If you are a competitor, currently prepping for your first show, planning to compete, or know someone who is- I ask that you read or share this. Not because I want tons of views, but because I wish I would have stumbled across this information before it was too late. After 6 years, 8 shows, 6 preps, and a pro card.. these are some of the most important lessons I have learned.
1. The grass always seems to be greener on the other side.
This is what I call the “competitor paradox”, and you’re lying if you say it isn’t true. You find yourself six weeks out from your first show- hungry, tired, mentally exhausted- but nonetheless, shredded as crap. You’ve worked so hard, grinding to perfection for “X” number of weeks, only to find yourself that close to competition. You would think you
Thera-band /resistance band curls- 2 sets of 30 reps. This will help initiate the vasodilation in the area; always have been a strong believer in the relationship of “the pump” and growth in the biceps specifically.
Light warm up sets- Before starting your working sets, make sure to do 2-3 very light sets to familiarize the movement and bring blood to the muscle.
Standing Hammer Curls: 3×8- 60s rest
SET-UP: You will need 2 dumbbells. Grip them so that the thumb side of your hand is close to the to the top portion of the dumbbell.
EXECUTION: Curl the dumbbell until the angle of your elbow is 90 degrees or slightly less. Then lower the
dumbbell until almost locked out. Do not completely lock out, because this will remove the tension from the bicep. You may perform this lift with both arms simultaneously or alternating (I prefer the latter).
TIPS: These first three working sets are where you absolutely lift your hardest; the muscle is fresh, and strength is at its greatest. I will be the first to suggest swinging excessively is unneeded, but slight momentum can help you move more weight, thus volume.
Standing Cross-Body Hammer Curls: 2×10- 60s rest
SET-UP: Same as above.
EXECUTION: Repeat the previous exercise, but across the body. The motion continues until the dumbbell is just in front of the opposite pectoral muscle. Then in a controlled fashion, lower the arm to starting position. You may have to lean forward slightly, to make room for the dumbbells. Alternate between right and left.
TIPS: This exercise works more efficiently if you check your ego and focus on every rep being of quality. I also like to keep my thumbs unwrapped occasionally, I feel it directs more work to the upper arm. You may experiment-
with a slight peak twist as well (trust me, do it).
Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl: 3×12- Superset with next exercise. no rest
SET-UP: You will need an adjustable bench and dumbbells. Adjust the seat one click steeper than a normal incline press. Hang arms straight down as if the shoulders were function-less, and shoulder blades tight to the pad.
EXECUTION: Begin by curling the dumbbell until the bend is 3/4th the way up. The eccentric motion controlled down until just before lockout. The shoulders shouldn’t move, only the forearm.
TIPS: I usually feel a stretch in my shoulder when my arm is in correct position. If you find it hard to keep your arm from swinging forward when curling, it’s probably too heavy.
Low Pulley Spider Curls: 3×12- 120s rest
SET-UP: Use the cable attachment you would for a back row, but instead attach a straight curl bar piece. Hips at 90 deg. Knees should be slightly bent, back is flat, chest is up, and arms extended forward- rib cage height. You will hardly need any weight, so start with 15-20lbs initially.
EXECUTION: While keeping upper arm in same position, curl until you your hands are just in front of your face. Eccentric should be slow and stopped just before full extension.
TIPS: This is a technique and squeeze lift. I find pausing with a squeeze for 2 seconds at peak contraction really amplifies the intensity.If you find yourself swinging your elbows during reps, lower the weight; its too heavy.
Double Cable Curl Burnout Out: 3×30; 90s rest
SET-UP: You will need two cable attachments, so prepare to be “that guy/girl” lol. Adjust attachments until just above head level
EXECUTION: The lift has 3 parts.
Part 1- Curl until hand is an inch or so away from your ear, and return until just before lockout- 10 reps
Part 2- Do tiny curl like motions from 70 to 110 degrees. Focus on quick, solid contractions- 10 reps
Part 3- Hold an isometric (non-moving) contraction at peak position. -10s hold
TIP: Keep Elbows straight out from side. A common mistake is allowing the elbows to move inward, avoid this! This is a burnout, so use moderate weight. Try having someone push out against your arms during the 10 second isometric hold, really heats things up. Chase the burn!
This concludes biceps. Great to pair with a back or triceps.
Do 2-3 reps of each stretch for 10-20 seconds. Focus on breathing to allow a deeper stretch range of motion.
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God gave you another day, and another healthy workout.