Did you know that bicep curls are not that effective for building biceps? This is the opinion of an athletic trainer who, on the other hand, teaches a technique that should make your biceps grow by 200%.

The coach in the event is known online as Dr. Gains. His real name is Michael Kamalu, a medical student at the Mayo Clinic who specializes in sports medicine, fitness, personal training and injury prevention. Currently, his YouTube channel has nearly 150,000 subscribers where he posts tips on training programs, workouts, and fitness sciences.

A video he uploaded reveals the single most crucial factor in isolating your biceps and promoting their growth. It introduces a principle that is rarely implemented correctly by others. Contrary to popular belief, the standard supinator bicep curls are not the most effective way to build biceps. By examining biomechanics and muscle activation research studies, he says it becomes clear that alternative techniques can increase specific bicep activation and growth by more than 200%.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

The first problem with traditional bicep curls is that while they involve elbow flexion, the biceps aren’t the primary muscles responsible for this movement. The brachialis, a muscle located near the biceps, is actually most activated during elbow extension. Even when performing supine curls, EMG studies indicate that the brachialis is nearly 40 percent more engaged than the biceps. In addition, the brachioradialis also contributes to elbow flexion, further decreasing the load on the biceps.

To solve this problem, many people try to shift more load to the biceps by adding supination to the curling motion. However, this approach has a flaw. When analyzing the physics of supination curls, it becomes apparent that there is no resistance against supination itself. The weight of the dumbbells is balanced, with each side counteracting the other. Therefore, the true resistance is still primarily on elbow flexion, letting the brachialis and brachioradialis bear most of the load.

Forget biceps curls – do them instead and increase biceps growth by 200%

So how can supination resistance be created to effectively isolate and load the biceps? Research teams from the University of Colorado and Canada have developed custom machines specifically designed for this purpose. Kamalu shares six different techniques they have developed using free weights and cables to generate direct resistance against supination. These techniques offer a practical alternative to building biceps without requiring custom equipment.

  1. Move your hand to one of the handles so that your thumb is pressed against one side of the dumbbell, rotate the dumbbells with the least effective technique
  2. Perform the first technique and wrap a resistance band around the pinky side of the dumbbell, creating significant resistance against supination
  3. Grab one end of the dumbbell instead of the handle from the little finger side of your hand and swing the other end out and up as you supinate your forearm
  4. Using an adjustable dumbbell, overload the pinky side with more weight
  5. Using a cable machine and rope attachment, with a hammer grip, supinate your forearms as you flex your elbows and lift your little fingers as you rotate your wrists
  6. The unilateral cable version of number 5 starts with a hammer grip and supinates the forearm while flexing the elbow

As we know it is difficult to imagine how to apply these techniques simply by reading how to do it, here is the video with the techniques explained by Michale Kamalu himself.

Because the best biceps exercise is NOT curls

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Having strong arms can offer many benefits, including:

  • Increased Functional Strength: Strong arms are essential for performing everyday tasks such as carrying groceries or lifting objects.
  • Better Sports Performance: Strong arms are essential for sports such as basketball, football and weightlifting.
  • Reduced Risk of Injury: Strong arms can help prevent injuries and strains in the shoulders, elbows and wrists.
  • Improved Posture: Strong arms can help improve posture and prevent back pain by supporting the upper body.
  • Increased Metabolism: Building muscle mass in your arms can boost your metabolism, helping you burn calories more efficiently.
  • Improved Confidence: Having strong arms can give you a sense of confidence and security in your physical abilities.
  • Better overall fitness: Strong arms are an important component of overall fitness and can help you achieve a full, healthy physique.

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How often you train your biceps and triceps depends on various factors, including your goals, overall training schedule, recovery ability, and individual preferences. However, a general guideline for most people is to train these muscle groups 1-2 times a week.

When designing your training program, it is important to consider the principle of muscle recovery. Both the biceps and triceps are relatively smaller muscle groups than larger muscle groups like the chest or back. This means they typically require less volume and recovery time.

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If you’re following a split routine where you devote specific days to working out different muscle groups, you could include a biceps and triceps workout as part of your arm day. This could be done once a week, allowing for adequate recovery time between sessions.

Alternatively, you might choose to incorporate biceps and triceps exercises into your upper body workouts on separate days. For example, you might train your biceps one day and your triceps on another day during the week, with a few days of rest in between sessions.

Source: Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and monitor your recovery. If you find that your biceps and triceps aren’t fully recovering between sessions, or if you experience excessive muscle soreness, you may need to reduce the frequency or intensity of your workouts.

Ultimately, finding the optimal training frequency for your biceps and triceps will involve experimentation and adaptation based on your individual response to training. Consulting with a qualified fitness professional can also provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and goals.

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