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Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

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Old 12-05-2004, 05:30 AM   #1
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Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

Hi all.......

I have always found it very difficult to know if I am over or under training my biceps, but the fact they have not grown in size for 3 months I figure i'm doing something wrong!

I know that the bicpes are a small muscle compared to legs and chest so it is easy to over-train them, but on the same note I guesse its easy to under-train them in an effort to not over-train! If that makes sense!

Training details:
- 22 yrs old, 6ft1, 12st 2pds.
- 3-day a week routine
- Try to get 6 meals a day with plenty of carbs and protein.
- Biceps, Lats, calves trained on same day
- 2-3 bicep exercies & 3 lat exercies in one sessions

I mix the exercies up between the following: Dumbell Curls, Barbell Curls, Hammer Curls, preacher curls, Lat pull downs, Wide grip pull ups, latteral raises, Seated row.

1) My biceps seem to fatigue very quickly so I find it very difficult to do more than 2-3 bicep exercises effectively. I usually use the heaviest weight I can get between 6-10 rep range. If I use a heavier weight I just cannot lift with good form or at all.

2) During the workout my biceps seem to get bigger as you would except as the blood is rushing tot hem. However as I continue to train they seem to get smaller (maybe this is jsut my imagineation)

3) My Lat exercises on the same workout seem to all involve my biceps so maybe this is over-trining them?

4) they never burn the next day like other muscles - Is thie because they are that much smaller than other muscles?

5) Hopefully my form is good - back straight, full Range Of Motion

So in all my biceps are trained once a week (2-3 bicep exercises, 3 lat exercises that hit bi's aswell) But no gains.....

I would welcome any advice or tips.


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Old 12-05-2004, 08:50 AM   #2
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Re: Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

Try a new approach. Go for a heavier weight and go for the 3-5 rep range. Or try pyramyding. Or slow reps - 3 full seconds up, 3 full seconds down. Or a new split. I don't think you're overtraining them, but it sounds like a plateau. You just need to switch up the routine to cause a stress response.
And don't forget the importance of trining triceps for arm thickness.
Keep your body lean, your blood clean and your mind sharp. -Rollins

Old 12-05-2004, 10:02 AM   #3
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Re: Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

Naxis, thanks for the reply & suggestions.

My bicecps seems to be a constant plateau that I just cannot get over. Really frustrating.

I never thought that 3-5 reps would really work my biceps enough as I found that the oly time I really feel a burn in my bicep is when I do a lighter weight with more reps, or really concentrate the range of motion to like a 90degree movement.

Think you are definitley right with the 'Stress response' idea, but I'm just not sure that I can lift a heavier weight effectively. I will give it a try.

Do you think I should stop working my Lats on the same day so that I can concentrate on my biceps? Seeing as my biceps fatigue so quickly I think I may not be leaving enough power to work my lats, whats your opinion?

If you could post a few suggestion routines (maybe one with pyramids too) etc aimed at building mass I would be very greatful, and what other body parts I should work on the same day?

Once again many thanks for taking the time to reply.


Old 12-05-2004, 11:07 AM   #4
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Re: Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

This is my personal experience, but you might consider training your chest and biceps on the same day with triceps and back on a different day. Most back exercises, such as lat training, work the biceps whereas most chest exercises do not. You were correct in your assumption that your biceps are getting fatigued early. When I switched to chest/biceps on the same day, I was really able to murder them. I was pretty much ruthless with my biceps because it's an easy group to take past failure. A typical bicep workout for me went something like this: Zottmanss, lying/incline hammer curls, barbell curls, then finish off with concentration curls. Once a month I'd throw in 21s in place of the standard barbell curls because they are absolutely brutal! It's a real test mentally and physically. Makes me cringe just thinking about them...

I would suggest finishing your normal bicep routine with concentration curls using the heaviest weight that will allow you to fire out 3-5 good clean reps. Once you get there, possibly to failure, use your free hand to do a few more.

Finally...Make sure you're eating and drinking enough!

Old 12-06-2004, 05:57 AM   #5
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Re: Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

Here is my 2 cents- Really pay attention to form. This is a body part that many people do poorly. One of my favorite exercises is dumbell curls with full supination at the top of the movement. As you bring the weight up, focus on getting the pinky as high as possible (suppination) this is the natural movement that you use to put the bicep in flexion. This will recruit maximal muscle fibers. Naxis is correct Biceps have many fast twitch fibers and respond to heavy weights well.

Second exercise, Straight bar curl - puts you hand in a natural suppinated position. Keep the movement linear, elbows back, shoulder pinned, bar moves straight up and down. Strive to never lose stress on the bicep.

Old 12-06-2004, 06:47 AM   #6
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Re: Biceps: Over or Under training. Opinions Please?

Personally, I'm curious to the order you do your exercises too. To me, I would normally think you'd do it in a logical order, however I've been known to be wrong. I don't know how you do your calf exercises. But I know it's better to do your bicep exercises after most other ones during the day. After a long day of carrying around dumbbells, I know that there are sometimes where I almost don't even need to do bicep exercises. I always say, do your arm exercises like triceps and biceps last. But again, that's my way of training.

Chappy is right too, I've seen enough people with bad form to make me cry. Usually its the arm swing. Just be careful of your arm movements. Often when using free weights, I use an incline bench to brace my arm against (since its adjustable in height). That way all the concentration is on the bicep and you cannot swing. Also be careful in hand rotation at the top, a good side effect is big forearms but you are working biceps. As Chappy said, try to keep constant strain during the exercise. If there's a point of rest at the top or bottom of your routine, don't extend quite that far.

Hope that helps -T

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