Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • What's up, guys?

  • Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.

  • Today I'm going to show you the best exercises for your biceps.

  • As we've been doing in this entire series, I'm going to restrict my selections of these

  • exercises to the use of just dumbbells.

  • That doesn't mean that I have to sacrifice anything.

  • As a matter of fact, as you're going to see in this video, I'm going to show you

  • some superior selections.

  • Provided I get the opportunity to provide context to my selections.

  • As we've been doing all along here, we've been taking exercises that fit different purposes

  • and categories.

  • We're going to do the same thing here as well.

  • I'm going to show you the best options if you're training for power; for strength;

  • for hypertrophy with an eccentric overload as your focus or method, or a metabolic stress

  • as your method of hypertrophy.

  • I'm going to cover them both.

  • I'm going to show you a corrective exercise you can do.

  • I'm even going to show you a total body exercise.

  • Yes, they do exist when it comes to biceps.

  • Finally, that miscellaneous category, we're going to cover an exercise that hits, not

  • just the biceps, but more importantly, the muscle underneath the biceps, the brachialis.

  • That will help you get more rips on your upper arm.

  • The fact is, the selections are based on science and the selections are based around that context.

  • Most of all, you're going to be armed with the best exercise selections, no matter the

  • purpose or goal you have in your training.

  • So, let's get started.

  • So, we kick it all off here with strength and if you haven't already done so, you're

  • definitely going to want to watch the chest edition in this series because the selection

  • process of how we got to these strength exercises was very similar.

  • It's based on the lack of stability when we move from a fixed hand position on a barbell

  • to separate hands controlling dumbbells.

  • Now, how does that play into this?

  • Guys, again, if I had options for a barbell, I'd go right to the barbell curl, as you

  • see me doing here.

  • Whether I'm using a straight bar or an easy bar I love this variation of a curl.

  • I think it allows us to add the most weight to the bar to get the most strength benefits.

  • But I've also covered, in great depth, many times on this channel, how much I like the

  • weighted chin-up.

  • You can see me doing those here.

  • I know I can overload the biceps, once again, because I not only have the additional weight

  • around my waist, but I've got the weight of my own body that I'm using to overload

  • those biceps.

  • But that's not the name of the game because we're using just dumbbells here.

  • So, I have to make my selection.

  • But what I do here is I use that same criteria as I did with the bench-press, moving to the

  • dumbbell bench-press.

  • We know that 300lb bench-pressers don't automatically become 150lb dumbbell bench-pressers.

  • That's because the stability required at the shoulder becomes compromised and winds

  • up undercutting your strength performance on the exercise.

  • So, the dumbbell variation is not always the best choice.

  • In the similar case of the dumbbell curl, when I go to move that weight up, I have to

  • be able to counteract that weight coming up.

  • I have to be able to stabilize that with my core because of the posterior driven force

  • of the dumbbells coming up and back, requiring my core to be engaged to do that.

  • So what happens is, if you're a 130lb barbell curler, you may not be a 65lb dumbbell curler

  • for that very same reason.

  • But you can do something different.

  • You can lift one dumbbell at a time.

  • What we've done is halved the requirements of our core for having to stabilize that much

  • weight coming up and backward.

  • Only 65lbs at a time.

  • You'll notice you can maximize your strength using a dumbbell one at a time.

  • Again, if I have my overall choice from athleticism, trying to integrate as many areas as possible,

  • I would go with the double handed version of this.

  • The simultaneous curl.

  • But we're looking for just strength here, guys.

  • That's what leads me in the direction of the unilateral curl.

  • But I'm not going to abandon the weighted chin-up.

  • I don't have to.

  • I have two winners here, guys.

  • The beauty of this exercise is that I don't have to sacrifice the weight that I use.

  • Instead of using plates as my form of resistance, all I have to do is take, in this case like

  • I do here, wrap a dog leash around a single dumbbell, and then wrap it around my waist.

  • I jump up on that bar and I'm good to go.

  • I haven't had to sacrifice the load that I've been using if I've been using plates

  • in its place.

  • The fact is, when we're looking for strength overload is the key.

  • And these two exercises give you the best opportunity to do just that.

  • Next up, we move onto power.

  • What that should automatically trigger in your head by now is if you want to develop

  • power you not only want to be able to move some weight, but you want to be able to move

  • that weight rather quickly.

  • You want to have a speed component, or velocity component, to the weight that you're lifting.

  • When it comes to developing your biceps there's one exercise I still choose.

  • It's going to look very similar to one we just covered.

  • That is the weighted plyometric chin.

  • Again, we don't have to weight it as heavy as we did before because we know that velocity

  • is still key.

  • We need to be able to explode through the concentric portion of the rep.

  • Not only that, as I covered in our chest edition, you want to be able to find an exercise that

  • optimally does not restrict you, in terms of your ability to explode through that concentric.

  • You don't want to be slowing down dumbbells in the case of a dumbbell bench-press in order

  • to come back down to the bottom and repeat the rep.

  • You're decelerating at the moment you want to accelerate.

  • Here, if you can get your body moving through the bar on a weighted chin, you're doing

  • exactly what you need to do.

  • Again, you don't have to use that much weight here.

  • As a matter of fact, guys might find this so challenging that they use no weight at

  • all.

  • But guess what?

  • The dumbbell still comes in handy because all you've got to do is turn it on its end

  • and use it as a stepping stool to get up to the bar and do these for bodyweight only.

  • The fact is, the plyo-chin-up is one of the most explosive and best ways to train for

  • power when you're trying to focus on your biceps.

  • Moving onto hypertrophy, we know there's more than one way to skin a cat.

  • Progressive overload is an option, but we also understandif we have any training

  • experiencethat we wind up drying up on that route because we know we can't continually

  • add weight to the exercise.

  • Even the great ones that we've selected before.

  • The fact is, we need more options.

  • That comes in the form of the eccentric overload.

  • Eccentric muscle damage.

  • It's a great stimulator for protein synthesis.

  • But what we do is select the right exercise.

  • Here, dumbbells come in handy.

  • We do the dumbbell incline curl.

  • But we're not just doing the dumbbell incline curl because you've probably done a lot

  • of them in your lifetime.

  • The fact is, we're really trying to accentuate the stretch on the biceps.

  • The eccentric overload of the biceps.

  • To achieve what we're trying to achieve here.

  • We can do that in a better way by actively contracting the muscle on the opposite side

  • of the elbow and the biceps.

  • That is the triceps.

  • You can see me doing that in the bottom of every rep.

  • It accentuates the strength of contraction that I'm going to get from the biceps to

  • rebound from that bottomed out position.

  • That's great, but we also know something else here.

  • When I reach concentric failure I'm not done because we know our muscles are setup

  • in such a way that eccentrically we are stronger than we are concentrically.

  • So, even when we reach concentric failure we've got some more to go.

  • If you're really trying to build muscle, if you're trying to create hypertrophy,

  • one of the best ways to do that is not just to take your exercises to failure, but through

  • failure.

  • I can do that with this drop set.

  • I sit up, I'm mechanically changing the position of my body to an upright position,

  • I curl it, to cheat it up is going to be easier from this position.

  • Then what I do is sink my body back to the bench, slowly lower back down again to accentuate

  • that stretch, once again.

  • That eccentric contraction of the biceps.

  • This is a great combination, guys.

  • It employs a couple additional techniques to the exercise you've probably already

  • done, and it will amplify the results you see from this dramatically.

  • Let's continue that theme we just built on here because we're now focused on a metabolic

  • stress.

  • Reveling in the burn, is what I say.

  • When we get to the burn, that's when the exercise starts.

  • We can do that here.

  • We can utilize something called a mechanical drop set to keep that burn going long after

  • we thought we'd have to quit.

  • You've probably seen this before as it's appeared in our Sore in Six Bicep workout.

  • It's so damn effective.

  • You will not perform this and not burn like hell by the time you're done.

  • I promise you that.

  • So, what we do is start in the inclined position here.

  • We do our curls to failure.

  • Then what we do is sit up.

  • We don't have to drop the weight or change the weight.

  • We simply sit up.

  • By changing our position of the dumbbells relative to gravity, we've changed the strength

  • curve a bit.

  • Now we can complete a few more repetitions.

  • What we do is take it to failure once again.

  • With biceps, trust me, you'll be burning like hell at this point.

  • Again, this is where you test yourself.

  • How far can I go with the burn?

  • Now I can lean forward and perform a drag curl.

  • The moment arm of the dumbbells is no longer so long away from my shoulder.

  • Now I can get my elbows way back and keep those dumbbells in close, which is going to

  • make the exercise easier.

  • Now, it's not going to be easy because it's still in line here, and that burn has already

  • been set in a long time ago, but it's still going to allow you to crank out a few more

  • reps, with the goal being to get every, single rep you can with that burn firmly in place.

  • This is such a great option for doing that.

  • Now it gets a little bit fun here because we're now going to cover a total body option

  • for your biceps.

  • Yeah, we're going to use dumbbells and I promise, it's going to be more than just

  • the single joint focused bicep exercises that you're probably used to.

  • Here we do a dumbbell underhand dead row.

  • The exercise starts from the floor, it's ground based, it's covering multiple joints,

  • it's demanding a synchronization of those joints from the ankles, to the knees, to the

  • hips, even to the elbows, and the shoulders.

  • You can see as we wrap around here it's obviously working the back as we go into the

  • row portion of it, and as we come back around there's no doubt the biceps are doing the

  • heavy workload here.

  • Especially because of the supinated grip.

  • Sometimes you're short on time.

  • Sometimes you're just doing a pull workout.

  • Sometimes you're looking for one of those big 'bang-for-your-buck' exercises.

  • This is the one you want to select.

  • I promise you; your biceps are not going to sacrifice here.

  • They're still going to benefit because this is a great exercise selection.

  • Moving on now, we go to one of my favorite areas of these videos, and that is the corrective

  • exercise selection because you can't ignore the correctives.

  • Just because they seem to be the more rehab-based exercises, it doesn't make them less important.

  • As a pre-habilitative exercise selection they're going to be super beneficial for you.

  • The fact is, when it comes to the elbow and the biceps, what are you really trying to

  • focus on?

  • While we have the option to target the shoulder because of its attachment up here, what I

  • find more beneficial to those that are training their biceps is to target the strength of

  • the forearms and the proper integration of the muscles in the forearms when you're

  • doing your gripping and bicep exercises.

  • Why is that?

  • I've covered it before in great detail how the medial elbow starts to take the brunt

  • of the load when you improperly load or grab a dumbbell or barbell in your hand because

  • you grab it too far down.

  • What winds up happening is it puts a whole hell of a lot of stress on the medial elbow

  • and makes it almost impossible for you to do bicep exercises.

  • You might not even be able to do any pulling exercises at all.

  • That can't be.

  • So, what we do here is – I have two choices.

  • If you can't handle a heavy load, then what I would have you do is this wrist curl variation.

  • This is the medial elbow wrist curl because that's what we're trying to focus on.

  • All you have to do is do a normal forearm wrist curl, but you have to grab the dumbbell

  • deep in your hand.

  • Not distally in your fingers because the main root of that problem that's causing all

  • this overload here at the medial elbow is this overload of these distal finger tendons.

  • When the dumbbell is held too far out in the fingers it creates a hell of a lot of stress

  • on a tendon that's way too weak to handle that.

  • So, what you want to do is slide that dumbbell back into the palm of your hand, grip there,

  • and then perform those repetitions.

  • But then we can do something even better.

  • We can take the load and make it substantially heavier, which will probably have a better

  • carryover when you go back to your strength exercises.

  • That is to do this variation of a carry.

  • Again, what you're trying to do is, not just walk around the gym with the heaviest

  • dumbbells you possibly can hold until they drop out of your hands.

  • Instead, you want to grip that dumbbell deep in your hand.

  • You want to work on that forearm strength in the proper position without letting it

  • start to fall.

  • As you see here, when I get around the gym, if I'm fatiguing and I have to put the dumbbells

  • down, so be it.

  • Remember,