STOP, You’re Training Your Biceps Wrong!

Are you training your biceps wrong? You are about to find out in this video on how to get bigger biceps by implementing a biceps workout strategy that may be completely new to you. We look to the teachings of the late great Mike Mentzer to give us clues as to how we may want to switch up the way we do our biceps exercises, and all of our workouts for that matter, to get bigger arms in the long run.

It starts with a declaration by Mentzer where he says that the best biceps exercise for growth is hands down the close grip underhand pulldown. Now, keep in mind, this is not the same as the underhand pulldown done for the back and lats. If you focus the intention of the pull on the elbow and stop when the elbow joint is at about 90 degrees of flexion, you will keep the tension high on the biceps rather than the lats.

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That said, is he right?

Well, I want to take you back to a time early last year that I tore by distal biceps tendon. I was trying to prevent my son from falling on the ice after he slipped, and the sudden grab to catch him resulted in a 99 percent tear of the distal biceps tendon off the bone. Up to that point, I had done a lot of heavy barbell curls, chinups, waiter’s curls and drag curls to build the biceps that I have today.

What I liked best about the chinup was that it mimicked the same benefits that Mike spoke of when he talked about the underhand pulldown. It shortened the biceps by putting it in a flexed shoulder position along with a flexed elbow. It was actually a very safe biceps exercise for a torn tendon since there was no great eccentric lengthening that took place here. As the elbow was extended the shoulder was flexed more – taking away some of the overstretch that could compromise the biceps muscle.

The only issue was, with the biceps being weakened by the tear I was finding that my medial elbow pain was increasing from trying to manage my bodyweight up on the bar.

This is when I remembered the lecture from Mike Mentzer discussing his favorite biceps exercise. I tried it and it was a game changer. I started using this exercise for biceps training a great deal. Not only was it something I could scale better than a full body chinup but I was also starting to feel the mind muscle connection with the biceps that had gone missing since the time of the tear.

That said, I didn’t stop at just one biceps exercise. I come from a long history and background of doing more than just the one set or exercise that Mike recommends in his Heavy Duty training. So I curled too. That said, I used a method that would dramatically cut down ont he volume of biceps curls I was doing. I used the run the rack technique shown in the video.

After a brief warmup, I started at the heaviest weight I could handle for EZ Bar Curls for about 6-7 reps. As soon as I reached failure, I dropped the weight and grabbed the next lightest bar in the rack. I continued to rep out to failure once again. This kept going until I reached failure with 3 more successively lighter weights for a total of 5 rounds without rest in between.

This torched my biceps and was all I needed, in combination with the underhand pulldowns discussed before. On the pulldowns, I was able to implement some forced reps and negative only reps by either using my bodyweight to pull the bar down into position or having a spot from Jesse to help me.

Finally, I had to consider the final premise of Mentzer training that was largely responsible for the gains that could come from using it – rest and recovery. Given that I couldn’t handle the increased workload at this point anyway, I figured now was the time to attempt ot cut back the frequency of my bicep workouts and see if I lost any gains because of it. Shockingly, I did not. In fact, I gained much more size back on my biceps as a result.

What was once a scenario where I trained my biceps 2x per week I was now doing them about once every 10 days and capitalizing on the indirect work they would get in my back and pull workouts.

I highly encourage you to give these lessons learned a try in your own biceps training and exercises. You may be shocked by the results – injured or not.

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