Bicep Width Help

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    Bicep Width Help


    Hello all. I'm something of a newb (approximately 5 months in), and I'm looking for some input on exercises targeted to increasing the width of my biceps. For some funky genetic reason, my triceps respond to training much better than biceps (always have), and over the last several months I've noticed in an unflexed state, my arms look a little strange as my tris are much wider than my bis. Currently I do 4 sets of Preacher Curls and 4 sets of standing DB curls, between 5 and 8 reps per set with sound form. Any suggestions of alternate exercises or other input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

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    Try some hammer curls. Hold dumbells in your hands so one side faces the ceiling and the other the floor (the same way you would hold a hammer ) and curl it up. This will hit the outer bi adding some width. You can also do them using ropes on a pully system.
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    Will do. To make sure I get the form correct - will the path of the dumbell follow that of an ordinary DB curl - out and up perpendicular to the body at the midpoint of the lift, or will I curl the weight "across" my chest - in essence drawing a "C" over my torso?

    Thanks.
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    I agree with the above, Hammer curls are excellent for making your biceps peak better. Overall if what your doing isn't giving you results try some different biceps excercises. Hit up this link, Big cat has all the info you need on the bicep, also excercises to hit each head.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ice12.htm
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    Originally posted by mcQ
    Will do. To make sure I get the form correct - will the path of the dumbell follow that of an ordinary DB curl - out and up perpendicular to the body at the midpoint of the lift, or will I curl the weight "across" my chest - in essence drawing a "C" over my torso?

    Thanks.
    They're done like a regular bicep curl just the palm faces inward rather than up. See here http://members.core.com/~frank416/hammercurl.html
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    to be honest, I don't think there's much you can do bro, this is along the lines of the dreaded muscle "shaping" concepts that you always hear about... realistically, "width" as you're thinking of it equates only with actual biceps size... Draven suggested hammer curls to attempt to hit the outer of the two biceps-brachii muscles and that's not a bad idea, but I daresay with hammer's, you'll only end up working the brachioradialis much more, and you'd be better off IMO sticking to basic, heavy standing ez/straight bar curls... with size, will come "width". good luck!
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    i agree with biggin's idea on shaping, however, you have not told us about previous volume for triceps. also 5-8 reps may be low for biceps, may be high. what's your tempo?

    some ideas:

    1. do the basics like preacher curl, standing barbell curl (no cheating, not even a little), alternating db curl and focus on tempo of 4010 which means 4 sec down, only a slight pause - 0 - 1 second up, but don't use momentum, slight pause - 2nd 0 - down 4seconds.....
    be patient and try different rep ranges
    2. do reverse grip ez bar curls and zottman curls (curl up normally, at the top rotate lower arm so palm faces down and then lower the db. this will put extra stress on your brachioradialis which MAY make your bis look bigger)
    3. when you curl, hold the bar so that your wrists are bent back, this will put more stress on biceps at top. this works especially well for preacher curls. obviously don't do this if your wrists bother you
    4. for preacher curls or any other exercise for that matter, don't let the muscle rest at the top, so you might not go all the way up.
    5. maybe you are doing to many sets. 8 heavy sets is a lot for a beginner. biceps are a small muscle group and usually respond well when all other groups are in balance. you should be asking how strong is my back and forearms. maybe you have some work to do for one of these. to get an idea of volume balance between different body parts, see the routines in my two posts in these threads:

    http://www.anabolicminds.com/forum/s...&threadid=4569

    http://www.anabolicminds.com/forum/s...&threadid=4248

    I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NEITHER OF THESE ROUTINES. as you said, you are a beginner and would do better with less volume. if you have any questions, just pm me
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    Originally posted by Biggin
    Draven suggested hammer curls to attempt to hit the outer of the two biceps-brachii muscles and that's not a bad idea, but I daresay with hammer's, you'll only end up working the brachioradialis much more, and you'd be better off IMO sticking to basic, heavy standing ez/straight bar curls... with size, will come "width". good luck!
    Really, hmmm, I must have been misinformed then, my bad.
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    info was decent, just not for the right reasons
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    Just want to add, consider yourself lucky. The triceps is 2/3 of the arm's mass. To have some wicked tries says much more than bulging bis with nothin' behind 'em. A big arm requires big tris, and says your not just a bench and curls bozo. Your tries should be bigger than you bi's any way? no? Slow growing body parts suck, but some are worse than others. just my 2 cents.

    deffinetly bb curls and maybe not so many sets. I'd say 8 should be minimum reps, once you can get 12, go up in weight. hands not to narrow and lift with the inside of you palm. Like you are rotating your thumbs outward and down to the floor. If done right all you feel is bis, hardly any brachiowhatsit.
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    The STRAIGHT bar curl is the mother of all mass buiders for the biceps. Can be hard on wrists and elbows, but recruits more facets of the bicep than ez-curl bar or any other biceps exercise. Incline dumbell curls are super mass and peak builders as well, and as in ALL biceps movements, strict form should be maintained to keep the shoulders from bearing the brunt of the load. I do cheat on my last rep, but that's all. Preacher curls are my 3rd favorite movement, and I use the ez-curl bar here to hit them from a little different angle. Use medium to close grip on the straight bar curls.

    Hammer curls and reverse curls will build brachialis and add width, but you can't do everything, so I let these movements alone as they can be very hard on elbow tendons. I have found, through many years of trial and error, that my arms respond best when I work bicep and tricep the same night. Biceps respond to changing routines more than most muscle groups, and just changing your basic exercises can break yoiu through a sticking point rather quickly.
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    Whereas I agree with John as far as straight bar the best for size, it is murder on the elbows. Last year, while bulking, it was the focus of my bi w/o. Going as heavy as you can while bulking, I developed some awful tendonitis in my elbow, and eventually, the entire arm. The pain was unbearable. Well, since I've stopped doing straight bar curls, I've had little to no tendonitis.
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    Then just use an EZ CURL BAR if you notice prolonged sharp pain in the elbows/wrist.
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    I agree with John on best lift would be straight bar curls, just watch the joints with them. As Biggin said, a simplistic viewpoint (i.e. to summarize) is that you can target a muscle from a variety of angles (different lifts) to stimulate, however the overall shape is determined by your genetics. You can gain mass and increase the size, but shaping isn't exactly possible.

    (kinda like the pilates people saying it will "lengthen" your muscles, lmao)
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    I agree 100% with jweave32, you can't shape the muscle , leave that for genetics, just make it big.
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    Thanks all. I've done straight barbell curls my last couple of bi's workouts since this post, and definitely felt the difference. Again, thanks for the help.
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    Originally posted by Biggs
    to be honest, I don't think there's much you can do bro, this is along the lines of the dreaded muscle "shaping" concepts that you always hear about... realistically, "width" as you're thinking of it equates only with actual biceps size... Draven suggested hammer curls to attempt to hit the outer of the two biceps-brachii muscles and that's not a bad idea, but I daresay with hammer's, you'll only end up working the brachioradialis much more, and you'd be better off IMO sticking to basic, heavy standing ez/straight bar curls... with size, will come "width". good luck!

    Well while I agree you can't really change the shape of a muscle only make it larger their is two biceps muscles so technicaly changing the ratios of mass would alter the apperance. I think stressing the short head(inside the arm) might make a slight diffrence because if you notice that muscle seems to bulge outward more than the long head. Also doing hammer curls, reverse curls, and incline curls will hit the brachiallis which will bring out the lemon shaped muscle on the side of the arm that should give the apperance of a more 3-d looking arm. I used to actualy notice a diffrence when I'd do site injects on the inner head although it was slight.
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    I agree with some of the others. I always go with a mass builder like bb curls. Also, by targeting the brachialis more with hammers and reverse, your arms will appear bigger as that grows. Kind of along the lines, many don't do the rear delt. but by building that, your back can look alot bigger.
  19. PC1
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    Achieving more biceps thickness


    I'm very late to this thread, and actually stumbled unto it doing a search under "tendonitis", but here's a question and a suggestion:

    Take your shirt off. Put your arms out in front of you, as they would be positioned midway through a REVERSE preacher or standing curl (your palms facing toward the floor). Without moving your forearms (curling motion) watch your biceps as you simply turn your hands so that your palms are facing upwards toward your face......... what happened to your biceps? They contracted and THICKENED! Repeat the demonstration with one arm, and feel it contract with your free hand.

    Actually, it was the smaller outer head of your biceps that contracted. The function of the outer head is to twist the forearms as I've just described. We all know that doing "full range of motion" exercises are the best means to create hypertrophy in all our other muscles, yet as you've just now demonstrated to yourself, conventional curls don't provide full range of motion training to the outer head of our biceps. And since we all ESPECIALLY want bigger, more muscular arms, we should then be including an exercise (at least from time to time) to more fully develop the outer head of the biceps, even if it is smaller than the inside head.

    BTW, this is not my discovery, I first read about this movement back in the 70's-80's in an article about Frank Zane. Frank developed a machine with handles that employed this twisting movement in order to work the outer head of his biceps. Since most of us don't have this specialized piece of equipment, what else can we do then with our own basic equipment?

    One thing I like to do is concentrated curls using an adjustable dumbell and overload the inside "side" (the side closest to the pinky finger as you'd grasp it) with at least 10 or more pounds of weight than you load on the other side. Begin the rep at the bottom in a hammer curl position, meaning your thumb is closer to your face, your pinky closer to the floor. As you contract the biceps and raise the weight, slowly twist your forearm so that your pinky finger is now closer to your face than your thumb as you reach full peak contraction. Hold for a second or two at the top, then twist back on the way down so you end in the hammer curl position you began with at the bottom. As you'll soon FEEL, overloading 1 side of the dumbell makes it more difficult to twist as you lift, and so allows you to work the outside head much more effectively than standard concentrated curls do.

    While we're all taught "not to twist and turn" as we do various exercises for safety reasons, this is an exception to that general rule. Obviously, strict form with controlled movement should be used here with no jerking of the weight. And this exercise would be done AFTER doing a primary exercise like standing barbell/ez curls. Yet this twisting motion IS the function of the outer head of the biceps, and without any twisting movement, we're not training that muscle as effectively due to the limited range of motion conventional curls give that head.

    This is not to say that I disagree with all the above advice, because overall hypertrophy DOES create both length and thickness, and most experienced lifters agree that standing barbell (or ez) curls is the best overall single exercise for biceps. I agree.

    But this is a good supplemental exercise we can and SHOULD work into our routines from time to time to specifically focus on the outer head of the biceps, and will help create an overall "thicker" looking biceps muscle....... and who among us doesn't WANT THAT?



    Be well
    Last edited by PC1; 10-28-2003 at 11:57 AM.
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    I like that one PC1, very similar to the standing curls I do, except I have no way of overloading the inside "side" of the dumbell. I'm going to find a way though!

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  21. PC1
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    Originally posted by ManBeast
    I like that one PC1, very similar to the standing curls I do, except I have no way of overloading the inside "side" of the dumbell. I'm going to find a way though!

    ManBeast
    One thing you can do without buying any adjustable dumbells (which doesn't cost much btw), is to just grip each dumbell so that your thumb and first finger are right up against the plate on the outside "side" of each dumbell. This creates some additional length in the side you twist, and so will give you some additional resistance. In any event, just twisting the dumbell itself throughout your standing reps will help to work that outside head more than you normally would

    Good luck
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    Did anybody mention wide grip curls with a BB or CB.
    It will work the outer bicep.
    as wide as comfortably possible.
    CB's have outer grips as well.


    peace.
  23. PC1
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    Not to be disrespctful but.....

    If the function of the outer head of the biceps is to turn the forearm, what difference does it make to that muscle if one performs standard biceps curls with either a close, a medium, or a wide width grip?

    Answer: None

    Not only that, but taking a grip on a barbell with heavy weight at a width other than one that leaves the forearms perpendicular to the floor when the weight is curled, will also cause undue stress to the wrist joint and forearms, with little or no appreciable benefit to either of the biceps muscle; so what's the point?

    Again, none.
  

  
 

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