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Muscle Growth, Muscle Adaptation, Resistance Training

5 Tips For Growing Big Biceps

By Shannon Cole on Mar 13, 2024 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


The biceps are universally one of the most enjoyable muscles to train; you don’t get super taxed from bicep exercises, the pump you get feels incredible, and you can easily show off all of your hard work!

I’ve talked with some people who seem to have trouble getting bigger biceps despite how often they work out. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but there are those you struggle to put on mass.

But do you need to put on mass for bigger biceps?

Yes, and no. You can make your biceps appear bigger when on a cut because your muscles then look more pronounced with less fat on the body. On the other hand, adding more muscle while bulking will certainly make you look bigger (including in the arms), but you may not look as chiseled as you would on a cut. It’s really what you prefer.

Now, let’s go over 5 tips to help you grow your biceps. 

1. Isolate the Biceps

We all know that the biceps assist the back during pull movements, but to really activate the biceps, I would recommend doing exercises that isolate them from other muscles.

When you do a bicep curl, you are only working the bicep, so no other muscles are assisting with the movement (if you’re doing it right).

So, when you do upper body workouts, make sure you’re dedicating some exercises to just the biceps by incorporating curl variations: Preacher, hammer, and pronated, just to name a few.

2. Program Wisely

Volume is important. The more time you work on a muscle group, the greater the chance of initiating a response.

If you are only hitting those biceps once a week, good luck with getting them to grow.

You should be implementing bicep exercises into 2 to 3 workouts a week. If you are super dedicated to growing your biceps, I’d recommend 1 to 2 days when you complete 3 bicep exercises at the end of each workout, then spend one day a week focusing mostly on the biceps. Being a small muscle, this won’t be a long workout, but you’ll get quite a bit of reps in regardless. You can obviously work on other smaller muscles, or the core, in between sets, but the primary muscle worked should be the biceps and not larger muscle groups like the chest, back, or legs.

3. Plan Your Rest Days

With that said, rest days are still required to see muscle growth. As with any muscle group, biceps need to rest, as well.

It’s on rest days when muscle synthesis really sparks, when the stressed muscle fibers rebuild themselves. So, if you are just killing your biceps every day, maybe take it easy and learn to love rest days. 

4. Go To Failure

I find that people are afraid to push themselves, but the biceps are a great muscle to push yourself with a bit. As long as you are using a weight that will allow you to complete 8 reps or more, the risk of injury is pretty low.

When I say to go to failure, I want you to try some sets where you complete as much reps as possible until you can’t possibly go any longer, without form breaking. Talk about a muscle burn!

You don’t need to do this for every set (and you shouldn’t), but programming in going to failure on the last set of an exercise will make what can seem like a boring exercise pretty intense.

You need to challenge yourself if you want to see results, and going to failure is a great strategy to sometimes incorporate into your routine.

5. Eat Your Protein

This is my advice for practically everything. Muscle feeds off of protein, and will not grow or maintain itself without amino acids. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are essential amino acids that are most important for this. Leucine is a precursor for muscle protein synthesis, and can even help with regulating intracellular signaling pathways.

If you need help with protein intake, give Organifi a shot–they have an excellent, plant-based protein powder blend that tastes delicious.

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Shannon Cole

Shannon Cole is an ISSA certified personal trainer and lives in the Dallas area. She is a certified nutrition coach through NASM and NCI, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. After obtaining her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication she eventually gravitated to personal training, and hasn't turned back since. Her passion for athletics and fitness initially stemmed from her high school years playing golf, and her love for the sport still hasn't faded; her career goal is to obtain her Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification and develop strength and conditioning programs for golfers. You can usually find her working out in her garage gym, or training for the next Spartan Race with her husband.

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