Someone asked: “My Arms are 12 inches and do 15 pounds with 3 sets of 15 – When will I see results from doing bicep curls?”
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You just couldn’t get this kind of arms from curls alone (featuring Chuck Sipes):
It sounds like you are doing ONLY bicep curls – in that case let me tell you my own story when all I did was bicep curls and my arms were also 12 inches like yours (this was way back when I was 14):
I used to have a pair of 18 pound dumbbells from my uncle. Those were the old school pure steel ones and smelled like rust. And I did nothing but bicep curls. Actually those were seated concentration curls – not like I knew what that was called back then! All I knew was that if I was able to do 100 reps with those continuously then I would get bigger arms!
But don’t get me wrong; what I was doing actually helped my overall physique and “maleness” .I was still doing better than those other teenagers doing endless curls with a beer-bottle in parties! And definitely I was doing better than those other kids playing computer games from sun up to sun down (actually from afternoon till morning). And I started with those 18 pound babies almost struggling to get even one rep, but in a few weeks, me and my cousin, Andrew were able to graduate from that and do endless curls instead with uncle Jun’s 25 pounds (which was the heaviest pair that he’s got left with him at that time).
Now, those curls really added a little bit of shape and made our arms look like arms and not sticks. But after a while it got a little bit frustrating as we got used to doing that over and over again and YES even reaching 100 reps!
Now you see, I was like you – I knew no other exercise but bicep curls (hey you didn’t say you did any other exercise so I assume you only did curls) and if your question was “when will you see results in doing endless bicep curls” – then give or take a few weeks but after that – nothing. But that still depends on what kind of results are you looking for; if you are looking for serious results then it won’t happen and you will NEVER see those results no matter how long you do those bicep curls!
I GOT RESULTS from doing bicep curls. It gave my biceps more shape as a kid. But it is not that it got “big”. To be able to see results in you bicep area, remember these 5 solid tips:
1) Curl Correctly: You curl huge weights but you are just swaying your arms. The elbows must be very stable all throughout any type of curling movement (except DRAG CURLS).
If you are having difficulty – try to stand against a wall then put your elbows against the wall. Your elbows must be touching the wall the entire move. Do it slowly and reduce the weight if need be. Do your moves slowly to maintain time under tension – 4 seconds up (4 seconds hold at top if you’re using a machine) then 4 seconds down.
You should also expect the same results if you are just using momentum and jerking the weight all the time. You can expect NO GROWTH whatsoever. I know that cheating has a place in barbell curls but that is just for intensity purposes and there is a way to do that properly which I elaborated in this post.
2) Don’t do the same thing over and over again – (This is why you shouldn’t do just Bicep curls till death)You must know that according to the basic principles of conditioning: when you do the same thing over and over again your body will not see any more reason to adapt or get bigger. So you really must not be doing the same thing you did last week this week for any body part. Try changing the workouts, the techniques, the intensity, the rep ranges, or even the tempo or the seconds you get the weight up and down (for example you do it explosive at the positive portion of your reps this month and then next month you will do slow 4 second up 4 second down reps). Let’s say this week you will do 3 sets of standing barbell bicep curls for your main bicep move – next week you should do Spider curls instead.
3) Don’t over-work your arms – You are using too many sets and too many exercises for arms. Arms can take frequent workouts but they are not suited for LONG workouts so try to plan your workouts and only do one compound move (drag curls and close grip pull ups or close grip machine pull down’s), one concentration move (preacher curls and spider curls), then a machine move or a stretch move (incline bench curls: the lower the incline degrees; the more stretch you’d get).Follow @AboutLifting
4) Do a whole body program and train your LEGS – You’re chicken legs. This might surprise you as to what the hell does legs have anything to do with arms? I got to tell you again your body will only allow for a little amount of asymmetry. So it is impossible to have arms to big or else we would rather walk with our arms instead. Except if you use synthol injections in your arms and that’s just plain stupid.
Big Legs=Big Guns:
Think about this: Have you ever seen a tank with guns and canons as huge as the Tiger tank’s but only has the wheels for a car? NEVER! Because huge guns can only exist atop HUGE WHEELS! It’s that simple! If you don’t know that then Mother Nature surely does and she will never give you huge canon-sized guns if you have the wheels of a bicycle.
Truth is: you can gain inches into your arms even if you don’t train them directly. As a rule for every 10 to 15 pounds of body weight you will gain 1 inch around your arms.
Off course if you gain fat your inches will also be made of fat; same; same. So if your inches have stopped coming in then maybe it’s time you also train your legs – like what you’re supposed to do anyways. Remember it is called bodybuilding because you craft your “body” not just some parts of it.
5) Train your Triceps – this might be related to tip #4 but triceps will have the most impact on your arm size. I already discussed in a past post that most kids ignore triceps and that is the reason why their arms are not getting any bigger even if they do bicep curls ad nauseum.
Training biceps will only develop two “heads”, imagine fully developing three additional muscle heads? I am no math expert but I can say that you would be more than double the amount of gains that you would receive!
So to avoid misbalancing your bicep-tricep development I recommend training your biceps and triceps together once a week or once every training cycle. What I usually do is offer the last training day of the week solely for shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
I think triceps is one of my strong points so I always train it last. Since my biceps actually lags far behind my tris development I would make sure to hit that while I am fresh but if you have been neglecting your triceps for quite a while, you definitely should hit your triceps first!
Your Triceps regimen doesn’t need to be that long, remember that your arms contain more slow twitch and endurance type fibres so it actually responds well to being stimulated more often every week than other major bigger muscle groups like chest and back. But as a general guideline you should do fewer sets with your arms since they are a smaller muscle group and they have already been partially stimulated by your major body-group exercises like squats, bench presses, rows, etc.
My triceps regimen would look like this:
Skull crushers 3 sets of 10-15
One hand overhead triceps extension 3 sets per arm 12-15
Cable pushdowns with the cable machine for 3 sets 12-15 often times drop-setting the last set for 3-4 drops
Then I’m done!
Now there you go, incorporate those 5 tips religiously and I promise that your will see those “results” that were asking for much MUCH faster. Usually it will take me 3-4 whole body cycles until I see some commendable arm size improvements from training like this but OFF COURSE it is impossible to say the actual number of weeks or days where you will get your results for the same reason NO ONE can tell you how many pounds of muscle you are gonna gain. Till next time, eat your eggs, A-Lifters!