If you're training your biceps during arm day but not seeing much in the way of results, then you may need to take a step back and look at the basics of your technique. For many, it's possible that when they're performing a simple bicep curl, their shoulders and forearms doing more work than they should, leaving the bicep undertrained. In a new Athlean-X video, Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. shares some insights into how you can quickly fix your workouts and start building your biceps.
His best advice is—and this might sound counterintuitive—to use lighter weights. By doing this, he explains, you'll be able to more easily correct your form and unlearn any bad habits you might have picked up, before progressively overloading your bicep workouts.
Shoulder flexion forms a part of a bicep curl, but if you're moving your whole arm with each rep, then you'll actually be working your delts, not your biceps. "Keep your shoulders steady and stable, in one position. You're not going to see the shoulder move forward at all."
Once you've minimized shoulder flexion in the curl, you may instinctively start placing more pressure on your wrists and forearms to pick up the slack; but you're going to want to avoid doing this too. Cavaliere explains a simple trick for figuring out if you're flexing your wrists too much: you should be able to see the joints of your fingers around the barbell, but not your knuckles.
"Deaden the wrist," he says. "Keep it bent backwards. If we keep the wrist backwards at the top, your hand is facing the ceiling. And we've got the stationary elbow. This keeps the dumbbell closer to us, and we get more of that drag feel to it, and that drag feel is going to be good for that outer part of the bicep, the long head, and really intensify the contraction."
These principles can be applied to a barbell curl as well as the dumbbell. Cavaliere also recommends the waiter curl as a bicep-builder which will help you focus on training that specific muscle, rather than drawing unwanted contribution from the shoulder or forearms.
"Remember, efficiency is what your body craves," he says. "These muscles are going to make it more efficient to curl the weight up... Make the bicep do all the work, don't give it the help it's looking for."
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