Arm Yourself With
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The greater danger, for most
of us, lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting
our aim too low, and achieving our mark... Lord, grant that I may always desire
more than I can accomplish. -Michelangelo
Is there anyone who doesn't
appreciate great-looking arms? Round, hard, sculpted biceps? C'mon, what's the
first thing you do when someone asks you to make a muscle? The bicep is one of
the smallest, yet most eye-catching muscles in the body. And, the beauty of
exercising your biceps is it doesn't take a lot of grueling work to see real
The biceps comprise 1/3 of the muscle
mass of the upper arm and its primary function is to move the forearm towards
the shoulder. Its secondary function is to turn the hand from a palms-down to a
palms-up position (supination).
Anyway, enough with the anatomy
lesson, let's have some fun and do a biceps workout! I'm providing my two
favorite bicep exercises: The Close Grip Chin-Up and the Dumbbell Alternating
Incline Curl. Performed correctly and consistently, these exercises will add
size and the long sought after peak to your biceps.
BICEP EXERCISE #1: CHIN-UP
You will activate your back muscles
to some degree, but this exercise is primarily for developing a peak on the
bicep. I was always told that there was no way to develop a peak, because it
was an issue of genetics. However, after I incorporated this movement, I
developed a peak after four short months! The key is in the four-inch descent
and tight contraction at the top of the position.
1. Grasp the chin-up bar with your
palms facing your body and positioned just inside shoulder width. Contract the
bicep muscles and lift yourself up, stopping when your biceps are in a fully
contracted position. Contract tight and hold for a two second count.
2. Slowly descend approximately four
inches below the top position. The four-inch descent is part of the key to
developing the peak, because it places a constant tension on the biceps.
3. Exhale while lifting up and inhale
while returning to the starting position. You may use a machine that lends
assistance, but make your goal to eventually use a standard chin-up bar.
4. If your biceps are a weak muscle
group or if you want to really focus on them, make sure you work them twice a
BICEP EXERCISE #2: SEATED
ALTERNATING DUMBBELL INCLINE CURL
You will activate your biceps like
never before with this movement! When performed correctly, the burning
sensation in the bicep is practically unbearable. Its one of those
love/hate relationships. You know its working, but oh how you hate that
feeling... and love it at the same time!
I mentioned in a previous article
that the actor who played in all those Hercules movies, Steve Reeves, only
performed this specific movement for his biceps. He didnt do any other
1. Position yourself on an adjustable
weight bench and place the notch for the back part of the unit three holes up
from the bottom. People get confused when I talk degrees, so Ill make it
easier for you. You should be on a relatively steep incline with your back
2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with
the arms hanging down at your sides and palms facing your body.
3. Keep your wrists straight
throughout the exercise.
4. Contracting the biceps muscles,
bend your right arm at the elbow while turning your wrist until your palm is
facing the ceiling, stopping when the weight is just short of touching your
shoulder. Contract tight in this position for a full two second count.
5. Slowly return to the starting
position, stopping just short of the elbow fully extending. The hand should not
begin to turn towards your body until you reach your hip.
6. Repeat motion with the left arm
and alternate right and left for 8-12 repetitions on each side.
7. The upper arm should remain
stationary throughout the movement. Do not swing your elbows!
I know these movements will work for
you, but you must be consistent and supplement with a strategic nutrition
program. Perform 3-4 sets of each movement twice a week and watch those biceps
A competitive bodybuilder and
former 2001 Mr. Connecticut, Raphael Calzadilla, BA, ACE, RTS1 is a veteran of
the health and fitness industry who specializes in a holistic approach to body
transformation, nutrition programs and personal training. He earned his B.A. in
Communications from Southern Connecticut State University and is certified as a
personal trainer with ACE and APEX. In addition, he successfully completed the
RTS1 program based on biomechanics.