If your biceps have stopped growing you no doubt are frustrated and looking earnestly for advice on how to restart growth in your “guns.”
Instead of randomly adding sets or additional exercises, it is most effective to add to the intensity. To do that we have many variables, or intensity-increasing techniques available to us.
One of those is drop-sets. I have used this technique for many years with great success. The basic structure is to do a set of an exercise to failure,reduce weight, do additional reps to failure and continue repeating this until you have worked your way down in weight.
One way to do is to use a selectorized stack machine and have a partner “quick-change” the selector pin to reduce weight fast. Or add several pins to the stack at different weight levels, so pins can be removed to quickly change weight.
If using a barbell, weight plates can be stripped off by a pair of assistants to allow continuation of the set. Dumbbells can be swapped out quickly with the next lightest on the rack.
Now, let’s focus on using drop-sets to pack slabs of new muscle on our biceps.
Bigger Bicep Workouts
Our first routine begins with barbell curls-with two training partners ‘stripping’ the plates off. This must be done carefully or the bar will become off-balanced and tip to one side. This is dangerous because it leads to plates falling off the bar and possibly landing on someone’s feet.
After reaching failure at the end of the set, lower the bar to the bottom while the plates are removed. It’s best to load the bar with larger plates to form a base weight, then add weights in smaller increments to make it easier to reduce the weight in small amounts.
For example, if you are able to use 100 lbs in the barbell curl,load the bar with two 20’s to make the total weight 60 lbs with a 20 lb bar. Fill in the rest of the weight with 5’s. After your first mini-set, a pair of 5’s are removed before resuming the set for a second mini-set to failure. Repeat until 5-6 mini-sets have been completed.
Our second exercise is machine preacher curls. Use a selectorized machine if available to facilitate quick weight change. Do these in the same manner as the barbell curls.
The routine looks like this:
- Barbell curl – 1×8,8,8,6,6,6
- No rest
- Machine curls – 1×10,10,8,8,6,6
A second routine that includes dumbbell concentration curls and seated rope curls looks like:
- Dumbbell concentration curl – 1×12,10,8,8,6,6
- No rest
- Rope curls to side of head – 1×12,10,10,8,8,6
Note: Rope curls are done using a double rope handle,attached to the mid-pulley on a cable machine. Sit facing machine;pull rope handles alongside your head,finishing at side of head at back.
These two movements are great for building a strong peak contraction in the bi’s and activating a large number of fibers. This kind of stress causes a strong pump which drives the necessary muscle-building nutrients into the muscle.
David Groscup has over 40 years of training experience in HIT, or High Intensity Weight Training. He is certified as a High Intensity Trainer by the IART/Med-Ex Group and has trained many people successfully in this protocol.
He has authored ten books on the subject of high intensity training, which are available at: http://www.amazon.com/author/davidgroscup
You can read his blog on High Intensity Training at: http://drhitshighintensitybodybuilding.blogspot.com/