Biceps Training 101

  • Invest your energy in compound lifts

    “In my opinion, those seeking maximum biceps hypertrophy and strength should employ a comprehensive plan that is mainly focused on overall strength in compound lifts. The likely byproduct of which, will be increased biceps size and strength. For example, the biceps will receive significant loading during heavy compound pulling movements like rowing and pulling exercises,” says Tringali.

    1. Train them with biceps

    “Biceps training in conjunction with or following an antagonistic muscle (i.e. triceps) may be ideal to enhance intensity and strength of contraction and improve blood flow and cell swelling,” continues Tringali. Research indicates that alternating agonist and antagonist muscle exercises during training increases muscle activation and power output during a complex training session (2).

    1. Pay attention to hand and grip positioning

    “Because the main functions of the biceps are to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm, performing flexion exercises with a fully supinated hand position is ideal as it will produce maximum stress and tension on the bicep,” concluded Tringali.

    Vic also provided a snapshot of his biceps training which yielded considerable gains in development during his competitive days.


    Exercise Sets Repetitions
    Machine Bicep Curls *2 8-10
    Standing Straight Bar Curl 2 8-10
    Reverse Preacher Bench Dumbbell Curl 2 8-10


    *Followed by two warm-up sets of 12-15 repetitions.


    “This is one of my more popular routines during my competitive career. This was typically performed in conjunction with triceps training in superset fashion. (i.e. alternate biceps and triceps exercises). However, biceps training was also incorporated in other muscle groupings from time to time. For example: following chest or back training.”




    1. Arandjelović, O. (2013). Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(1), 135-145.
    2. Baker, D. & Newton, R.U. (2005). Acute effect on power output of alternating an agonist and antagonist muscle exercise during complex training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(1):202-205.