New School Thought on Bicep Growth

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  1. New School Thought on Bicep Growth


    Iím sure many of you have heard people with this new school thought on growing big biceps. What these people believe is that you can build large, muscular biceps by doing heavy compound lifts alone. They typically go on to claim that bicep isolation exercise is close to useless.

    Does anyone here subscribe to this philosophy? Who here is against it?


  2. Its not consistent with my experience. Intense contractions and high volume work for me. Plus once you become Old Thor you run the risk of tearing something.
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  3. "New school" in this case isn't based on physiology and is claiming something controversial simply to draw attention to wherever they are posting this. These ideas seem to come out of internet celebrities that need to get their youtube or blog views up.
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  4. You won't see anybody with a 500lb bench press that has small biceps

  5. Biceps are assist muscles for the back.
    Bench press and bent over rows can thicken a bicep in a way that curls can't.
    Concentration exercises are for pump and for shape.
    Just my opinion.
    But I know guys with huge arms that laugh when people talk about "arm day"
    I think Dorian Yates said his best arm work was from compound pulling movements.
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  6. Quote Originally Posted by Cgkone View Post
    You won't see anybody with a 500lb bench press that has small biceps
    True, but the claim that isolation movements are "close to useless" seems a bit over the top. If you get to the point that you're pushing or pulling a lot of weight, everything is going to increase in size. But also if somebody has poor technique and using their arms more than they should for a back exercise, then they're basically doing an arm isolation movement anyway.
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  7. i might superset in hammer curls to bench press for 1 set on chest day but otherwise don't exercise them on their own, and my biceps are big.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by btothefman View Post
    i might superset in hammer curls to bench press for 1 set on chest day but otherwise don't exercise them on their own, and my biceps are big.
    Is that how you've always done it though?
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  9. Quote Originally Posted by Aleksandar37 View Post
    True, but the claim that isolation movements are "close to useless" seems a bit over the top. If you get to the point that you're pushing or pulling a lot of weight, everything is going to increase in size. But also if somebody has poor technique and using their arms more than they should for a back exercise, then they're basically doing an arm isolation movement anyway.
    Right.
    I'm not subscribing to useless

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Aleksandar37 View Post
    Is that how you've always done it though?
    used to do isolation exercises years and years ago and they didn't really grow, now just stick with big compound lifts, dips and flys for chest and I don't have to worry about curls or extensions.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Cgkone View Post
    You won't see anybody with a 500lb bench press that has small biceps
    But youíll often see people with amazing, big, peaked biceps who canít even bench 400. If you want to build a specific muscle, the most logical course of action is to train it. Of course, donít neglect compound lifts that build the whole body, but I donít see why you wouldnít directly work biceps if you want them to be as big as possible.
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  12. Quote Originally Posted by Aleksandar37 View Post
    True, but the claim that isolation movements are "close to useless" seems a bit over the top. If you get to the point that you're pushing or pulling a lot of weight, everything is going to increase in size. But also if somebody has poor technique and using their arms more than they should for a back exercise, then they're basically doing an arm isolation movement anyway.
    This. When Iím doing Pullups I like to minimize arm involvement (thumbless grip, pulling from the elbows, etc), even doing weighted Pullups, as I find if helps me to focus on working my lats properly and fully. So that means my biceps arenít getting sufficiently worked to grow maximally just by doing back, so I hit them with direct work. This way both my back and arms get worked directly and sufficiently.
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  13. I too believe that arm isolation should have its place in anyone’s routine if having well developed biceps is one of their goals. But I noticed my arms started growing a lot faster when I started focusing more on heavy pulling movements. You should do a mix anyway so that way you achieve aesthetic and strength goals. If you focus too much on arms and not enough on back then the day you have to help your friend move, or you decide you want to build a patio in the backyard or something, everyone will realize that you might have some pythons but in reality you have no functional strength.

  14. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    But youíll often see people with amazing, big, peaked biceps who canít even bench 400. If you want to build a specific muscle, the most logical course of action is to train it. Of course, donít neglect compound lifts that build the whole body, but I donít see why you wouldnít directly work biceps if you want them to be as big as possible.
    True.
    But they usually lack thickness in general.
    Again.....you won't see anybody with a 500lb bench that has small arms.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by YoungThor View Post
    I too believe that arm isolation should have its place in anyoneís routine if having well developed biceps is one of their goals. But I noticed my arms started growing a lot faster when I started focusing more on heavy pulling movements. You should do a mix anyway so that way you achieve aesthetic and strength goals. If you focus too much on arms and not enough on back then the day you have to help your friend move, or you decide you want to build a patio in the backyard or something, everyone will realize that you might have some pythons but in reality you have no functional strength.
    Then we get into the realm of bodybuilders are weak and power lifters are fat.
    I do biceps now only because I've got igf I'm playing with.
    Once I peak for strength I won't do a single curl.
    Ill still get plenty bicep work in pulling exercises.
    Lot of us grew up watching Arnold shoot 50cal machine guns with one hand.
    He had those big biceps and it stuck in our heads.
    Bicep does not equal strength.
    Its just a cool looking show off muscle

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Cgkone View Post
    Then we get into the realm of bodybuilders are weak and power lifters are fat.
    I do biceps now only because I've got igf I'm playing with.
    Once I peak for strength I won't do a single curl.
    Ill still get plenty bicep work in pulling exercises.
    Lot of us grew up watching Arnold shoot 50cal machine guns with one hand.
    He had those big biceps and it stuck in our heads.
    Bicep does not equal strength.
    Its just a cool looking show off muscle
    Of course it equals strenght. Any increase in any muscle equals strength. It's all simply relative to what you're training for. If you're only interested in power lifting, then it might not help all that much, but people train for different reasons. I get what you're saying though; if all somebody does is curls, they're not going to be as well-rounded strength-wise as somebody who focuses on complex movements.
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  17. Quote Originally Posted by Cgkone View Post
    Then we get into the realm of bodybuilders are weak and power lifters are fat.
    I do biceps now only because I've got igf I'm playing with.
    Once I peak for strength I won't do a single curl.
    Ill still get plenty bicep work in pulling exercises.
    Lot of us grew up watching Arnold shoot 50cal machine guns with one hand.
    He had those big biceps and it stuck in our heads.
    Bicep does not equal strength.
    Its just a cool looking show off muscle
    Who cares if biceps aren't the most important muscles in regards to maximal strength? If you're a bodybuilder, or not a powerlifter, you may prioritize looking good and having visually appealing/big muscles over lifting a lot of weight or even having functional strength (most anyone who lifts seriously will be "functionally" strong enough for most day-to-day activities anyway). We all have our priorities; I can't tell you what's more important.
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  18. Iím a firm believer in doing heavy compound lifts as well as isolation movements (biceps for example).
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  19. Quote Originally Posted by R1balla View Post
    Iím a firm believer in doing heavy compound lifts as well as isolation movements (biceps for example).
    Crazy concept, right? Why canít people do both? Why does it have to be one or the other?
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  20. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    Crazy concept, right? Why canít people do both? Why does it have to be one or the other?
    No idea lol
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  21. New School Thought on Bicep Growth


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleksandar37 View Post
    Of course it equals strenght. Any increase in any muscle equals strength. It's all simply relative to what you're training for. If you're only interested in power lifting, then it might not help all that much, but people train for different reasons. I get what you're saying though; if all somebody does is curls, they're not going to be as well-rounded strength-wise as somebody who focuses on complex movements.
    Its kind of semantics but your first two sentences aren't completely correct. Increase in muscle mass doesn't automatically equal an increase in strength, definitely strength potential but not inherently strength.

    To add to the original discussion, I think about 85-90% compound work and 10-15% iso work is the best bet and generally how I train.
    Training log:

    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/267913-jswains-training-log.html

  22. Quote Originally Posted by jswain34 View Post
    Its kind of semantics but your first two sentences aren't completely correct. Increase in muscle mass doesn't automatically equal an increase in strength, definitely strength potential but not inherently strength.

    To add to the original discussion, I think about 85-90% compound work and 10-15% iso work is the best bet and generally how I train.
    Outside of injecting oil or something else exogenous, what would be an example of increasing muscle size from exercise (the context of this thread being complex movements vs isolation exercises) without increasing strength?
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  23. New School Thought on Bicep Growth


    Well, synthol is an example but I understand your point as thats really a completely different ballgame. There are countless examples of how a smaller muscle can be a stronger one based on a multitude of different factors including movement proficiency and the level of neural drive/motor unit recruitment in the subject. I am short on time right now so dont have time to look for a specific example, but say a guy did a hole **** pot full of volume with 20% of his e1rm with blood flow restricted training and got some hypertrophic stimulus out of it, that same training stimulus wont do a whole lot in the way of stimulating strength adaptation. However, once he provides the stimulus for strength adaptation with the new found muscle, he/she will be able to surpass the level of strength they otherwise would have. You're basically saying that progressive overload in most cases will lead to both hypertrophy and strength gains, each to different degrees based on a lot of things. But with that, yes, it's definitely true that increasing muscle cxa will have a direct relationship with increasing strength. I'm just trying to acknowledge that there are many other mechanisms at play for increasing strength than just the size of a muscle.
    Training log:

    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/267913-jswains-training-log.html

  24. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    Who cares if biceps aren't the most important muscles in regards to maximal strength? If you're a bodybuilder, or not a powerlifter, you may prioritize looking good and having visually appealing/big muscles over lifting a lot of weight or even having functional strength (most anyone who lifts seriously will be "functionally" strong enough for most day-to-day activities anyway). We all have our priorities; I can't tell you what's more important.
    I do see the Aesthetics part.
    Big biceps do look cool.

  25. Quote Originally Posted by Aleksandar37 View Post
    Of course it equals strenght. Any increase in any muscle equals strength. It's all simply relative to what you're training for. If you're only interested in power lifting, then it might not help all that much, but people train for different reasons. I get what you're saying though; if all somebody does is curls, they're not going to be as well-rounded strength-wise as somebody who focuses on complex movements.
    I guess it may also be because we have no way to test strength in just the bicep.
    To much variation goes into the lift person to person.
    Leverage and forearm length are all factors.
    Do you fully extended do you contract to the absolute fullest.
    Also people with massive biceps usually have figured out how to activate the muscle properly.
    They usually have in depth understanding of their biceps needs to cause growth.
    Which again varies wildly person to person.
    But an example off the top of my head is Ben Pollack vs Ronnie Coleman.
    Who do you think is stronger?
    Again our mechanisms for gauging strength are limited
    According to Rippetoe;
    The guy who lifts 401 is stronger than the guy that lifts 400.
    Even if the guy who lifts 401lb weighs 300lb and the guy who lifts 400lb weighs 200lb.:
    So pro body builders, who have huge development of muscle throughout their whole bodies normally do not have lifts that pro power lifters have.
    Even pro power lifters that are 50lbs lighter.
    So I disagree that a bigger muscle ALWAYS equals a stronger muscle.
    At some point the trickery and confusion used to cause that extra growth ends up with a bigger but weaker muscle.
    That leads me back to the mind muscle connection.
    Ronnie Coleman MUST have an intimate connection with his mind and his muscles.
    I mean look at his back!!!
    Again I'm a fan of big peaked biceps....but I don't think it comes with more strength always.
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