One of the most understandable yet annoying questions I get at Newell Strength from the younger trainees is, “Can we do arms today?” It usually catches me by surprise but then I remember that Weider has done a great job of sensationalizing biceps and pictures like Arnold above. It’s funny, because the older trainees rarely ask about training biceps or arms, yet they will often comment that their arms have better shape and size than when they were younger.
So this morning, while going through a strength workout at a furious pace, I made it my mission to perform 5×10 one arm dumb bell rows with the 115-pounders. I took a minute rest between sets and at the end, my biceps were smoked. That made me start thinking of some rules of the road that one should adhere to when trying to build a pair of bigger biceps.
1) You have no business doing biceps curls unless you can perform 10 good reps of chin ups. Why? Well think about it, most high school athletes will say but I can’t do that. Ya, I know, because your biceps are the weakest link. So then the conversation continues that they need to do biceps curls to make them catch up. Wrong…number 2….
2) To bring your biceps strength up, perform high rep, heavy ass dumbbell rows, otherwise known as Kroc Rows. This will do wonders for your grip (another weak link in most cases), back development and for the sake of this article, your biceps. Start at the heaviest weight you can get 5 sets of 12+ reps with and just row. When you can complete that, go up to the next weight the next workout. When you have reached the end of the dumb bell rack, go on pull ups.
3) Your nutrition has to be on point. Arnold once claimed that if you wanted to gain 1 inch on your arms, it would require an increase in 10 pounds of bodyweight. Your muscles will not grow if you don’t feed them or hydrate them. Don’t ever think about breaking this rule and asking what you can do to get bigger if you aren’t willing to eat the requisite amount of food.
Training arms should serve a purpose, be it to assist in a bigger lift or rehab and injury, but it should not serve the purpose of ego/bodybuilding training until you have the above 3 check points marked off. Another thing to think about: look up pics of Sergio Oliva, he did 10 sets of 20 pull-ups to start off ever single workout, check out the biceps development on him!