The 11 Greatest Bicep Workouts For Strength!


bicep workouts for strength

It seems like everyone wants a pair of stronger biceps! After all, there is nothing more embarrassing than struggling to curl the 20 pound dumbbells. If you are stuck at an arm strength plateau then I have just the solution for you: the 11 greatest bicep workouts for strength!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Supra-Maximal Eccentric Training
  • Part 2: 5 To 8 Method
  • Part 3: Maximal Effort Drop Sets
  • Part 4: Isometronics
  • Part 5: 4+2 Method
  • Part 6: Patient Lifter’s Method
  • Part 7: Modified Hepburn Method
  • Part 8: Cluster Sets
  • Part 9: Rest-Pause Sets
  • Part 10: Forced Reps
  • Part 11: Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets

In this comprehensive guide I am going to teach you 11 of the greatest workouts of all time for building stronger arms.

One of the keys to building stronger biceps is to use a wide variety of loading parameters. After all, you will never build stronger biceps if your body is “bored” with your training!

These 11 bicep workouts feature some incredibly effective strength training methods such as cluster sets, isometronics, and forced reps. Most of these routines feature as little as 1-5 reps per set on the main exercise of the day and are best reserved for “intensification” phases.

If you want to build strength as quickly as possible then you MUST train in these lower rep ranges. This is true regardless of whether you are training larger exercises such as the squat or bench press or smaller muscle groups such as the biceps!

Don’t worry, I have also included several routines where you are performing 6+ reps on every set. After all, not everyone has the psychological profile necessary to perform low-rep sets on a consistent basis.

I have done my best to include a wide variety of exercises in these 11 bicep workouts. However, both the scientific literature and real-world experience has shown that incline curls and preacher curls are the 2 most bang-for-your-buck biceps exercises that you can perform.

Most of the routines in this article feature at least one of these 2 exercises.

Here is an example of an incline curl:

And here is an example of a preacher curl:

I recommend you study this article very carefully. You can easily expect some of the best gains of your entire life on any one of these routines!

Please note that all 11 of these workouts are written with all of the loading parameters clearly defined. If you have any trouble reading these workouts then please consult this article.

Now let’s get down to business…

Part 1: Supra-Maximal Eccentric Training

Eccentric training is easily one of the most effective training methods in the world for rapidly boosting strength gains.

In fact, many of the world’s best strength coaches such as Charles Poliquin and Christian Thibadeau have called accentuated eccentrics the single best training method for helping intermediate and advanced trainees blast through training plateaus.

Eccentric training is that powerful! Perhaps this is why I have written some of the world’s best guides on eccentric training:

The phrase “eccentric training” simply refers to any training method that emphasizes the lowering (eccentric) phase of an exercise rather than the lifting (concentric) phase.

There are many different ways to perform eccentric training. However, if you want to boost your strength as quickly as possible then the training method known as “supra-maximal eccentric training” is your best bet.

Supra-maximal eccentric training is exactly how it sounds: you are going to slowly lower a weight that is greater than your 1-rep max!

Most trainees will be able to lower anywhere from 5-20% more weight on the eccentric phase than they can lift. Some gifted athletes may be able to lower as much as 40% more. This means that with supra-maximal eccentric training you can actually lower a weight that is 5-40% heavier than your 1-rep max!

The scientific literature has shown repeatedly over many decades that these supra-maximal eccentric reps create an unbelievably powerful stimulus for strength gains.

One of my favourite ways to use supra-maximal eccentric training to build stronger biceps is with the “3 then 1” method. The basic idea is to alternate between regular sets of 3 reps and eccentric-only singles. Of course you would rest 2-3 minutes between each set. 

For example:

  • Set #1: Perform 3 regular reps, rest 2-3 minutes
  • Set #2: Perform 1 eccentric-only rep, rest 2-3 minutes
  • Set #3: Perform 3 regular reps, rest 2-3 minutes
  • Set #4: Perform 1 eccentric-only rep, rest 2-3 minutes
  • Set #5: Perform 3 regular reps, rest 2-3 minutes
  • Set #6: Perform 1 eccentric-only rep, done!

The supra-maximal singles potentiate your central nervous system so that you can lift much more weight than normal when you return to your regular sets of 3.

Here is a great video of Charles Poliquin talking about his “3 then 1” training method with Marc Bell:

Make no mistake: the 3 then 1 method is one of the most powerful training methods you can use to blast through a strength plateau in the biceps.

Here is how you might organize a bicep routine using the 3 then 1 method. Check it out:

Eccentric Training Bicep Workout

  • A1: One-arm barbell preacher curl, 3 x 3, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • A2: Eccentric one-arm barbell preacher curl, 3 x 1, 10/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Incline cable curl, 4 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are some sample exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1.

For this particular routine I have chosen one of the most effective bicep exercises of all time: the one-arm barbell preacher curl!

This exercise is particularly effective for targeting the short head of the biceps because the barbell forces your short head to contract isometrically to prevent the barbell from tipping over.

The major drawback of this exercise is that you need to be able to one-arm curl at least an empty 45 pound barbell for 3 reps. If you are not strong enough to do this then you may want to perform a one-arm supinated grip preacher dumbbell curl instead.

For more information about this superior biceps exercise I highly recommend you check out the following article:

The 3 Greatest Bicep Training Tips Of All Time!

Part 2: 5 To 8 Method

The 5 to 8 method is another incredibly effective training method for boosting maximal strength. It is also an extremely powerful method for boosting functional hypertrophy. You know, hypertrophy specific to the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Charles Poliquin has gone so far as to call the 5 to 8 method his second-favourite functional hypertrophy method of all time!

The 5 to 8 method is a modified version of a DC-style rest-pause set. You are going to perform 5 reps with your 5 rep max. Then you will rest for 15 seconds before performing another single repetition with the same weight. You repeat this process until you have completed 8 total repetitions with your 5-rep max. 

For example, here is the exact procedure for a set with the 5 to 8 method:

  • Perform 5 reps, rest 15 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep with the same weight, rest 15 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep with the same weight, rest 15 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep with the same weight, done!

This constitutes 1 set. A typical workout for strength gains would feature 3-5 of these “5 to 8” sets! These modified rest-pause sets are extremely taxing on the central nervous system. They are almost like a modified version of cluster sets.

Whatever you want to call them they work unbelievably well for rapidly boosting strength levels in the biceps.

One key difference with the 5 to 8 method vs Dante Trudel’s DC-style rest-pause sets is that you are NOT training to failure! The 5th rep should be very hard to complete but you will make it without getting sloppy with your exercise form.

Here is an awesome 5 to 8 bicep workout that you may want to try. Check it out:

5 To 8 Method Bicep Workout

  • A1: 30 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x 5/1/1/1**, 4/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Seated zottman curl, 3 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as a “5 to 8” rest-pause set as described above.

Here are the sample exercise videos: A1: 30 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), B1: Seated zottman curl.

I mentioned before that the 5 to 8 method is extremely demanding on the central nervous system. You should be very careful about not performing too many sets with this method.

As a general rule of thumb I recommend you use a 10% fatigue drop off curve for your first exercise. This simply means that if your strength drops by more than 10% on the first exercise then you should stop and move onto your next exercise.

For example, if you start by curling the 50 pound dumbbells for 5 reps but by your 3rd set you are struggling to curl the 45 pound dumbbells for 5 clean reps then you should NOT perform a 4th set.

Greg Doucette is one bodybuilding coach who has gotten great results for his clients using a 10% fatigue drop off scale on many exercises. Remember, success leaves clues!

Part 3: Maximal Effort Drop Sets

A maximal effort drop set is a drop set where you perform nothing but singles! For example, you might perform 1 rep, rest 10 seconds, perform 1 more rep with a reduced weight, rest 10 seconds, and so on.

Very few people know this but maximal effort drop sets were Mike Mentzer’s favourite training method for quickly packing on muscle mass.

Mike used maximal effort drop sets extensively on many different exercises to build his best-ever physique for the 1980 Mr. Olympia contest. Through trial and error Mike Mentzer found that performing 4 singles per drop tended to produce the best results.

Doing more than 4 singles was just too much to recover from and offered diminishing returns.

For example, here is how Mike Mentzer performed his drop sets:

  • Perform 1 rep, drop the weight by 2-4%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, drop the weight by 2-4%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, drop the weight by 2-4%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, drop the weight by 2-4%, done!

I recommend you perform anywhere from 2-4 of these drop sets per workout. If you overdosed on caffeine before your workout then you may want to try 4 drop sets.

On the other hand if you downed a bottle of NyQuil before hitting the gym then 2 of these drop sets is probably plenty.

Here is a sample drop set routine. Check it out:

Maximal Effort Drop Set Bicep Workout

  • A1: Standing ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 4 x 1/1/1/1**, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Unilateral preacher DB curl (supinating grip), 4 x 5-7, 3/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as a maximal effort drop set as described above.

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

Maximal effort drop sets work so well for rapidly boosting strength levels in the biceps because they both recruit AND fatigue the fast-twitch muscle fibers!

Many strength training methods do a great job of recruiting the fast-twitch muscle fibers but fail to thoroughly fatigue them.

Trust me, you won’t have this issue with this routine. You can expect some very deep muscle soreness the morning after performing this routine!

Part 4: Isometronics

Isometronics are perhaps the single most underrated strength training method in the world. No, I am not joking: they are that effective.

Isometronics are essentially a hybrid of partial range of motion repetitions and full-bore overcoming isometric contractions. This is actually where the name “isometronics” comes from: it is a combination of “isometric” reps and “isotonic” reps.

The main benefit of this method is that they allow you to recruit an unbelievably amount of motor units. In fact overcoming isometric reps have been shown to recruit as much as 15% more motor units than traditional concentric or eccentric reps! Talk about impressive!

Here is what an isometronics set might look like for the bench press:

Don’t worry, I will teach you how to use this method for the barbell curl below! To perform an isometronics workout you are going to divide any barbell exercise (barbell curl, barbell bench press etc) into three separate ranges of motion: 

  • The bottom position
  • The middle position
  • The top position

The safety pins should be separated from each other by about 4-6 inches. You are going to first perform 4-6 partial range of motion repetitions in between the pins.

On your last rep you press up into the top in as hard as you can for 6-8 seconds. It should feel like you are trying to break the pins in half! After the 6-8 second isometric contraction you lower the bar down to the bottom pin and then perform 1 final partial range of motion rep.

If you are able to complete this final rep then add a little weight for your next set. In total you will perform 3 sets of isometronics in the bottom position, the middle position, and the top position for 9 sets total.

After your 9 sets of isometronics you will perform 1 full range of motion set for the same exercise. This full range of motion set is critical for teaching your body how to use these newly activated motor units in the regular movement.

Here is a great biceps isometronics workout you may want to try. Check it out:

Isometronics Biceps Workout

  • A1: Standing barbell curl bottom-position isometronics, 3 x 5**, 1/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Standing barbell curl mid-position isometrics, 3 x 5**, 1/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Standing barbell curl top-position isometronics, 3 x 5**, 1/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • D1: Standing barbell curl, 1 x 6, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: 45 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x 6-8, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as an isometronics set as described above. Perform 5 partial range of motion reps between the safety pins. On your fifth rep curl the barbell into the top pins as hard as you can for 8 seconds. After the 8 seconds go ahead and lower the barbell back down to the bottom pins and attempt 1 more final repetition.

Here is a great video of bicep isometronics as demonstrated by Olympic gold medalist Adam Nelson:

Yes, you are going to have to do curls in the squat rack to complete this routine. I do NOT recommend you do this routine in a hardcore powerlifting gym!

It does not matter if you explain that you are doing this workout to strengthen your arms, they will kick you out faster than you can say “Thanksgiving bloat!”

Part 5: 4+2 Method

The 4+2 method is another training method invented by the ever creative Charles Poliquin. It is another extremely effective accentuated eccentric training protocol that works great for both boosting strength gains and functional hypertrophy levels.

The procedure for the 4+2 method is pretty simple:

  • First you perform 4 reps with your 4-rep max.
  • Next you increase the weight by 5-20% and perform 2 eccentric only reps with a 10-second lowering phase.

That’s it! Of course this counts as only 1 set. Charles recommends that you do 3-5 of these 4+2 sets in a single workout! 

You can click right here to listen to Charles Poliquin talk about his 4+2 method.

The 4+2 method works particularly well when you are training the biceps because you do not need any specialized equipment such as weight releasers to make it work.

For our routine all you need is a preacher bench and 2 dumbbells. Of course one of these dumbbells should be 5-20% heavier than the first! Here is the routine. 

Check it out:

  • A1: Unilateral preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x 4**, 4/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Seated DB hammer curl, 3 x 6-8, 4/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as a 4+2 set as described above.

Some of you are going to look at this routine and say that it is “not enough work.” If that is what you are thinking then you are DEAD WRONG! I dare you to perform 5 sets of this 4+2 method and then try and bend your elbows the next morning!

Seriously, you can expect some of the “deepest” muscle soreness of your entire life if you do this routine correctly. Don’t worry, the results are more than worth the effort.

You may find that your curling strength shoots through the friggin roof after 2-4 weeks on this deceptively simple routine.

Part 6: Patient Lifter’s Method

As you may have noticed I am a big proponent of using some rather unusual training methods to stimulate strength gains in the biceps. Most people do not utilize enough variety in their workouts to see optimal results.

However, sometimes all you need to kick start strength gains is a relatively simple or even “boring” routine. The patient lifter’s method is one such routine!

The idea behind the patient lifter’s method is simple: you are going to perform 6 sets of 2-4 reps on 1-2 major exercises. You are NOT allowed to increase the weight until you perform 4 reps on all 6 sets!

For example, let’s say your performance on the first workout looks like this:

  • Set #1: 3 reps
  • Set #2: 3 reps
  • Set #3: 2 reps
  • Set #4: 2 reps
  • Set #5: 2 reps
  • Set #6: 2 reps

This is perfectly fine the first time performing this workout. Of course you did not perform 4 reps on all 6 sets so you would use the same weight at your next workout. Ideally this workout would be 3-7 days later.

As soon as you get all 6 sets of 4 reps with the same weight you would make a small weight jump (perhaps 5% or so) and work towards doing 6 sets of 4 reps with the new heavier weight.

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

Patient Lifter’s Method Bicep Workout

  • A1: Narrow supinated grip chin ups, 6 x 2-4, 5/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: 60 degree incline zottman curl, 6 x 2-4, 5/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are the sample exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise B1.

Don’t let the simple design of this workout fool you. You are still going to perform 12 grueling sets just for the biceps. This is a lot of work for a relatively smaller muscle group!

I should point out that it is very important that you DO NOT go to failure on any of these sets! As a general rule of thumb going to failure is not a good idea when training for strength in the 1-5 rep range.

Yes, there are exceptions. However, going to failure in the 2-4 rep range brings very little benefit and may cause you to completely overtrain your central nervous system in a very short period of time. Leave the to-failure sets for your accumulation phases or for things like rest-pause sets performed for 6+ reps.

Part 7: Modified Hepburn Method

Doug Hepburn is widely regarded as one of the strongest human beings to ever live. He was the first man to officially bench press 500 pounds and has set numerous world records in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting.

He was in his prime in the 1950s which helps to explain why so many people have forgotten about him. How could someone in the 1950s become so unbelievably strong? The internet wasn’t exactly a thing back then!

Doug experimented in the gym until he found a training system that worked perfectly for him. Charles Poliquin later refined Doug’s training program and gave it the name “The Modified Hepburn Method.”

The idea behind the Modified Hepburn Method is simple: you are going to perform 8 singles on an exercise followed by 5 sets of 5 reps on a very similar but slightly changed exercise.

For example, here is how you might organize your exercises for a biceps workout:

  • Narrow grip ez-bar curls: 8 sets of 1 reps
  • Wide grip ez-bar curls: 5 sets of 5 reps

Essentially you are training for relative strength early in the workout followed by training for functional hypertrophy later in the workout when your nervous system is primed and firing on all cylinders.

It is very important that you slightly change the nature of the exercise before performing your 5 sets of 5 reps. A slight change such as a wider grip helps you to tap into a similar but slightly different motor unit pool within the biceps which is very helpful for stimulating strength gains.

Here is a Modified Hepburn Method workout that you may want to try for the biceps. Check it out:

Modified Hepburn Method Bicep Workout

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 8 x 1, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 5 x 5, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are the sample exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise B1

It is very important to be conservative with your weights the first time you perform this workout. I recommend you perform your first single with about 80% of your 1-rep max and slowly working up to around 95% by your eighth set.

If you have “micro plates” or some other means of making very small weight jumps then this becomes much easier to do. As for the 5 sets of 5 reps I recommend you use 80% of your top single for the day.

In other words if your best single for the day was 100 pounds for 1 rep then you would use 80% for your 5 sets of 5 reps.

If you do not complete 5 reps on all 5 of your sets that is perfectly OK. Just stick with that same weight until you can perform 5 reps on all 5 sets before increasing the load.

The Modified Hepburn Method is very taxing to your nervous system and should be respected as a very demanding program. That being said it is unbelievably effective for both building AND peaking your strength on a particular lift.

Part 8: Cluster Sets

A list of the greatest bicep training routines for strength would not be complete without including cluster sets.

Many of the world’s best strength coaches such as Christian Thibadeau, Josh Bryant, and Wolfgang Unsoeld consider cluster sets to be the #1 training method in the world for rapidly boosting strength gains.

The idea behind cluster sets is simple: you are going to perform 5 sets of 5 reps with your 3-rep max. No, that was not a typo! The key to making this work is you are going to rest for 10-20 seconds in between each of the 5 repetitions.

If you have a greater percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers in your biceps then 10 seconds rest may be plenty. On the other hand, if you are a fast-twitch machine then you may need as much as 20 seconds rest between each of the 5 reps to make cluster sets work.

For example here is what a cluster set for curls might look like:

  • Perform 1 rep, rest 10-20 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, rest 10-20 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, rest 10-20 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, rest 10-20 seconds
  • Perform 1 rep, done!

Cluster sets are so effective because they place a tremendous overload on your fast-twitch muscle fibers. The short intra-set rest intervals help to clear out waste products between repetitions and maximize your motor unit recruitment on every attempt with the weight.

As a general rule of thumb I recommend you perform 3-5 total sets of cluster sets per workout. If you are new to cluster sets then you may be better off sticking with 3 total sets.

Here is a sample cluster set routine you may want to try to strengthen your biceps in record time. Check it out:

Cluster Sets Bicep Workout

  • A1: 30 degree incline DB curl (offset grip), 5 x 5**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Unilateral cable reverse curl, 3 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as a Poliquin cluster set as described above.

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

In my experience coaching hundreds of clients most trainees need a “deload” phase or a few days completely off from the gym after completing 2-4 weeks of cluster training.

Clusters are simply THAT demanding on the central nervous system.

Don’t worry, after a few days of taking it easy you will feel good as new. If you are looking to build some stronger bicep muscles and love the feeling of low-rep sets then I highly recommend you give cluster sets a try!

Part 9: Rest-Pause Sets

Dante Trudel’s DC Training system is easily one of the most effective yet controversial bodybuilding training programs the world has ever seen. Of course DC Training is built on a foundation of rest-pause sets and progressive overload training.

In my experience you don’t have to perform the exact DC Training program in order to benefit from rest-pause sets. In fact, rest-pause sets are one of the best ways to train for stronger arms without having to perform lots of low-rep sets!

The procedure for performing a DC-style rest-pause set is as follows:

  • Train to technical failure in the 7-10 rep range, then rest while taking 10-15 deep breaths.
  • Train to technical failure again using the same weight, then rest while taking 10-15 deep breaths
  • Train to technical failure again, done!

Essentially you are performing three sets to failure on an exercise with about 20-30 seconds rest between each of the attempts. The average trainee may get 7-10 reps on the first attempt, 2-4 reps on the second attempt, and 1-3 reps on the third attempt.

Rest-pause sets are traditionally thought of as more of a hypertrophy training method but I can assure you that they work unbelievably well for strength gains! Here is a routine you may want to try. Check it out:

Rest-Pause Biceps Workout

  • A1: Bilateral machine preacher curl (supinated grip), 1 x 7-10**, 3/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 7-10**, 3/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Incline cable curl, 1 x 15-20***, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

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

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set as described above.

***Performed to technical failure. You must fail on the final rep!

I remember seeing a training video in the early 2010’s where David Henry (a long-time DC Trainee) was performing hammer curls with the 125 pound dumbbells! Dexter Jackson picked up the weight as if he was going to match David and immediately said “hell no!”

I can’t promise you that you will be able to hammer curl the 125 pound dumbbells after a few weeks of rest-pause training.

However, I CAN promise you some screaming-fast strength gains if you have the “guts” to train all the way to failure on all 3 parts of the rest-pause sets

Part 10: Forced Reps

Forced reps are another fantastic way to rapidly boost strength levels without necessary having to train in the 1-5 rep range.

Forced reps were the secret weapon that Dorian Yates used to build his 6 x Mr. Olympia physique and become one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world!

In reality forced reps are a form of eccentric training. A partner is going to help you through the concentric range of an additional 1-3 reps after you reach concentric muscular failure.

Of course you are responsible for controlling the negative phase of these post-failure repetitions.

Here is the exact biceps training routine that Dorian used during his 6-year reign as the Mr. Olympia champion. Check it out:

Dorian Yates’ Forced Reps Bicep Routine

  • A1: 45 degree incline DB 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 immediately after reaching technical muscular failure.

Here is Dorian’s training video for this workout:

If you are more of a bodybuilder at heart but still want to build a stronger pair of biceps then I highly recommend you give this forced reps routine a shot.

Just remember, you only have one shot with each of these excises to create a stimulus for strength gains. If you don’t have the balls to train all the way to failure and beyond then this routine is not for you! 

Part 11: Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets

Mechanical advantage drop sets are really more of a bodybuilding style training method. However, they are excellent for boosting functional hypertrophy levels and MANY trainees see some extremely good strength gains from a properly designed mechanical advantage drop set routine.

The basic idea is that you perform several different variations of the same exercise in a row with only 10 seconds rest between each exercise. You are going to start with the exercise that you are weakest on and progress to the one in which you are strongest on. 

In case you are more of a “visual” learner then click right here to listen to Christian Thibadeau talking about mechanical advantage drop sets:

By sequencing your exercises in this manner you can use the same total weight on each exercise but continue to pump out extra reps as you progress from one exercise to the next.

This is a FANTASTIC way to train the high-threshold motor units for rapid strength gains.

Here is a sample training routine you may want to use for the biceps. This routine is especially good for overloading the long head of the biceps. Check it out:

Biceps Mechanical Advantage Drop Set Workout

  • 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 AMRAP**, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Seated DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 x AMRAP**, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

**Perform as many reps as you can to technical failure with the same weight you used for the “A1” exercise.

One of the great things about mechanical advantage drop sets is that they can easily be performed in a busy commercial gym. You don’t need to worry about hogging several different pieces of equipment because you are only using one exercise station!

If you are looking for more of a higher-rep accumulation phase routine that is still excellent for inducing rapid strength gains then I highly recommend you give mechanical advantage drop sets a shot. You won’t be disappointed with the results!

Conclusion

bicep workouts for strength

The biceps are not just “ornaments on a Christmas tree” as Ed Coan has suggested. In reality the biceps play a crucial role in the overall health of your shoulder joint and your ability to progress on many other exercises such as the bench press.

According to Charles Poliquin’s upper body structural balance norms you should be able to preacher curl 46% of your 1-rep max close grip bench press. In other words if you can bench press 300 pounds with a shoulder-width grip then you should be able to preacher ez-bar curl 138 pounds for a single.

If you are nowhere near meeting this strength standard then perhaps it is time you start focusing on strengthening your biceps using one of these 11 routines!

“If I’m doing something I do like to take it to the limit. I’ve got a high ceiling. A wide threshold for seeing what those boundaries are for myself.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck with your strength training endeavors!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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