Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Build Big Biceps

Building big biceps is a goal which many people have in common. In bodybuilding competitions, the biceps are one of the most important muscles -- and for many general gym-goers and athletes, big biceps can help to improve physiques and increase confidence levels. The best way to train your biceps is to use a variety of exercises. However, out of the hundreds of biceps exercises you could do, the single best one may well be the barbell preacher curl.
Adjust a preacher bench so that you can sit on it with your feet flat on the floor and with your armpits resting on top of the pad. Take the barbell from the catchers and begin the movement with your arms completely straight. Curl the bar up until it is level with your upper chest, then slowly lower it back to the starting position. Ensure that you perform every repetition with a full range of motion -- and keep your triceps in contact with the pad at all times.
Muscles Worked
The preacher curl works the whole of your biceps muscles, as well as your forearms. According to Tim Henriques, director of the National Personal Training Institute of Virginia, preacher curls focus on the long head of the biceps. The long head is the part of your biceps which is most likely to sustain an injury if it is not trained properly, and is the main muscle responsible for developing a biceps "peak."
According to Henriques, preacher curls have one main advantage over standing barbell curls -- they place less strain on your wrist joints. Charles Poliquin, owner of the Poliquin Performance Center for elite athletes rates preacher curls as one of the best biceps exercises, as using the bench takes away the possibility of using body momentum to jerk the weight up, and allows you to focus on isolating your biceps.
Sets, Reps and Variations
In order to avoid strength and muscle growth plateaus, you need to vary the set and rep scheme that you use. Do two sets of 15 in one workout, three sets of 10 in the next, and five sets of five in the third, then go back to two sets of 15 but try to use a heavier weight. You can also do variations of the regular barbell preacher curl to keep your training interesting, such as EZ bar preachers -- or put a pair of thick grips on the bar to increase your biceps and forearm muscle activation.