Hardgainer’s Guide to Biceps Training

When it comes to Biceps training, you must first analyze the biceps muscle itself. The biceps muscle consists of 3 parts that work together to form the muscle. The short head which is closest to the chest forms the main portion of the biceps. The long head, which runs from elbow to shoulder determines the thickness and peak of the biceps muscle. The brachialis, which is the small knotted looking muscle that rests on the outer arm between the biceps and triceps.

Building all 3 of these components evenly leads to world class guns!

When working a smaller muscle group such as biceps, Hardgainers should aim for 3-4 exercises, and roughly 9-12 working sets.

Hardgainer Biceps Workout:

Exercise Rep Range # of Sets
Standing Barbell Curl 12-6 4
Alternate Dumbell Curl 12-6 3
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 12-6 3
Alternate Hammer Curl 12-6 3

I like to start of my biceps workout with standing barbell curls. This allows me to warm up my joints as well as my entire biceps effectively. Throughout this exercise, ensure your elbows are pinned close to your body, and your back remains straight.

Moving on, I like to hit each arm individually with standing alternate dumbell curls. Make sure to keep your torso straight, and don’t lean into each arm to cheat.

So far we have mainly hit the short head of the biceps, now its time to hit the long head and get those biceps peaks poppin’! Seated preacher curls with the EZ bar is the most effective exercise for this. The EZ bar puts your hands pronated in the proper position to strictly activate the biceps peaks. Make sure to keep your chest and elbows pinned down, and really make the biceps peaks work.

Finally, I like to finish of my biceps workout with standing alternate hammer curls. This really hits the brachialis, pumping up that knotted muscle, and making your arm looking wide when viewed from the side. Once again, make sure to keep your elbows pinned to your body, and your back straight.

To really build those sleeve-busting arms, you need to remember that 2/3 of your upper arm consists the triceps muscle. Make sure you check out the Hardgainer’s Guide to Triceps Training!

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13 Responses to Hardgainer’s Guide to Biceps Training

  1. Hardgainer Online August 30, 2008 at 10:37 pm #

    Great bicep workout routine. I love the images on your site. They load quite quickly.

  2. Allan April 13, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    I noticed you only come up to a 90dergree bend when doing curls. I have always come up higher, close to my shoulder. is there any benefit to doing a full range of motion in curls? I use this technique in nearly all of my sets, side and front lateral raises, seated calf raises, curls….. Also for shoulder presses should I drop my arms below Parrallel to the floor? I usually lower to a right angle then press back up almost to lockout. Any Ideas?

  3. Michael June 8, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    This is good stuff. Although, too much for a hardgainer… i believe it would take somewhere about 4-5 workouts a week to complete the routine. The biceps routine that works for me is – EZ bar (long biceps) supersetting with the Incline dumblell curl (short + partly brachialis). Intensive and quite effective.

  4. Fat Burning Exercises May 20, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Great workout for the arms.

    They are by far my favorite thing to work out and specifically the hammer curls.

  5. Anon June 19, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    13 sets of curls… really?

    Do some heavy rows, or chin-ups. The biceps will grow as your whole body grows from bif, compound exercises that utilize bicep among other muscle groups. Adding a few sets of curls as accessory work won’t harm you ( though it won’t help much either), but going to the gym to do 13 sets of hardly different curl variations is just a waste of time and energy.

  6. John Volz October 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I have found, never doing the same rotine twice in the same week, and between the 6 to 9 set range works well for me. And also super setting with tricept extentions and cable pull downs, and sometimes close grip bench press to finish off make for a great pump.

  7. big belly billy February 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    why only 90 degree? are you showing steps? if you are it looks like a, b, but no step c, which would be completion……hmmm

  8. pato March 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    this is not good for a hardgainer

    I don’t like that workout for hardgainers
    I would recommend:

    (biceps)
    2x barbel curl x 5-7
    1x preacher curl x5-7
    1x wrist curl x 10-12

    (triceps)
    2x triceps ext x5-7
    2x french press x5-7
    1x kickbakcs x10-12

    all to failure

  9. mustafa April 21, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    I just wanted to know that some websites say that a hardgainer should only compound excercises not the isolation ones and the above ones r isolation

  10. Jim August 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I have been working out regularly for 15 plus years (mostly aerobic) and just recently got hooked on weight training. I think what I read from someone else’s comment says it best, HardGainer’s seem to hit the practical points straight on and concisely and does not waste the serious readers time.

    Thanks for all your info as I am a newby at this and you enable me with diet, routines and a great resource to learn from to help me.

  11. dinofog71 January 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Sounds like a wonderful plan … for OVERTRAINING!
    I can’t believe you guys are seriously labeling this as a “hardgainer” biceps routine. A bunch of different curling moves with high rep ranges? How is that any different from what the hordes of volume freaks – the ones with very good genetics and/or good supplies of juice – are doing? RIDICULOUS! Take the suggestion of the poster up above who said to stick with bent over rows and supinated pull-ups. Let me tell you, they work! It goes hand in hand with the advice of true hardgainer experts like Stuart McRobert (Brawn, Beyond Brawn, etc), i.e., get bigger overall and your arms will follow suit. I haven’t done curls in over a year and my biceps have never been fuller or more detailed.

  12. Nik January 30, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    yeah i agree with dino, as a trainer we reccomend utilising a back workout where your biceps will naturally play synergists, you will only need to do 2-4 sets isolated biceps, anything extra will hinder your progress, if i was to design a site for giving advice id make sure the advice i was giving was decent certified advice, otherwise id get people disagreeing with me all the time! :)

  13. Ellena May 9, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Loving this biceps training folks.

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