If after a while of training, you can find your muscles stop growing, it’s time to change your training program to increase biceps.
You can do this by challenging your muscles more, improving your lifting technique, or doing more recovery routines, such as rest days, protein supplements, or more sleep.
The science behind increasing biceps
The biggest cause of muscle growth is simply muscle damage from resistance training. There are three main components to muscle-building training: progressive overload, mechanical stress, and metabolic stress.
Progressive overload is the process of increasing the total weight you put on your body over time. The general rule of progressive overload in terms of hypertrophy is to fatigue your muscles through increasing mass at submaximal loads.
One study looked at whether you should do progressive overload when increasing mass or weight. Group A did the same number of reps but increased the weight each week, resulting in more strength gains.
Group B performed more repetitions per week but kept the same load, resulting in more muscle growth.
Both processes are possible strategies for increasing muscle adaptability depending on your overall goals.
Mechanical stress is also an important stimulus for muscle growth. Mechanical stress refers to the time, load, and motion a muscle has to work through during a given exercise.
Heavier weights, longer durations, and longer ranges of motion will increase mechanical tension, which will lead to additional muscle gains.
Metabolic stress is a buildup of metabolites in the muscle, such as lactate, phosphate, and hydrogen ions, that cause a range of effects, such as cell swelling, increased blood flow, and anabolic hormone production.
You can increase metabolic stress by increasing the number of sets, reps or weights and/or by shortening the rest period.
One study found that a biceps training program with 4 sets of 10 repetitions at 70% 1RM with strict 90-second rest intervals produced more lactate and a greater pH drop than a program performed. strength training with 4 sets of 6 reps at 85% 1RM with 5 min rest.
According to a systematic review of the scientific literature, maximum muscle growth for resistance training in the direction of hypertrophy should consist of 3-6 sets of 6-12 repetitions at intervals. rest 60 seconds at 60−80% of your 1 rep max weight and weekly increments of volume per week.
See also: Muscle gain and everything you need to know
How to challenge your biceps more
Many people focus on larger muscle groups, such as the chest, back, and legs, skipping training their arms.
Others will do their biceps exercises at the end of a workout when they have little mental or physical energy left.
Your body will grow based on how you prioritize exercise. You can take a day off before doing arm exercises, or spend a full day or two doing hand exercises. If you want to work even harder, you can work your shoulders, triceps, and biceps on separate days to ensure that you’re achieving maximum hypertrophy.
If you’re someone who only does isolation exercises, you may want to combine a strength cycle with heavy exercises to strengthen your overall strength, which will help increase your strength in the long run. Isolated hand exercises.
High-resistance biceps programs such as Starting Strength, 5×5, or Wendler 5/3/1 have been shown to increase strength more than low-resistance programs.
This process will increase your absolute strength, allowing you to lift a lot of submaximal weight when returning to your normal hypertrophy program.
Just adding dumbbells, a Smith machine, or a chest press can dramatically increase your overall strength in the shoulders and triceps. Adding Pull Up and Barbell Row moves can also strengthen your biceps.
If you’re a person who feels strong with compound exercises but don’t have balanced arms to match, then you may want to try higher-volume isolation exercises with submaximal weights. This will allow you to re-establish the connection between your mind and muscles and ensure that you are not using other muscles.
Without a strong enough mind-muscle connection in biceps curls, many lifters will activate their shoulders, trapezius, and pectorals more, as they must mobilize stability under heavier loads.
If you feel like your shoulders overwhelm your biceps exercise, try using an arm blaster or simply press your arms to your sides to reduce shoulder impact.
You can also try concentration curls, preacher curls, spider curls to relieve tension in your anterior deltoid.
If you’re activating too much of the trapezius, try leaning against a wall or bench to avoid unwanted effects and lessen the impact of the trapezius.
If you feel your pectoral muscles as you roll your biceps, chances are your shoulders are turning inward too much, which forces your chest to engage for stability.
Try incline bench bicep curls or wide grip EZ bar curls to help rotate your shoulders outward and activate more biceps.
Improve your posture
The key to good form is to perform a full ROM workout with the right weight with the least amount of force on your ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Most people make the mistake of shortening their range of motion during exercise to lift a little extra weight at one point or another.
This can be an appropriate biceps technique when trying to complete a set or increasing metabolic stress. However, it is much more beneficial for strength gains and hypertrophy when training at full range of motion.
This is especially true when training the arms, because biceps curls, triceps stretches, and shoulder exercises are inherently short movements.
The positions of full elongation and complete shortening are where mechanical tension is greatest. This systematic review concluded that training at longer muscle lengths resulted in a greater increase in muscle size than training at shorter lengths.
However, you should always be cautious of your personal limits to joint range of motion and resistance loads at those fully lengthened and shortened positions.
The most common upper body injuries in resistance training include strains, ligament sprains, pectoralis major tendon ruptures, distal biceps tendon ruptures, and chronic shoulder pain. While injury is always a risk, it can be prevented with proper, safe exercise technique and maintaining muscle balance.
On the other hand, partial range of motion can be very beneficial to address your weaknesses and imbalances. For example, many weightlifters overlook the distal (closest to the elbow) part of the biceps due to frequently performing low-range repetitions. Therefore, it can be very beneficial to practice the first 15 to 30 degree elbow bend, as in the preacher curl.
Maximize arm muscle growth with food, sleep and recovery
Increasing biceps depends on a positive protein balance in the muscles. If you don’t consume enough protein, don’t get enough sleep, and don’t allow your body to recover, muscle breakdown will outpace your muscle growth.
You need an excess of protein to prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle growth. If you’re not seeing muscle growth, make sure you’re eating enough protein.
See also: List of the most protein-rich foods you should eat every day
You should eat about 20 grams of protein per meal in 4-5 feedings for maximum protein synthesis. Research by Moore et al. 2015 found that optimal protein consumption is 0.4g per kilogram of body weight per meal with four servings per day.
Example: If you weigh 77 kg, you will need about 31g of protein per meal or 124g per day.
See also: What to eat before and after exercise to gain the best muscle
Sleep is essential for muscle maintenance and growth. Insufficient sleep has been shown to increase body fat and prevent the maintenance of lean muscle mass.
One study demonstrated that a night of inadequate sleep causes cellular disruptions in circadian rhythms, protein synthesis, and hormone expression that influence muscle gain.
Ideally, you should get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for maximum exercise performance.
Recovery is an often overlooked aspect of training and muscle growth. To optimize muscle recovery after exercise, you should combine biological, mechanical, nutritional, and pharmacological strategies for muscle growth.
You can use heat therapy to boost anabolic growth hormones after a workout.
You can perform a foam roller, stretch, or stretch your muscles to help lengthen them, which can help build muscle mass and aid in recovery.
Eating plenty of protein and carbohydrates after a workout can help boost insulin, replenish glycogen stores, and may even contribute directly to biceps gain.
Finally, supplements like Glutamine can help increase your recovery and overall muscle growth.