How to Build Bigger Guns: Part 2

So, you have tried out the biceps exercises that we mentioned in the first edition of this article but after some time, you feel as though your muscles are not developing at the same pace as before. Fret not, for we have compiled another set of exercises for you to perform during your next arm workout session to shock your muscles and force them towards growth. By the time you finish this article, we bet your arms are itching to grab hold of a pair of dumbbells and start curling away. And by the end of a month, you are sure to sport a leaner and more muscular arm that will complement that good-looking face of yours.


Hammer Curls

The hammer curl exercise helps give your biceps a full, round look and develop your forearms.

Starting Position

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms extended down along your sides, palms facing each other. Your upper body and elbows should remain stationary throughout the exercise.

The Exercise

Keeping your palms facing each other, curl the weight in one hand up in a semi-circle toward your shoulder. Contract the biceps hard at the top, then slowly lower the weight. Concentrate on maintaining strict form throughout the exercise. Alternate left and right sides. While performing this movement, you should avoid leaning too far forward or backwards. Keep your abs tight and your torso upright throughout the exercise. In addition, do not lift with your palms facing down like how you would in a reverse wrist curl. The proper form is to keep the palms facing each other.


Spider Curls

A variation on the classic preacher curl, this exercise is done from a slightly different position, making it harder to cheat by using your shoulders or the weight of your upper body to help lift the bar.

Starting Position

Use the spider curl bench or a preacher curl bench with the pad turned backwards so the backs of your arms rest against the vertical (not inclined) portion of the bench. Place a weighted EZ curl bar on the rack right in front of you. Extend your legs behind you and drape your arms over the pad. Grip the bar underhand with your hands about shoulder-width apart.

The Exercise

Curl the barbell in an arc toward your shoulders. As you begin, be careful not to lurch or rock the weight to get it moving. Concentrate on slow, controlled movement and hold the contraction at the top. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position, keeping a slight bend in your elbows to maintain the tension in your biceps. Try letting your wrists bend back slightly as you curl the bar upward. This will decrease the amount of work done by your forearms and increase the workload on your biceps. Alternatively, you can try using the straight barbell instead of the EZ curl bar for this exercise for a slight change in emphasis.


Crossover Curls

The crossover curl is a great exercise to finish off your arm workout. A variation on the hammer curl, crossover curls emphasise a different part of the muscle and produce a great burn.

Starting Position

Pick out a weighted dumbbell appropriate for your body strength and stand with your dumbbell in each hand and have your arms extended down along your sides, palms facing toward your body. Your upper body and elbows should remain stationary throughout the exercise.

The Exercise

Keeping your forearm close to and facing your chest, slowly curl one dumbbell across your chest. Think of tracing an arc across the front of your body. At the top, twist your wrist slightly so that your pinky finger turns toward your body and your thumb turns away from you. Hold the contraction at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbell along the same arc back to the starting position. Alternate between the left and right side.


Things to Note

Mix up these exercises every four weeks to keep your body guessing. Remember, over time, your body adapts to your routine and you stop progressing quickly, even if you are still increasing the amount of weight you are lifting. Variety is essential — the most dramatic transformations occur when you shock your body with a new set of exercise. Since different exercises work different parts of the targeted muscle group, variety also ensures a full and balanced development.

You should be attempting at least three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Give yourself approximately one minute of rest in between each set and then perform the final set with a lighter load without any rest in between.

For best results, keep a training log for yourself. Record down the exact weight and repetitions planned for your workout and then log the actual workout against your plan. This will help push yourself further in each workout to ensure you are always improving and your goals evolve along with your body.