Sculpting your biceps

Sculpt beautiful biceps with these four arm-training techniques and three workouts.

June 17, 2003
Sculpting your biceps
Let's see those sexy biceps--go on, flex 'em! Are they as tight and developed as you'd like, or do you think they could use a bit more shape and size? If you want to flex to impress, this simple, four-part primer on form, intensity, exercise selection and frequency will give you the tools you need to take your biceps from so-so to show-stopping.

As with most muscle groups you train, the biceps need some individual attention to become stronger and more shapely. All too often we throw a few biceps curls in at the end of a workout without devoting enough effort to make a visible difference in the muscle. If you've been diligently targeting your biceps each week yet haven't seen promising results, don't despair: Even top-level fitness competitors like Susie Curry and Lovena Stamatiou-Tuley had to change their biceps training methods to achieve the athletic development they display today.

"I still have trouble developing my biceps," Susie admits. "I used to do more reps with lighter weight, and I used to superset biceps and triceps exercises. I've seen better results by training biceps separately, giving them more attention and not overtraining them like I used to do." Lovena actually devoted an entire year to bringing up her bi's. "These things don't happen overnight," she explains. "The biceps is a fairly small muscle group and it doesn't grow quickly."

To sculpt standout biceps, you need more than just a list of exercises. So before you try out the sample routines from Lovena, Susie, and fellow competitor and personal trainer Melissa Frabbiele, take some time to read "Biceps Basics." Arm yourself with this information on form, intensity, exercise selection and frequency to help you build better biceps.

Biceps Basics
1. Form. The first step is positioning your body correctly for each exercise. Sounds simple enough, right? For standing exercises, Suzanne Meth, MS, ATC, CSCS, an athletic and personal trainer at New York City's La Palestra, recommends keeping your knees under your hips and slightly bent, abs pulled in and shoulders back. You might also try tilting your pelvis up slightly to minimize your ability to use momentum in bringing the weight up. If you tend to cheat during standing biceps curls or have trouble maintaining your form, try standing with your back against a wall, adds Melissa.