5x5 for Biceps???
- 11-12-2010, 06:30 PM
5x5 for Biceps???
I have hit a plateau with my biceps. They just dont want to get any stronger. I have tried many things such as, thinking i was overtraing and taking 1-2 weeks off for them, various rep/set ranges, 21's, etc. One thing I have not tried was doing 5x5 for BB or DB curls. The 5x5 routines have worked great in the past for my main lifts, so i was thinking about trying it out on my curls.
Anyone else ever try this? Did you have success in gaining strength?
Just trained biceps today, so ive got a week until i hit them again. Just thought id see what you guys thought about this before throwing it into the mix.
- 11-12-2010, 10:21 PM
Biceps are one of your smaller muscles so they don't need as much work to respond. Also, since they're one of the smaller muscles, gains in strength usually come slower just because when you work biceps, you're working mostly biceps as opposed to doing compound movements where multiple muscle groups are involved. So at some point strength gains are going to slow down.
I will recommend first off that you don't try to drastically increase work volume because I doubt this would help you out towards your goal. Might even be counterproductive. I recommend keeping your total work volume low. I know that working out is entertainment in itself but sometimes you have to do less to get more.
I work biceps along with my back twice per week at low volumes; usually 2-3 total sets for biceps each workout, so that's usually around 5-6 total sets for biceps per week. If you work biceps once per week, I'd recommend no more than 5-6 total sets. You could do more but 5-6 good sets would provide enough stimulus.
Also keep in mind that the biceps do a lot of work when you exercise your back. Almost every back movement involves forcefull contractions of the biceps so working the back hard usually means you've hit your biceps hard. What you don't get during back training is full range of motion contraction, which is why some isolation work is a good idea if you're intersted in physique asthetics.
Getting to the main point: If you want stronger biceps, concentrate on your back work. If your back strength increases your biceps usually follow suit. Just keep hammering away with your biceps specific training as supplemental work, but just make sure not to overdo it.
If strength is your main goal for biceps, concentrate on the lifts that allow you to use the most weight: heavy barbell curls and weighted close-grip chins. Usually out of my 5-6 sets per week, at least 4 come from heavy barbell curls (6-8 full reps with slow negatives) and the other sets come from exercises such as incline DB curls, alternating DB curls or preacher curls.
Strong back, strong biceps. When you're doing your full range of motion work, make sure you're going through the fullest range of motion. If you add extra weight and can't get the full range of motion you're just selling yourself short.
I've used cheat curls before as well. You can do a set of barbell curls to the point where you can't do any more full range of motion reps, add some weight (5-10 extra pounds) and do a few more reps where you deliberately cheat to curl the bar up. You don't want to cheat a lot, but just enough to curl the bar. Other muscles will be helping you lift the bar but the biceps are still going to be working hard (so other muscles are allowing the biceps to continue to work). You'd still want to lower the weight slowly and under control.
That's about all I can think of for biceps. Biceps are a fairly simple muscle and the ways in which you train it are also simple. A lot of people treat biceps like abs and tend to overanalyze them.
Good luck, bro.
11-12-2010, 11:04 PM
11-13-2010, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the reply Typo O Hero! I guess ill just quit worrying about it and just focus on my back workouts.
11-13-2010, 10:13 PM
Try including underhand barbell rows in your workout. Or if you've been doing overhand barbell rows for a while, just switch over to underhand. You're still working lats but the biceps are in a better position for pulling. You'll notice that after a few sets of underhand rows you're biceps will be very pumped. I'm usually able to use slightly more weight with and underhand grip, mostly because my biceps are doing more work.
For barbell curls (or any other heavy curl) make sure you go slow on the negative. You're stronger on the negative so make use of it. Resist the weight all the way down. Muscles were designed by nature to resist gravity, and going slow on the negatives is exactly what you're doing.
11-14-2010, 01:02 AM
i always liked this when i hit that spot man it works well for me you should give it a try.. say for example you can do 4x10 on the preacher seat curls. get that weight and once you hit your 10 rep hold your curl at the top and have your lifting partner pull it down slowly until you can hold it anymore but they are just pulling your arms down causing you bis to be constantly contracted and in a flexed position and just repeat it after every set you do. its also a great for growth and flexing for show i love them i guess you could kinda call them bicept negatives also is great for getting grip and causing more vascular forearms you get a sick pump. its what ever you think brother
11-23-2010, 12:41 AM
I have issues getting past 40lb sitting curls but have never tried going slow on the negatives, I'll definitely try that out.
11-23-2010, 08:14 PM
And remember to never sacrifice form for weight. I see people all the time at my gym doing too much weight for biceps.
If you want good looking arms, form is EVERYTHING!!! If you want bigger arms you have to use more weight but you can't crap out on your form to curl an extra 10lbs.
And before you start critiquing your arm workouts keep in mind that with good backs come good biceps and the same goes with chest and shoulders in relation to triceps (with all the presses). Like I said, I get most of my biceps work in my back routine then at the end I'll throw on a couple extra sets of full range of motion curl exercises. Works amazingly.
12-02-2010, 11:49 PM
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