How to Get Bigger Biceps

Three Parts:Biceps ExercisesTraining TechniquesLifestyle Changes

Biceps are composed of a group of muscles in your arm that "pop" when you flex. Making them bigger involves more than doing the same exercises over and over. Learn different strategies, biceps exercises and lifestyle changes that promote bigger, stronger biceps.

Part 1
Biceps Exercises

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    Do dumbbell curls. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells in either hand at your sides, with your arms fully extended and your palms turned in. Curl the dumbbells to your chest.
    • Do between 6 and 8 reps and 2 sets. Increase to 3 sets after a week or two. After that, you can increase the weight of the dumbbells.
    • If you don't have dumbbells, you can also use kettlebells or barbells.
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    Do incline dumbbell curls. Sit on a workout chair at a 45-degree incline. Place your feet on the floor and hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms fully extended. Alternate your hands and curl one dumbbell at a time. Curl until the dumbbell is level with your shoulder and your elbow is totally bent, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
    • Do between 6 and 8 reps and 2 sets. Increase to 3 sets after a week or two, then add more weight as you get stronger.
    • You may find that you'll have to use a lower weight for this exercise than you use for regular dumbbell curls. That's not an issue; the inclined position makes it more difficult to lift, so your biceps are still getting a great workout.
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    Do concentration curls. Sit on an exercise seat with your feet flat on the ground shoulder-width apart. Lean forward so that your right elbow is touching the inside of your right knee, and your arm is fully extended. Curl the dumbbell toward your chest, keeping your elbow in the same spot.
    • You can place your opposite hand on your opposite knee for stability.
    • Do between 6 and 8 reps and 2 sets, then repeat with your left arm.
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    Do chin-ups. This exercise may be difficult at first, but it's an excellent way to increase the size of your biceps. Grip a bar with your hands placed shoulder-width apart and your palms facing you. Cross your feet and lift your body until your chin is higher than your hands. Slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
    • Do between 6 and 8 reps and 2 sets. Increase to 8 - 12 reps and 3 sets once you have gained strength.
    • To increase the intensity of this exercise, wear a weighted belt. Add more weight as you get stronger over time.

Part 2
Training Techniques

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    Don't train every day. You might think that working out every day will lead to bigger biceps, but your muscles actually get stronger during the resting period in between workouts, when they have time to recover. Over time they get larger in order to be capable of lifting more and more weight.
    • Train your biceps no more than twice a week for the best results.
    • Work out other parts of your body on the days you aren't doing exercises to enhance your biceps.
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    Limit the length of your sessions. Training for too long during any given session can strain your biceps and cause an injury, setting back your progress. Your arm muscles are more fragile than other muscles in your body, so it's important not to force them to endure too much strain. 30 minute training sessions are ideal for building strength and preventing injury.
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    When you do train, go all in. Make each 30-minute training session count by working out as hard as you can during that short period of time. Lift the heaviest weights you can lift for several reps to make your sessions as high-intensity as possible. Bodybuilders call this method "training to failure," because you should be training with weights heavy enough that you eventually can't complete another rep.
    • Find your "train to failure" weight by choosing a weight you can curl no more than 6 - 8 times before experiencing too much muscle fatigue to keep lifting. If you're able to complete several sets without breaking a sweat or "failing," you need to increase the weight. If you can't lift it even one or two times without stopping, decrease the weight.
    • Your train to failure weight will gradually increase as you gain muscle strength. Add weight in 10 pound increments every couple of weeks, using the same standard to determine whether you're lifting too much weight or too little.
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    Use the right form. Your train to failure weight should also be a weight you can lift while using the proper form. Using the right form keeps your biceps from getting injured and promotes the right kind of muscle-building.
    • Start each set with your arms fully extended, rather than having your elbows bent.
    • Don't use momentum to lift the weights; use controlled movements. Lower them slowly rather than letting them drop quickly.
    • If you find that you can't complete more than a few reps without losing your good form, you're lifting too much weight. Start with a lighter weight and build up your strength.
    • Take 45-second breaks between sets to let your muscles rest.

Part 3
Lifestyle Changes

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    Reduce your intake of high-calorie foods. When you're training a lot, you need to make sure you get plenty of calories for energy, but eating too much can create a layer of fat on your body that will obscure the muscles you're working so hard to build.
    • Choose vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
    • Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and ease your hunger pangs after working out.
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    Eat a lot of protein. Protein helps build muscles, so it's essential that you eat a lot of it while you're training.
    • Eat poultry, fish, beef, pork, eggs, and other sources of protein to build your muscles.
    • Beans, leafy greens, tofu, and other vegetarian sources of protein are also good choices.
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    Consider creatine. Creatine is an amino acid naturally produced by the body to build big, strong muscles. Many bodybuilders take creatine supplements to help them achieve their training goals. Although it isn't approved by the FDA, creatine is considered to be safe when taken in 5 gram doses.
    • Choose a powdered creatine supplement that can be mixed with water and ingested several times a day.
    • After an initial "loading" period during which you drink high amounts of creatine to build it up in your body, taper off to a maintenance dosage.


  • Close grip will work the inner bicep and wide grip will work the outer bicep.
  • Always stretch, warm up, and cool down. Tennis elbows suck.
  • Always keep yourself full of protein. Take 1.14 g of protein per pound of LEAN BODY MASS. (I.E. you weigh 200 lbs and your 24 percent body fat, your lean body mass would be 158 so you would need to ingest 185 grams of protein a day)
  • Never work out any muscle group for longer then 20 min. If you strictly lift weights your workouts should be no longer then 45 min. If you go any longer, your body will stop producing testosterone and start producing cortisone a stress chemical which will increase body fat storage.
  • Pullups are the main bicep exercise.

Article Info

Categories: Building Muscle & Strength | Upper Body Strengthening and Toning