Biceps are, and always will be, the most popular muscle groups to train at the gym. But so many people get it wrong! So, we’ve put together a list of the five worst mistakes to make when training biceps and, of course, how to fix them.
Not mixing up angles
THE PROBLEM: Most people have workouts that they enjoy, and some they don’t. With that in mind, many may just do dumbbell bicep curls, or just do EZ-bar curls because that is what they enjoy. Though the weight may be increasing over time, you will feel more benefit if you mix up the angles and to do that use different bars (dumbbell, barbell, EZ-bar) and change up your grip. Wider than shoulder grips with turn your arms out, this hitting the inner bicep area. The opposite happens with a closer grip.
THE FIX: Cycle your bicep workouts so that each time you work them, you use a different grip/bar. Make sure you switch between closed grip, and wide grip at least.
Not balancing out with your triceps
THE PROBLEM: Triceps ‘chip into’ many exercises – bench press, for example, will require you to use them. But people seldom train them independently or, at least, don’t give triceps the same attention as biceps. Opting to focus on the more famous biceps alone will result in imbalances. You are also limiting yourself massively, as you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Not only will bigger triceps help your biceps to grow (all muscles are connected after all, hence why big bar grips work so well), but having larger triceps will also increase the aesthetic look of your biceps.
THE FIX: Incorporate tricep workouts into your routine.
Moving elbows away from the body
THE PROBLEM: As the weight increases, your form may suffer. When you move your arms away from your body, you activate the shoulders which takes strain off the part of the body you want to build, namely your arms.
THE FIX: Focus on straight up and down movement and, if need be, go with a very light weight to begin, wrapping a band around your body so that you can perfect the form.
THE PROBLEM: Bicep curls are probably the easiest exercise to cheat on. A quick swing of the body and a whole host of extra force will help you to move the weight. This will work muscles but you won’t get the isolation you’re after, and you will be incorporating other muscles that you aren’t trying to build, so results will vary.
THE FIX: Reduce the weight. Simple fix for a simple problem.
Lifting too much weight
Many will do some bicep curls as a warm up and many will then add that warm up to their daily routine. This might seem like a way to sneak in some work on the arms each and every day, but this approach is wrong. By training every day you don’t give your muscles time to rest and this means that you don’t have time to grow. Likewise, training a little bit everyday is not how you want to approach any muscle group.
THE FIX: Create and ‘arm day’, and make sure that you give your arms time to rest afterwards.