Pump your biceps to the next level!

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We are delighted to see how our readers liked the article about working the pecs using a high rep routine. So here comes another version that is “adjusted” to the biceps. Just as in case of the pecs routine, you’ll find the scheme here, and then you can vary the elements – the only limit is your imagination!

The exercises

Working the biceps never requires too many exercises, and the number of sets can be kept relatively low too. To be honest, even the volume described here might be too much for some of you – the biceps can be worked well by doing 6 sets only. We’ll do a total of 3 exercises with an optional 4th at the end. The rest break should be no longer than 90 seconds between the sets, but the optimum would be 60 seconds – except for the first exercise, where repetition counts are very high.

Biceps curls on a Scott bench:

Description of the exercise

Yes, we actually skip the standing barbell curls, and go for Scott bench right at the beginning. Why? We do high reps, and though the good form biceps motions exclude shoulders from working, it is not unheard of that you would have to put the bar down because of your shoulders burning (just by keeping it at the right position) – and this is much more likely to happen if you do your biceps after some bigger muscle group workout (especially after pectorals and shoulders). Those with strong enough wrists should use straight bars, but an EZ bar can be used just fine too. After warming up load weights on the bar so that you can do at least 25 reps. Done yet? OK, then do 30 reps. If you can do as many as 35, load some more the weight.

High rep workouts have a distinctive characteristic: the muscle will get burnt above a certain rep count, no matter what the weight is. For that reason it is possible that you go for a 15 kg bar, and you can hardly finish the 30 reps (thinking that it is your limit), but you would be able to do the 30 reps using a 20 kg bar too. Always go for the heaviest possible weights at the given rep count. You’ll need to experiment, but it’s worth it! You’ll be surprised how soon and with how heavy weights you’ll be able to do relatively high reps.

For the next set use weights that you can do at least 15 reps with, and try to do 20. If you can do twenty, increase the load. The third (and final) set should be of 10 reps – if you cannot finish it, decrease the weight!

Bicep curls (with dumbbells, sitting, wrists rotating)

Description of the exercise

We all know that for best results muscles should be targeted from several different directions, so we use another function of the biceps for the second exercise: rotation of the wrists. We don’t meddle with the weights at this exercise, but choose a dumbbell that you can do 15 reps with, and then try to do that in all three sets. If you can do more, it is okay, try a bit heavier weights. If you cannot do 15, decrease the weight. Always focus on the motion: it should be continuous and with no momentum used, and flex your biceps at the highest end position. Be warned that you’ll be able to use light weights only, but don’t get nervous, this kind of workout is not for your ego. Do three sets.

Hammer curls

Description of the exercise

Besides your biceps this exercise targets your forearms and your brachialis muscles too. Choose a weight that limits your reps to 10-12. Do two sets, and focus on good form.

+1 exercise

Description of the exercise

If you still have some breath left – and it is not that evident by now – you might crown the workout with a bit of concentration biceps curls. I know that it is a cruel thing to leave this popular exercise to the end (as everyone tends to be happy to do it), but let’s face it: for many people this exercise is totally needless. There is no point in shaping as long as there is no size. So this exercise is for advanced athletes, and is to be done in sets of at least 15 reps. Do 2 sets, and that is enough.


Do you like challenges? Do as many as 50 reps once in a while! Try to do the second and the third exercise at high rep counts, or do those at high rep counts and Scott bench at low rep counts – experiments to find what works best for YOU. Do not drop under 10 reps if you can help it, and never let the form suffer. This method is absolutely pointless if you just toss the weights around. If you are really adventuresome, try this workout in supersets with a high rep triceps routine (described here) – if you go for it, you are guaranteed to feel funny in your arms like never before. ;)

And that’s the magic – or is it magic at all? This workout is not a nice experience all the way, except towards the end, when you look at your arms in the mirror. :) And don’t be afraid of getting “lean” because of the high repetition counts. That depends on your diet only.

Related articles:

Never forget: no pain, no gain – and it is especially true for this kind of workout!

We look forward to reading about your experiences. ;)


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