Should You Believe What They Say?

Do pro bodybuilders come with a second brain in their thigh like the dinosaurs did? They're big enough. As for their intelligence, well, yeah, I'm not even gonna go there. Well, enough of that, let's get into this, right Ronnie?
Should you believe what they say?

Yep, it's Sunday night, I've got homework to do, a big test tomorrow in a class that I haven't been to in months, some Wu Tang playing in the background, so what am I doing, making fun of another absurd muscle comic article. This one again comes from Flex (if anyone knows of some other online magazines, please email them to me) and today's unlucky author is 250 lbs of ripped muscle. Do pro bodybuilders come with a second brain in their thigh like the dinosaurs did? They're big enough. As for their intelligence, well, yeah, I'm not even gonna go there. Well, enough of that, let's get into this, right Ronnie?

Note: The quotes from the magazine are in italics.

"Consistency is king of the hill in the world of bodybuilding and training science. I'm genetically blessed with biceps that respond well to training, yet the secret to my success is a total commitment to working biceps every week of the year, every year - without fail!"

Oh, so legs are only like the girl on the side. You do them once in a while, but you're true commitment is your biceps. Again, why are biceps written about so much? Are not other body parts just as important? There's not an article about legs in every month's issue of the magazines, are there?

"I got my first weight set when I was in elementary school; the only thing I messed around with then was arm curls. Even in high school, in the early stages of my football and powerlifting training phase, I was more interested in working arms than anything else."

Yeah, that makes sense. Everyone is obsessed with getting bigger arms when they first start out. I know I was. Thing is, triceps make up 2/3 of your arm size. So why not more articles about triceps?

"I was, in fact, obsessed with making my arms as huge as possible. I always wanted big arms, so I went after them with all the intensity and passion of Jason in search of the Golden Fleece."

Of course you do. Pay attention to this statement: "Obsessed with making my arms as huge as possible." He'll contradict himself later on in his article.

"I'm not exaggerating my desire to build baseball-sized biceps. Everything I do in the gym is based on careful analysis of what it takes to craft thick full biceps muscle attachments, as well as to develop those pesky peaks to the max."

We already went over this, you are obsessive-compulsive.

"That's why I prefer exercises that isolate the biceps. People talk about "isolation exercises" in a variety of contexts, but my definition is a movement that enables you to place optimal stress on the muscle for the duration of the entire working set - in essence, the Weider Continuous Tension Principle. I favor any exercise that will help me achieve this objective. Based on the knowledge I have gained during my years of being fixated on biceps, I've devised a routine that will help you make substantive gains in a hurry."

What? No. Every exercise you do for biceps is an isolation exercise. Non-isolation exercises would be pull downs, rows, etc. "Weider Continuous Tension Principle." Right, right. It's called a ROM. The slower you bring the weight down, and as long as you don't lock your elbows at the bottom, you will always have your biceps under tension. It's nothing special that Weider thought up.


I recommend doing four exercises for biceps, one or two times per week, three sets and 12-15 reps per movement. Apart from warm-ups, always go to failure on each set. Logic dictates training biceps in tandem with back: The biceps get a lot of work when you're hitting lats and rhomboids, so it's overkill to split these bodyparts into two distinct "pulling-muscle" workouts."

Now, if you train biceps on the same day as back so they aren't worked twice per week, why would you recommend doing them twice per week? It makes no sense. And 12-15 reps per set. You're not going to grow doing such high reps, this is what the old ladies in the gym do trying to burn fat (and it does very little). Stick with about 6-8.

"I rotate my exercises to keep the muscles guessing, but I like this particular routine because the elements complement and build on one another. The common denominator in all of my biceps exercises is that each one isolates the muscle for fast results.


Begin with cambered-bar preacher curls, an exercise that provides a stricter movement than standard barbell curls while offering significant mass development, especially for the lower part of the biceps. I'm an avid proponent of performing preacher curls with a cambered bar, because it reduces the stress on the biceps tendons and wrists, and it also brings the brachialis partly into play."

I'd actually have to agree. I love preacher curls, they're one of my favorite biceps exercises.

"The initial exercise in any bodypart routine mandates a warm-up set with a moderate amount of weight to pump blood into the targeted area. I do 15 warm-up reps before launching into my three working sets. I keep the reps high (12-15 per set) for biceps; my goal is to favor density and hardness over sheer size, since my arms are already pretty big."

Remember when I said pay attention to his quote of making his biceps as big as possible, well Ronnie, there you go again contradicting yourself. For the rest of us who aren't blessed with 25" arm, concentrate on building mass.

"If you want to pack on size, increase the weight and lower the reps to 10. I suggest, however, that you follow my lead in training with higher reps, stricter form and more focused intensity on what the muscle is doing as you go through the full range of motion."

Still, too high of reps. How bout training with highly focused intensity on a lower rep range where you can actually cause hypertrophy and thus cause the muscle to grow.

"With preachers, place your chest against the bench and straighten your arms, extending them over the bench. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip, lift it up to flex and feel for a peak contraction at about chest level. Your biceps should support the weight at all times; if you curl the bar to your shoulders, the stress is released from the biceps. Then lower the bar until your arms are fully extended, always focusing on the negative contraction. Your wrists should be locked to ensure that your biceps - not your forearms - are handling the bulk of the training load."

That's actually good advice. Well said Ronnie.


My second exercise is incline dumbbell curls. I do these two arms at a time to increase the intensity and to negate the torque on the lower back caused by unilateral movements. I lean all the way back on the incline bench; this position helps me fully isolate the biceps muscles. Keep cheating to an absolute minimum."

Keep cheating to an absolute minimum. Wow, you've got to be a true philosopher on exercise science to think of that. That must have worn his brain out fast.

"I let my arms hang straight down at the outset and pump out 12-15 strict curls. I curl the dumbbells up to my shoulders, but during the descent, I don't extend to lockout; instead, I go to the point where my elbow joints are at a 60-70 degree angle. I start the next rep from there. This keeps continuous tension on the biceps and fully exploits the muscle-building potential of the negative part of the rep. If you lose the effect of the negative, you cancel out the reasons for doing the exercise (isolation and continuous tension) in the first place."

Agreed, except again, why 12-15 reps. The name of this article denoted that you were supposed to gain mass from this workout, not lose it.


My third exercise is cable curls. The glory of cables is that they utilize the negative contraction more intensely than dumbbells or barbells do. Cables put you in close touch with the mind-muscle connection that is an absolute necessity for biceps growth and stimulation."

Actually, heavy weights and good form is the true necessity to biceps growth and stimulation. Cable curls are a decent change from barbell curls, but still, barbell curls should be the staple of your biceps workout.

"At the start of each rep, my arms are in front of my thighs. I curl slowly, bringing the handle up to about chest level. I squeeze at the top and slowly release the weight to go for the negative on the way back down to ground zero. Cable curls will help you make tremendous progress, regardless of whether you've been bodybuilding for a day or a decade. The secret is to stay intense throughout every set and rep."

The secret in gaining muscle through an exercise is to stay intense through every set and rep. Do 12-15 reps of cable curls and you'll be at ground zero. Why you would make tremendous gains from cable curls over barbell curls, and why how long you've been lifting for matters in this case is beyond me.


To add quality to the peak of each biceps, end your workout with three intense sets of dumbbell concentration curls. I like to do these the old-fashioned way, with the elbow tucked into the thigh, curling the dumbbell to fully contract the biceps. I do 12-15 reps with the right arm and then switch sides."

I really don't like concentration curls. I don't really think they have a place in the workout of any beginner. You just can't use enough weight, and if you squeeze hard enough on your two main biceps builders, preacher curls and barbell curls, you're peaks will be like mountaintops. There is no reason to waste 10 minutes doing concentration curls.

"My last piece of advice is to get a pair of training gloves. I wear gloves for all my workouts - except for legs, of course - because they improve my grip and give me a sense of confidence that I can handle heavy weights with strict form and total control. I feel like Superman when I slip on those gloves. Take a long look at my biceps and you might even say that Superman has nothing on me."

I guess this is more up to the individual. I don't use them. I like straps for back day, but otherwise I'd rather let the calluses build up on my hands. I got plenty from working construction, and I'd rather not lose them. If I do, it's going to be pretty painful next summer. Personally, I feel like Superman when I slip into a Durex, and oh yeah, Superman would whoop your ass Ronnie.

To stimulate your biceps, all you really need is 3-5 sets. I'm sure you've seen this in my past articles but here's an example biceps routine that I recommend to most people:

Bar Curl: 2 sets, 6-8 reps
Dumbbell Curl: 1 sets, 6-8 reps
Preacher Curls: 1 sets, 6-8 reps

Do this with high intensity, go home, eat a meal, then go to bed and you're earthworms will turn into pythons.

"Courage exists not in blindly overlooking danger, but seeing it, and conquering it" - Richter