DBs and curl them to your shoulders.
  • Return to Push-Up position and repeat the sequence for nine more reps.

Front Lunge/Curl/Overhead Press

This excellent multi-joint lower- and upper-body combo movement strengthens legs, hips, biceps, triceps and shoulders.

  • Begin holding DBs with an underhand grip at your sides in an athletic stance.
  • Explosively lunge forward with your left leg while simultaneously curling the DBs to your shoulders.
  • Without rest, press the DBs overhead, then lower to your shoulders and back to your sides as you return to start.
  • Repeat the sequence nine more times.
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat the sequence, lunging forward with your right leg.
  • Hydrate and quickly progress to the next combo movement.

Side Lunge/Upright Row/Curl

Side lunges strengthen the glutes and legs for lateral movements on the basketball court and football field. The Upright Row to Curl will really pump up those biceps!

  • Holding the DBs with an overhand grip above your knees, lunge laterally to the right while simultaneously pulling the DBs up toward your chest.
  • Pause one second, lower the DBs to waist level and curl them to your chest.
  • Return to start and repeat the sequence nine more times.
  • Rest 10 seconds, then lunge laterally to the left.
  • Continue Upright Row/Curl and back to Lunge sequence for 10 reps.

Alternative Bicep Curl Exercises

Replace standard Bicep Curls with the following multi-joint pulling exercises. They more effectively add bicep size and thicken forearm and back muscles. These pulling exercises are also more sports-functional for skills such as pulling down a wrestling opponent, grabbing a rebound, sacking a quarterback or pulling oars as part of a crew.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | BUILD MUSCLE | BICEPS | WORKOUTS | POWER | EXERCISE | SPORTS | PRESS