From the dawn of weight training, the most sought-after muscle group has been the biceps. There is nothing like the peak of a biceps muscle towering over the body like a mountain peak. It is admired as such. Perhaps it is because our arms are the most exposed of all the muscle groups that they should be the most desired to build. They are actually the smallest in comparison to the other muscle groups of the body. The biceps consist of two heads, the long head and the short head. Both heads are generally engaged in biceps exercises as well as several back exercises such as chin-ups. The long head is developed to bear the weight load of heavier biceps exercises, while the short head is that much-desired peak that is built as the muscle fibers tear each time that one trains them. Picture a layering of muscle fibers just as an onion is layered. Each time you train your biceps, or any muscle for that matter, you tear fibers. The fibers heal as we rest and sleep. During this recovery stage the muscle repairs and grows in a layered, expansive way, further developing the belly of the muscle. Picture scar tissue as it builds in a similar fashion. It raises in a layered repair.
Feel the Contraction
It is important to feel the contraction of the muscle as you train it, and that is easily done in any biceps motion. The motion should consist of a positive ascension, a static, or holding position, and a negative descending motion. All should be preformed slowly, contracting the muscle fibers as you ascend and descend. The static, or holding position is only for a second or two, but I still recommend squeezing or flexing the biceps in that brief position.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read about my method of training, here is a brief overview:
30s WEEK: 30s Week implements a high repetition of 30 reps per exercise. It requires a lighter weight that can be executed with good form throughout all 30 repetitions. Make no mistake, weights may feel light at first, but by the 20th rep, your muscles will be screaming, and the final 10 reps will seem miles away. This type of high rep workout is designed for a maximum burn deep within the muscle belly, while giving tendons, ligaments, and joints much-needed rest, while conditioning them at the same time. I’ll usually do 4-5 exercises per body part on a given day, multiplied by 2-3 sets per exercise. I personally find that our limbs respond best to 30s Week.
SUPERSETS: Supersets are comprised of two different movements and body parts, combined rapidly, and executed together in a succession of 4 sets per overall movement. For example, when training back and deltoids, a combination may be pull-ups and lateral deltoid dumbbell raises. Do 15 Pull-ups, and immediately do 15 lateral deltoid dumbbell raises, returning immediately to another 15 pull-ups, and back to another 15 lateral deltoid dumbbell raises. That succession of 4 movements completes one round. I’ll usually do 4-6 exercises per body part on a given day, multiplied by 4 set rounds.
DROP SETS: After warming up, drop sets begin with the heaviest of three weights, and then drop to a lighter weight, and then again to an even lighter weight in a succession of 7-7-7 repetitions, totaling 21 repetitions. For example, on leg day, if I’m leg-pressing 800 pounds, I’ll do it for 7 reps, strip the weights to 600 pounds for 7 reps, and then strip it to 400 pounds for 7 reps, completing 21 repetitions. I will include some other variations in this chapter, including movements that I’ve named “LITTLE-MIDDLE-FULL,” in which we don’t actually drop the weight that we are using, but rather change the angle of the movement, also keeping to the 7-7-7 repetition range. I find that drop sets create the most soreness in every body part. I’ll usually do 4-5 exercises per body part on a given day, multiplied by 2 sets.
HEAVY WEEK: This is the week that I’ll incorporate power movements such as deadlifts, squats, bench press, military press, cleans, and other similar movements. I keep to a weight that I can handle for 6-8 repetitions. They’re basic movements, but highly effective. FORM is an absolute must for preventing injury. A spotter is recommended. (A spotter is someone who will make sure that your form is correct and that you are not compromised in any way beneath the heavy weight.) More rest in between sets is appropriate for Heavy Week. I’ll usually do 4-5 exercises per body part on a given day, multiplied by 2 sets.
Exercises to Build Amazing Peaks
Here are a few excellent exercises for building amazing peaks:
Barbell Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
Preacher Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
Alternating Dumbbell Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
Incline Dumbbell Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
Single Cable Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
Concentration Curl: 2 sets x 30 repetitions
SUPERSET WEEK (Biceps and Triceps Example)
Skull-Crushers x 15 reps & E-Z Bar Barbell Curls x 15 reps (2 consecutive rounds)
Overhead Single-arm Dumbbell Extension x 15 reps & Alternating Dumbbell Curls x 15 reps (2 consecutive rounds)
Overhead Triceps Rope Extension x 15 reps & Preacher Curl Machine x 15 reps (2 consecutive rounds)
Close-Grip Barbell Press x 15 reps & Barbell Curls x 15 reps (2 consecutive rounds)
Cable Pull-Downs x 15 reps & Single-Arm Biceps Cable Curls x 15 reps (2 consecutive rounds)
DROP SET WEEK
Barbell Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21) (7 Low, 7 High, 7 Full)
Dumbbell Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21)
E-Z Curl Bar Preacher Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21)
Concentration Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21) (7 Low, 7 High, 7 Full)
E-Z Curl Bar Cable Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21)
Preacher Curl Machine: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21)
Single Cable Curl: 2 sets x 7-7-7 reps (21)
Barbell Curl With E-Z Curl Bar: 2 sets x 6 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Post-Leaning Barbell Concentration Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Alternating Dumbbell Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Machine Preacher Curl: 2 sets x 6 reps
Cable Curl With E-Z Curl Bar: 2 sets x 6 reps
The author’s biceps peak is pictured.