The 9 Best Bicep Workouts For Mass!


The biceps are easily one of the most prioritized muscle groups in the entire world. After all, who doesn’t want a bigger pair of arms!? If you are running out of ideas on how to structure your bicep routines then this article is for you! 

Introduction

  • Workout #1: Target The Short Head With Uni-Angular Tri-sets
  • Workout #2: Target The Long Head With Uni-Angular Tri-sets
  • Workout #3: A Brutal Origin-Insertion Superset
  • Workout #4: Get Eccentric With The 12+3 Method
  • Workout #5: Dorian’s Insane Forced Reps Routine
  • Workout #6: Tri-sets For The Ultimate “Biceps Peak”
  • Workout #7: Advanced Rest-Pause Training
  • Workout #8: Fast-Twitch Drop Sets
  • Workout #9: Escalating Density Training

In this comprehensive guide I am going to teach you 9 of the most effective bicep training routines ever written!

Some of the best bicep training methods include fast-twitch drop sets, uni-angular tri-sets and something called the “12+3 method.” All of these training methods are far superior to your traditional “straight sets” routine for biceps growth because they prolong the time under tension of your sets and make your muscles work harder AND longer.

You can think of this guide as an “all-you-can-eat buffet” for biceps hypertrophy training. You can pick and choose which routines you like best and then hammer them home until you get the results that you want.

It’s impossible to write a biceps training routine that will work for everyone. After all, we are all different. We have different training experiences, different muscle fiber types, different strength levels and different neurotransmitter profiles.

However, I can say that many or even most of these routines will work AWESOME for you!

Note: if you have any trouble reading the routines presented here then check out this article on how to read a training program. Now let’s get down to business…

Workout #1: Target The Short Head With Uni-Angular Tri-sets

In my experience tri-sets are one of the most effective training methods for rapidly boosting muscular hypertrophy. They are just one of those training methods that almost everyone seems to respond well to!

A tri-set features three exercises performed back-to-back for a particular body part with 10 seconds rest between exercises.

For example:

  • Perform exercise “A,” rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise “B,” rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise “C,” rest 2-3 minutes, repeat!

The reason tri-sets work so well is two-fold. First of all they dramatically prolong the time under tension of the set. Just think about it and they exhaust as many motor units as possible.

Let’s say that a normal set of curls takes about 20 seconds to complete. With tri-sets that same set would take about 60 seconds to complete. This means your biceps are working 3 times longer than normal – talk about a powerful hypertrophy training stimulus!

The other reason tri-sets work so well is they allow you to overload the muscle with 3 completely different exercises. This means you can thrash nearly all of the available motor units in a given muscle in a very short period of time.

Uni-angular tri-sets are a special type of tri-set. Rather than performing 3 completely different exercises you are going to perform 3 exercises that overload the muscle in the same muscular plane.

For example you could design a uni-angular tri-set workout for the biceps by using three different types of preacher curls. This is a great way to overload the short head of the biceps.

Many of the best bodybuilders in the world during the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s used uni-angular tri-sets religiously to build up their arms. The first-ever Mr. Olympia winner Larry Scott was a huge fan of them as well.

Here is the exact bicep workout that Larry Scott used to build his infamous 20-inch arms. Check it out:

Larry Scott Bicep Workout

  • A1: Ez-bar preacher curl (wide / supinated grip), 3-5 x 8-10***, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Ez-bar preacher curl (close / supinated grip), 3-5 x 8-10***, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Bilateral preacher DB curl, 3-5 x 8-10, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

***Perform 3-6 additional partial reps in the stretched position after completing your 8-10 full range of motion reps. Larry Scott called these “burns.”

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3.

This is easily one of the best routines for targeting the short head of the biceps. The short head of the biceps is located on the inside of the arm. It is strongly activated any time you perform preacher curls or any curling exercise where your elbow is out in front of your body.

Essentially you are performing three different exercise variations where all of them are designed to overload the short head of the biceps. Talk about a potent training stimulus!

You may have noticed that you are to perform between three and five total tri-sets. The exact number depends on your performance for that particular day.

If you are feeling like superman and are losing very little strength from your first tri-set to your last then go ahead and do the full five sets. However, if you are having a lousy day and feel your strength is dropping rapidly then you are probably better off calling it quits after only 3 total tri-sets.

Larry Scott himself often stopped after just 3 rounds of this tri-set. You can still build plenty of muscle training this way so don’t feel like you have to perform all 5 sets if you are not feeling up for it.

I want to mention one last thing before moving on: it is absolutely critical that you fully extend the elbows on all of your reps on preacher curls. I almost always see trainees stop well before their arms are fully locked out in the bottom position. This is a big mistake!

Remember, when it comes to building muscle one of the most important things is to recruit and fatigue as many motor units as possible. Fully stretching your biceps in the bottom position of preacher curls will actually recruit and damage more muscle fibers than using a partial range of motion.

Even if you have to use less weight you are better of fully stretching your biceps in the bottom position.

One simple trick is to contract your triceps in the bottom position of preacher curls. This literally forces you to fully stretch your biceps on every rep.

Workout #2: Target The Long Head With Uni-Angular Tri-sets

If the previous workout was designed to overload the short head of the biceps then this workout is designed to overload the long head!

The long head of the biceps is located on the outside of the upper arm. Bodybuilders and physique athletes care about the long head because it contributes the most to the biceps peak.

If you want to increase the size of your biceps peak then you need to understand which exercises work the long head the hardest.

As a general rule of thumb any exercise where you curl with your arms *behind* your body will work the long head very hard. All types of incline dumbbell curls work awesome for training the long head but incline cable curls and even drag curls are also quite effective.

In my experience one of the fastest ways to bring up the long head of your biceps is to perform a uni-angular tri-set focusing on three different types of incline dumbbell curls. Here is a sample routine you may want to try. Check it out:

Uni-Angular Tri-Set Biceps Routine

  • A1: 45 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x 5-7, 3/0/2/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 45 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3-5 x 5-7, 4/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Incline cable curl, 3-5 x 7-9, 3/0/1/1, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3.

Exercises like incline dumbbell curls and incline cable curls are simply fantastic for overloading the long head of the biceps. However, you still have to perform these exercises with perfect form to get the results that you want.

Most trainees make at least one of the following mistakes when they perform incline curls:

  • They lift their head up off the bench
  • They use momentum to lift the weight
  • They move their elbows during the set

You will never maximally develop the long head of your biceps if you make any one of these mistakes! The first mistake most trainees make is they lift their head up off the bench. In other words they start to push their head and their shoulders forward off the bench while performing the movement. This is a HUGE mistake!

The entire purpose of incline curls is to place your elbows *behind* your body while you curl. This increases the recruitment of the long head and places a tremendous stretch on your biceps. As you may already know loaded stretches are an extremely powerful tool for building muscular size.

If you lean forward and pull your head and shoulders off the bench then you completely change the mechanics of the movement. It becomes more like a regular seated curl than an incline curl when you do this.

One of the reasons most people lift their head off the bench on incline curls is that they are not flexible enough to perform the exercise correctly. Their biceps, shoulders and chest are all too tight. If this describes you then I recommend you start with a 60 or 75 degree incline bench and slowly progress to a lower incline bench over time as your flexibility improves.

The second mistake most trainees make on incline curls is they use momentum to lift the weight rather than their biceps. This is actually very easy to do on incline curls if you are not careful. You just rock your torso forward and your arms back to “wind up,” and then sling your torso back and your arms forward as you start the movement.

You can lift heavier dumbbells when you cheat like this but you will actually stimulate less growth in the biceps. It is absolutely critical that the rest of your body stays completely still before you initiate the curl out of the bottom position.

As IFBB professional bodybuilder Ben Pakulski correctly points out, the muscle group that you initiate the movement with is the one that is worked the hardest. You want your biceps to be the very first muscle that fires during all types of incline curls. This will maximize your gains from this exercise.

The last mistake that most trainees make on incline curls is they let their elbows drift forward way too much as they curl the weight up. This is a big problem because the front delts start to take over the movement rather than the biceps.

It is critical that you keep your elbows completely still throughout the movement! It is OK if your elbows drift forward just a little bit at the very top of the movement but try to keep this to a minimum.

IFBB professional bodybuilder Dusty Hanshaw has said over and over that he had a hard time growing his biceps because his front delts would take over the movement. It was only when he took his shoulders out of his curls by keeping his elbows still that his biceps really started to grow.

Take a page out of Dusty’s playbook and keep your elbows as still as possible on incline curls. You will get much better results this way!

The bottom line is this uni-angular tri-set routine is easily one of the best hypertrophy routines you can perform for the long head of your biceps. If you want to learn more about incline curls or targeting the long head of the biceps then these 2 articles are for you:

Workout #3: A Brutal Origin-Insertion Superset

Origin-insertion supersets are one of the most effective training methods that you have never heard of. Seriously, they are UNBELIEVABLE for building muscular hypertrophy. The legendary strength coach Josh Bryant has called this training method supersetting on steroids!

Supersets are a lot like tri-sets as discussed in part 1 and 2 of this article. The main difference is that you will perform 2 exercises back-to-back for the same body part rather than 3. The thing that makes origin-insertion supersets is you are going to use two exercises that overload opposite ends of your biceps. Let me explain.

Every muscle group including your biceps has an origin and an insertion. The origin of your biceps is located near your shoulder joint while the insertion of your biceps is located near your elbow joint. Compound exercises such as chin ups tend to overload the origin of the biceps while isolation exercises such as curls tend to overload the insertion of the biceps.

When you superset these two types of exercises you cause a tremendous amount of micro-tears in the biceps. This is good news because these micro-tears are the signal that tells your body to start building new muscle tissue! Check it out:

Biceps Origin-Insertion Superset Workout

  • A1: Supinated close grip chin ups, 5 x 6-8, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 30 degree incline curls (supinated grip), 5 x 10-12, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2.

Many of you reading this article will have a hard time understanding the thought process behind this workout. After all, what are chin ups doing in this routine? I thought this was a biceps training article!

First of all chin ups are a reasonably good biceps exercise in their own right. This is especially true if you use a narrow and supinated grip. No, you won’t build 20-inch arms performing nothing but chin ups but they do a reasonably good job of stimulating the biceps brachii. Of course this is no ordinary biceps routine.

When you perform chin ups as part of a post-exhaustion superset they become a biceps-training superstar! The chin ups allow you to overload your biceps with a reasonably heavy load and knock off a large number of motor units.

Then you move to the incline dumbbell curls which further prolong the total time under tension and absolutely thrash all the remaining motor units left in the biceps. This is a one-two knockout punch that will wreck your biceps even if you are an extremely advanced bodybuilder.

Just make sure you complete all 5 supersets in this workout. This is not a “one set to failure” type of training program. It is the cumulative effect of all 5 supersets that really stimulates growth rather than just the 1st one.

If you want to learn more about post-exhaustion supersets then check out the following article:

Post-Exhaustion Supersets: The Ultimate Guide!

I go into way more depth about this superior training method in the above article. You won’t be disappointed!

Workout #4: Get Eccentric With The 12+3 Method

I have a confession to make: I absolutely love eccentric training protocols!

Eccentric training is the single best training tool that an intermediate or advanced athlete can use to break through strength and hypertrophy plateaus.

Eccentric training simply means that you are going to use training techniques that allow you to overload the lowering phase of an exercise. There are tons of ways to perform eccentric training including weight releasers, forced reps and even just slowing down the lowering phase of your reps.

Many people believe that eccentric training is only good for increasing your 1-rep max and that it is useless for a serious bodybuilder. Yes, eccentric training is one of the best methods for getting stronger. But it also works incredibly well for boosting muscle mass! You just have to be a little more creative when your goal is building slabs of muscle tissue.

If you are new to eccentric training then one of the best routines for you to try is the “12+3 method.” I first learned about this method through the writings of Dan Duchaine in his body transformation book “Underground Bodyopus.”

I like the 12+3 method for three reasons:

  • It’s safe
  • It’s easy to perform
  • It produces results!

Here is the protocol for the 12+3 method: First you perform 12 reps on an exercise. After completing your 12th rep you put the weight down and ADD 5-10% in weight to the exercise. You then perform 3 additional eccentric-only reps with the heavier weight.

The 12+3 method works very well when it comes to arm training because it is very easy to perform the eccentric-only reps without a spotter.

For example it is very easy to perform the 12+3 method with preacher curls. You perform your first 12 reps like normal. Then you swap out your dumbbell for a slightly heavier one and perform 3 additional eccentric only reps. You simply use your non-working hand to help you lift the weight up and then slowly lower it down over 8-10 seconds.

Here is a sample routine you may want to try. Check it out:

12+3 Arm Workout

  • A1: Unilateral preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3 x 12**, 4/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest
  • A2: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinating grip), 3 x 12, 4/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

***After completing 12 total reps grab a dumbbell that is 5-10% heavier and perform 3 eccentric-only reps on an 8/0/1/0/ tempo. You want as little rest as possible between the first 12 reps and the 3 eccentric reps. No rest is ideal!

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2.

These eccentric-only reps are absolutely BRUTAL. It is very important that you use the correct exercise tempo for these. I really want you to use an 8-second lowering phase for the 3 additional eccentric-only reps.

If you lower the weight faster than 8 seconds it is not the end of the world. However, your results will not be as good and you may increase your risk of injury if you are not careful. I find it’s helpful to think of your muscles as giant breaking mechanisms whose sole purpose is to slow down the weight. 

The 12+3 method will hurt but not in the way that you are used to. You won’t have a huge pump and your muscles won’t be engorged with lactic acid. Instead you will feel a very deep kind of fatigue. It will feel like your muscles are literally being ripped apart! Don’t worry, this is perfectly safe if you do it correctly.

In fact eccentric training has been shown to reduce the odds of future injury by increasing the strength of your tendons and connective tissue.

If you want to learn more about eccentric training workouts then you may want to check out the following two articles:

The first article takes a deep dive into the science of why eccentric training works so well, while the second article examines the very best ways to incorporate eccentric training into your workouts.

Workout #5: Dorian’s Insane Forced Reps Routine

If you were to ask 100 gym bros their thoughts on the best training style for hypertrophy you will probably get 100 variations of the same answer: “high-volume training.” It is true that higher-volume workouts are typically associated with more muscle growth. However, this is definitely not the case for everyone.

Some people fail to make any progress on higher-volume training protocols but grow like friggin’ WEEDS if the training volume is kept relatively low.

Of course the most famous example of this phenomenon is Dorian Yates. He became a 6x Mr. Olympia winner by exclusively using his own version of low-volume, high-intensity training.

In fact, he only ever performed one working set per body part! As you may have guessed Dorian treated these working sets as life-or-death scenarios and put everything he had into them.

Dorian performed nearly every working set to failure and often performed additional forced repetitions to further exhaust the working muscle. Check it out:

The Dorian Yates Forced Reps Bicep Routine

  • A1: 60 degree incline curl (supinating grip), 1 x 6-8**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 1 x 6-8**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Unilateral machine preacher curl (supinated grip), 1 x 6-8**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

**Perform 2 additional forced reps with the help of a spotter after reaching technical failure. Your partner will assist you through the concentric phase of the forced reps but you have to lower the weight under control on your own.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1.

Just look at the amount of effort Dorian puts into each and every set. This man is a freaking machine! It’s like he’s auditioning for a leading role in the next Terminator movie!

This is the exact biceps routine that Dorian used during his prime. OK, I made some minor changes to the reps and tempos to make it work better for the average trainee. Sue me!

One of the things that I like about Dorian’s routine is that he chooses three very different exercises to overload both the short and long head of the biceps.

  • The incline curl overloads the long head of the biceps and the shortened position of the strength curve.
  • The preacher curl overloads the short head of the biceps and the stretched position of the strength curve.
  • Finally the ez-bar curl overloads both heads of the biceps relatively equally and hits the mid-range position of the strength curve the hardest.

There is a reason Dorian was called “the genius scientist of bodybuilding.” Not only does he train insanely hard but he puts a tremendous amount of thought into his workouts and his overall program design.

If you are thinking about using Dorian Yates’ training routine then you need to study these videos very carefully.

On this biceps routine it is critical that you treat every single set like it is the last one you will ever do. You have to put your heart and soul into those last few reps! If you cannot do this then you will not be able to achieve a growth response from this type of workout. After all, there are only 3 working sets in this entire routine.

If your nickname in the gym is “Buttercup” then this routine is definitely not for you. While you’re at it make sure you don’t read the following articles:

After all, if you don’t have the balls to train to failure and beyond then Dorian’s training methods will do nothing for you. Instead I recommend you find a training routine from an author that speaks to you and your goals.

The magazines “Good Housekeeping” and “Cosmopolitan” are sure to have what you are looking for!

Workout #6: Tri-sets For The Ultimate “Biceps Peak”

In my experience most individuals spend far too much time training the short head of their biceps at the expense of the long head. This is a serious mistake with many negative consequences.

Many bodybuilders who train this way are unknowingly leaving a ton of biceps growth on the table. After all, the long head of the biceps is primarily responsible for forming the coveted biceps peak.

A weak long head also creates for an unstable and unhealthy shoulder joint.

In recent times two high-profile fitness personalities (Eddie Hall and Larry Wheels) have torn the long head of their biceps in freak gym accidents.

Perhaps they could have avoided this fate if they knew how to train for balanced biceps muscles!

If you have been neglecting your long head then this routine will let you correct this imbalance in record time. It features a tri-set where all three exercises were hand-picked to overload the long head from different angles.

Check it out:

Biceps Peak Tri-Set Routine

  • A1: 30 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Standing ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 3-5 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3.

Let’s talk a little more about the exercise selection for this routine. You should know that there are two main ways you can target the long head of the biceps with a curling exercise.

The first way is to make sure the elbows are held behind the body throughout the entire movement. All forms of incline curls accomplish this perfectly which explains the first two exercises in this routine.

The second method is to use a very narrow grip while holding a barbell or ez-bar (as in the third exercise of this routine).

As you can see all three exercises were chosen to overload the long head in slightly different ways.  This results in an extremely powerful hypertrophy stimulus for the long head.

I can’t guaruntee this routine will give you a pair of shirt-busting biceps that rival the man in the last video.

However, I can guaruntee you that this routine will give you some of the best bicep gains of your life if you give it your all and treat every set like your last!

Workout #7: Advanced Rest-Pause Training

I am constantly amazed by how effective rest-pause sets are for building muscle mass and strength. This is true regardless of which body part you are training.

Rest-pause sets were introduced into the bodybuilding world in the early 2000s by Dante Trudel. He designed an entire training program called “DC Training” which was built on a foundation of rest-pause training.

In my opinion rest-pause sets are right up there with forced reps as one of the best high-intensity training methods ever invented.

The procedure for performing a rest-pause set is simple:

  • Perform a set to failure in the 7-10 rep range, then rest 20-30 seconds
  • Train to failure a second time with the same weight, then rest 20-30 seconds
  • Train to failure a third time with the same weight, done!

There is no target rep goal for the second and third attempts in the rest-pause set – you simply perform as many reps as you can before failing.

Of course you don’t have to perform Dante Trudel’s exact DC Training program to reap the benefits of rest-pause style sets. You can easily incorporate them into more traditional bodybuilding style workouts and get awesome results. Here is an advanced rest-pause biceps workout that you may want to try. Check it out:

Advanced Rest-Pause Biceps Workout

  • A1: Ez-bar supported spider curls (wide / supinated grip), 1 x 9-12***, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Incline cable curl, 1 x 9-12***, 2/0/X/1, rest as needed
  • C1: Ez-bar preacher curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 20-30, 2/0/1/0, rest as needed

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1.

The key to getting the most out of this rest-pause workout is to put absolutely everything you have into your one working set per exercise. No, you do not need to go totally berserk and start using sloppy form. You will actually get better results if you stay ultra-strict on each of these exercises.

However, you do need to really give everything you have on these sets. If you do not train all the way to failure on each of these exercises then you will not create a stimulus for growth.

If that sounds too had then perhaps you should try one of the other routines in this article. Dante believed that you had to be “2 loose screws short of a train wreck” to train with rest-pause sets. It’s just the nature of the beast. Trust me, this might be one of the most demanding low-volume bicep workouts you will ever perform!

If you want to learn more about rest-pause training styles then I highly recommend the following resource:

Rest-pause Training: The Ultimate Guide!

Everything you could ever want to know about rest-pause training is in that article.

Workout #8: Fast-Twitch Drop Sets

Many bodybuilders get stuck in the habit of exclusively training in higher rep ranges, say around 8-20 reps. This is especially true when talking about biceps training.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with training in the 8-20 rep ranges. In fact, for most individuals these rep ranges are going to be best for hypertrophy.

However, even for an advanced bodybuilder there is a time and place for periodically training in relatively lower rep ranges. After all, lower rep sets are fantastic for stimulating the higher-threshold motor units. You know, the the muscle fibers with the greatest potential for growth.

One of my favourite ways to train the higher-threshold motor units for hypertrophy is through fast-twitch drop sets. These drop sets typically involve performing sets in the 1-5 rep range.

Don’t let the low reps fool you. These drop sets prolong the time under tension just long enough that you can create an AWESOME hypertrophy stimulus! In other words, we are not only recruiting the higher-threshold motor units, but fatiguing them as well.

One of my favourite fast twitch drop set protocols for functional hypertrophy is the 4/2/2 drop set. You perform a set of 4 reps, drop the weight by 5-10% and perform 2 more reps, then drop the weight by 5-10% again and perform 2 more reps.

This method works extremely well for bodybuilders who want to use lower-rep sets to increase the size of their fast-twitch muscle fibers. Here is a sample arm training routine using the 4/2/2 scheme that you may want to try. Check it out:

4/2/2 Drop Set Bicep Workout

  • A1: Standing ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 4 x 4/2/2**, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • A2: Concentration curl, 3 x 6-8, 2/0/1/1, 60 seconds rest

**Performed as a 4/2/2 drop set. Perform 4 reps, drop the weight 5-10%, perform 2 reps, drop the weight 5-10%, perform 2 reps, DONE!

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2.

Don’t let the limited number of exercises fool you. You are performing 15 total sets of work (counting each drop set as the equivalent of 3 sets) which is a ton of volume for such a small muscle group!

If you perform the 4/2/2 drop set correctly then it will feel like you are stimulating some very deep, dormant muscle fibers after just the first set. By the fourth set your biceps will be completely shot!

It is of the utmost importance to stay as strict as possible during the standing ez-bar curls. This means that your lower back and shoulders must stay completely motionless throughout the exercise.

Remember, the quality of the training stimulus is directly correlated to the quality of your form.

Of course this is one of the reasons that I tend to prioritize exercises such as preacher curls and incline curls in my client’s bicep training routines.

It is very difficult to cheat with these movements and this results in significantly greater motor unit activation in the biceps relative to most other bicep exercises.

If you want to learn more about fast-twitch drop sets then I recommend you check out the following articles:

I cover four of the greatest fast-twitch drop set training protocols ever invented. If you have a weakness for heavy slag iron then this article is calling your name!

Workout #9: Escalating Density Training

Escalating density training might be one of the greatest training methods you’ve never heard of. I first learned about this superior training method through the writings of Charles Stacey many years ago.

The premise is simple: you can create a potent hypertrophy stimulus by focusing on increasing the total volume of work that you perform within a 60-minute workout. In order to do this you have to perform lots and lots of sub-maximal sets with minimal rest periods in between sets.

Fortunately for us Charles Poliquin took this idea and optimized it for the goal of muscular hypertrophy.

On all of the other routines in this article I have only provided bicep exercises for you to perform. Of course I think it would be a good idea to pair these workouts with another body part such as triceps or chest etc. but it is not absolutely required.

For this escalating density routine I have to make an exception.

This type of routine is FAR more effective if you are alternating back and forth between exercises targeting antagonistic body parts (such as biceps and triceps).

There are many reasons for this, such as a better pump, a dramatically increased training density, and a reduced rate of fatigue. Check it out:

Escalating Density Training Arm Routine

  • A1: Decline close grip bench press, sets of 2, 4/0/X/0, no rest
  • A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (close supinated grip), sets of 2, 4/0/X/0, no rest
  • B1: Standing overhead rope extension, sets of 8, 3/0/X/0, no rest
  • B2: Seated zottman curl, sets of 8, 3/0/X/0, no rest
  • C1: Cable pushdown (cambered bar, close grip), sets of 20, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • C2: 45 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), sets of 20, 1/0/X/0, no rest

This is a reasonably complicated training program. Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything in more depth below. First let’s check out the sample training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1, exercise C2.

There are plenty of details that you MUST know about this routine.

You are going to perform the “A” exercises for the first 30 minutes of the workout, followed by the “B” exercises for the next 15 minutes, followed by the “C” exercises for the final 15 minutes. All together this adds up to a 60 minute workout.

You may have noticed that there is no rest between the A, the B, and the C exercises. This is not a typo – you are taking no rest between exercises!

For example, you would perform the “A1” exercise for 2 reps, then immediately walk to the “A2” exercise station and perform it for 2 reps, then immediately walk back to the “A1” exercise station and perform it for 2 reps etc.

This continues for the first 30 minutes of the workout, at which point you would move on to the “B” exercisers and so on.

It is very important that you select the correct weights. Remember, you are using sub-maximal weights on each exercise.

As a general rule of thumb I recommend you start out with your 10-rep max for the “A” exercises, your 20-rep max for the “B” exercises, and your 40-rep max for the “C” exercises.

Each time you repeat this workout your goal is to increase the number of sets that you can perform for each exercise within the allotted time period.

If you can perform more than 20 sets for each of the “A” exercises and more than 8 sets for each of the “B” and “C” exercises then you may want to go up in weight the next workout. However, the main emphasis is on increasing the number of sets you perform and thus the overall training density of the workout.

I guaruntee that the pump you get form this workout is unlike anything you have ever experienced. It starts out slow – after all, we are using sub-maximal weights here.

However, after the first 10 minutes or so the pump starts to build, and build, and build… Before you know it you will be 20-30 minutes into the workout with a pair of arms that feel like they are about to explode!

If you are going to use this type of routine then I think your best bet is to use one of the Poliquin training splits.

For example:

  • Day 1: Arms
  • Day 2: Legs
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Chest and Back
  • Day 5: Off
  • Day 6: Repeat

With this split you will be training 4 days per week and hitting every body part once every five days.

If you want to learn more about escalating density training then I highly recommend the following article:

Escalating Density Training: The Ultimate Guide!

It should give you all the information you need on how to make this unbelievable training method work for every bodypart.

Conclusion

You are now equipped with 9 of the most effective bicep workouts for mass that have ever been written! I am extremely confident that most of these routines will work AWESOME for you.

In fact, I am so confident that these routines will give you some of the fastest gains of your life that I am going to make you an offer:

If you try any one of the above routines for 3-6 workouts and find that it not deliver the kinds of results that you were expecting then shoot me an e-mail.

I will personally troubleshoot why you did not get the kinds of results you wanted and help you find a routine that is better suited for you.

Of course if you are tired of wasting your time in the gym and want to go from point “A” (you right now) to point “B” (you reaching your fitness goals) as quickly as possible then you can always check out my online coaching program.

I am absolutely confident that I can help you achieve results that dwarf whatever you are achieving on your own.

“The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT. I'm the creator / owner of Revolutionary Program Design. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere on planet Earth. If you're from another galaxy then all bets are off! So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to pump iron or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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