Isolation Exercise for Higher Biceps
by Bruce Page
Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
Torsos may come and torsos may go, but arms remain supreme. This statement is a proven fact, for time without number the most popular physique star is the one with the most impressive arm development. When enthusiasts gather at a contest or at a strength show, what single part of the contestant is scrutinized most by the viewers?
The arms, of course!
A contestant may be lacking a little in his chest, shoulders or legs, but so long as his arms are right up to par, he is right in there. If a group of bodybuilders get together for a discussion, most invariably the topic of conversation and comparisons of development will mostly concern the arms.
Obviously when we speak of arms it takes in a great deal of territory, for the arms consist of many muscle groups within our biceps and triceps. But in this article I would like to dwell on the biceps only. The big reason for this is the many requests I have received in the gym for information and exercises which will aid in bringing out a greater degree of height and formations to biceps which appear flat and shapeless.
This condition appears to be more prevalent today than at any other stage in weight training and for bodybuilders it can be most perplexing. With photos appearing appearing in the magazines of fellows with high, well rounded biceps to match the sweeping curve of the triceps, producing a well-shaped, sizable upper arm, the trainee who lacks this biceps with development is rather harassed as to how to remedy his problem. Hence this article.
First there is one thing to keep in mind . . .
A high, pointed-appearing biceps is just the opposite to a flat underdeveloped biceps and neither one is an asset to your physique. In other words, do not carry isolation training to extremes and until the biceps take on a pointed appearance. What you are striving for is a well rounded, thick biceps with enough height to give the arm a look of complete development.
If you glance back at the men who have been Mr. America or Mr. Universe, Mr. USA or any of the top physique men in the world, I don't think you could find one with grotesque biceps completely out of harmony with the rest of the upper arm, nor will you find any flat-appearing biceps either. These men have trained properly and built their arms as well as the rest of their fine physiques with with a god deal of common sense behind their training.
Heavy barbell and dumbbell exercises are immediately associated with building bulk, so automatically we have to do the reverse of this in order to achieve separation and height. In order to do isolation exercises one factor must be positively understood and that is that there can be absolutely no extra body movement involved.
The muscles being worked must do all the work and the concentration intensified. Swinging the bar or dumbbells will be an absolute waste of time and energy. In the first place, the exercises are performed at a slower pace and consequently a heavier weight could not be used without excess body motion. However, reasonably substantial poundages can be utilized with very good results. Remember, you are not building size when isolating for high biceps, you are attempting to bring the muscle up or to draw it out, so to speak. Bulk building is something else again; therefore, heavy poundages are not necessary at this time.
I have found through experience that dumbbell training is best in this instance, although there are a few variations of barbell curling which prove beneficial.
Before embarking upon a program to heighten your biceps, assure yourself that you need such a program. If you already possess a reasonably high biceps combined with thickness then a program of less severity is recommended. This type of schedule is for those who suffer greatly in this department and are in need of something a little different and out of the ordinary to remedy their condition.
I will now describe some barbell and dumbbell exercises which you might like to give a try, and if you do I'm sure you will be more than pleased with the results obtained. A note of importance before listing the exercises: In isolation work for higher biceps it is more important to utilize good performance and body movement must be held to a minimum. It is better to sacrifice weight for good, proper muscle action to attain best results.
And now for the exercises.
Dumbbell Bent Over Biceps Curl -
Bend over until your upper body is parallel with the floor. Your elbow and triceps lie against the inside of the thigh with the elbow just above the knee joint. Curl toward the chest.
Dumbbell Curl, Elbow on Knee -
Sit on a low bench (12-18 inches high), place the elbow just behind the knee cap and hold it in place with the thumb and first finger of the other hand. Allow the arm to extend to its full length and then curl back to the starting position.
Dumbbell Curl Off Low Bench -
Using a low bench and a weight in each hand, start with the bells resting on the floor at your sides. Beginning with arms straight, curl to your shoulders.
Bentover Barbell Curl -
Bend over to a position parallel to the floor. Take a close grip on the bar, hands about 3-4 inches apart. Curl with as little body motion as possible, to the chin.
Barbell Curl Off Knee -
Performed in the same manner as the dumbbell curl, elbow on knee.
Barbell Curl with Elbows Between Knees -
Use a low bench. Take a close grip on the bar, same grip as for the bentover barbell curl, and from your seated position your arms will be between your legs, which will be fanned out somewhat to allow for the curling action. Curl with as little body motion as possible.
These movements are designed to keep body movement to a minimum. You can, of course, cheat on them if you wish, but as I stated previously, your best isolation action for high biceps comes with a strict performance.
Some of the above movements can be included in your workouts with changes being made from time to time. Do not make a full time workout of these exercises, but merely add one or two to your regular arm routine and take the time to work and concentrate properly on them. I might suggest that you work the arms last and at the completion of your regular arm routine make a special time for isolation work. If you feel that the biceps might be too tired to do the workout justice by this time, then cut your regular arm work down a little, retaining some energy for the isolation work.
Remember too that some fellows have a naturally high biceps formation which gives them a reasonably high biceps with very little extra specializing to achieve or retain it. But if you are among the less fortunate and have the flat type biceps, then the above exercises properly and sensibly applied will bring gratifying results.
You will find it necessary to make changes to your arm routines from time to time in order to insure the muscles of a change and to work them from various angles. This will also help to ward off boredom and help you to train more efficiently. Your entire upper arm will take on a much shapelier appearance once you have attained more height in the biceps and a greater, fuller arm development will be yours.