The PERFECT Biceps Workout (Sets and Reps Included)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I’m going to put together what I would
call the perfect bicep workout. Continuing the series. We’re going to put heavy science into what
we do, as we always do. As a matter of fact, we’re going to break
out, as always, the muscle markers to show you why this becomes a perfect bicep workout. In order to be called that, I feel there are
six requirements that we have to make sure we nail to be sure we’re covering all aspects
of bicep training. So, let’s get through those one by one. We’re going to use these muscle markers
to help us do that. Right off the bat, we understand that the
bicep is a two-headed muscle. That means we a shorter head here and a longhead,
which is the inner bicep and the outer bicep. There’s more to it than that. First of all, the muscle marker helps us determine
where that is. You can see on bicep here, right about here,
how the bicep turns a corner and comes up here. If you follow that line you can see a little
bit of that split. So, if I were to draw it out I would follow
this line here. So, what we have to do is understand that
there are ways to hit the shorthead of the bicep a bit more preferentially. That is because the attachment is different
than the longhead. The longhead has an attachment in the shoulder
which enables us to do some different things to influence it over the shorthead. Not isolate, but influence. Again, I would trace that out by going down,
right along here, and around, and up right here. Again, this has its attachment up in the shoulder. In general, we’ve said if we want to train
the longhead of the bicep we could do two things. Number one: we could take it into more of
a stretch by bringing our arm back behind our body in exercises like a drag curl, like
you see here. Or we could use rotation, a different function
of the shoulder, to allow us to work either the short or longhead more. That is because when we have the outer portion
of our bicep more visible to you in the mirror, you’ll be working more of the longhead of
the bicep. Whereas if we were doing exercises here, the
no money curl, where you can see more of the inside of my biceps, we would be favoring
the shorthead. We’re going to do that, but we also have
to talk about the functions of the bicep because in order to have a complete, perfect bicep
workout we have to acknowledge the different functions of the bicep. So, we know it’s an elbow flexor, right? That’s obvious. But we should also know that it’s a supinator. The reason why it supinates the forearm is
because of its connection. All you have to do is take your finger and
run it right off the bottom of your bicep. You should feel a big, thick tendon right
in here. If you follow that tendon – you can grab
it – follow it all the way around, it inserts all the way down here into the radius. So, if I were to put a mark right there, we’ll
call that ‘number one’. The first thing is to supinate that forearm. The second thing, as we talked about, was
to bend the elbow, or flex the elbow. So, we could put a number two right here. Then number three, we know is to get a full
contraction of the bicep, we know that because it crosses the shoulder, it can flex the shoulder. So, we would put a three up here. But we know if we want to get the most out
of the biceps, we’re going to want to have certain exercises that are going to do all
this. They’re going to have supination, elbow
flexion, and shoulder flexion. Not just that, potentially put all these in
proper alignment with each other so the line of pull is optimal. If I take a forearm that’s pronated, we
should see that the one and two aren’t lined up. Whereas if I supinate it here, you can now
see that the one, the two, and three can potentially work together. We’re going to do that with certain exercises
as well. The next thing we’re going to do is realize
that different exercises influence and have an effect on the strength curve of the biceps. Meaning, certain exercises can influence a
stronger contraction. Either in the beginning, middle, or end of
the biceps’ range of motion. I’m going to use my forearm here as a whiteboard
– first time ever – with the muscle markers. We know if we do a regular barbell curl, as
you see me doing here, that the strength curve is pretty easy in the beginning, it gets most
difficult in the middle, and it gets easiest at the end. Just like if I were to get into this position
in a curl, that’s the most difficult part. But this is pretty simple. Well, we also know that we can take a band
– a resistance band – and do curls. It wouldn’t be that difficult in the beginning,
but it would start to get hard, and be most difficult at the end because we know when
the bands are maximally stretched that will cause peak tension. But we also know that certain exercises – like
you see me doing here, the incline curl – would make the exercise most difficult in the early
portion of the range of motion. So, it peaks high, and then it drops off. You can see what I’ve accomplished here
with the right selection of exercises that we’re going to put into the perfect workout. We’re going to have the representation of
the most tension being directed to the biceps in the beginning, middle, and the end, across
the entire workout. Which is something we want to strive for. What else do we have? Guys, we know that there’s another muscle
here that’s not the bicep, but it’s called the brachialis. You can see I’ve already outlined the bicep
muscle here. That leaves me with this area here. That’s not the bicep, guys. That’s actually the brachialis. I’ve talked about this in another video. The brachialis is very influential in terms
of the width of your overall bicep when viewed from the front because it has a critical role
it plays along with your biceps. We want to make sure we’re choosing exercises
that influence that while we can. We’re going to do that, too. Then we have to acknowledge two other things,
guys. We’re going to incorporate these into the
workouts, too. We know that there is some limitation on which
exercises we can do with the biceps because we’re talking about a hinge joint. While it does cross the shoulder and the longhead,
the hinge joint is going to ultimately make everything we do look like some variation
of a curl. No matter what we do. So, you really have to rely on intensity techniques
more than any other muscle group to heighten the overall intensity and effect of the workout. We’re going to do that, and I’ll show
you many of them that you can incorporate right away into those. Finally, you never forget the big exercises. Just like we did when we did the chest workout. We still did the bench-press, we still did
the dips, but we have to accept that they have limitations. If you can take those limitations and plug
them in with other exercises within the workout, now you have the perfect workout. With that said, guys, it’s time we actually
put this all together and look at what the perfect bicep looks like rep by rep, exercise
by exercise. You ready? So, we start the perfect bicep workout off
with the big exercise, like I said. This is a different variation though. It’s a cheat curl, and it’s not just a
cheat curl. It goes into a drop set for a barbell drag
curl. Let me explain. When we start with a cheat curl we’re giving
ourselves an opportunity to create great overload. That’s why these big exercises work so well. Not just overload, but a great eccentric overload
because we’re cheating a bit through the concentric. When we do that, we’ve also setup a bit
of a mechanical drop set. So, it’s not just a regular drop set, but
we know that we can take the same weight we’ve just used, and by shortening that moment arm
by taking our elbows from this position out in front of our body, back here into a drag
curl we’re still able to keep the reps coming. By doing that, remember, the position of the
elbow is back behind the body and we’re achieving another one of our goals. That is to now hit the longhead a bit more
preferentially. So, in that first combo we take the first
exercise to failure, immediately go into the second portion of it – the drag curl – and
take that to failure as well. Rest and then come back and try to do three
total sets. We move onto the next combo here and it’s
another one of those heavy exercises that gives us the option to overload the biceps. Probably my favorite of all time. I’ve talked about it before. It’s the weighted chin-up. Again, it’s not just doing that. It’s doing something else that’s very
important. We’ve already talked about how it’s hitting
all three functions of the bicep. We know that in order to grab the bar and
pull we’re going to be flexing the elbow. We also know that in order to get into this
chin-up position we have to have a supinated forearm. So, we’re getting there and having that
action of the bicep as well. We also get the action at the shoulder. The one that helps us get the peak contraction
of the biceps because we have our arm out in front of our body to grab the bar. So, we’re hitting all three functions. That’s good. What we can do is load it up here – I’ve
got 90lbs, I’m doing heavy, maybe four, or five, or six reps. I take it to failure and I immediately strip
the weight off and go into a drop set. Now we jump back up. We talked about intensity techniques. We could do that here as well. This is the peak contraction chin-up. What we’re doing here is using this as a
burnout to the previous set, where we’re only going to focus on repping out in that
final, contracted state of the biceps. We know that we already have all three components
in place. So, let’s linger there and do as many as
we can to failure. Again, an intensity technique that takes the
normal training to another level because we realize that we’re limited by options for
the bicep training. While we’re talking about limitations, remember
when I told you that the benefits of those big exercises like the barbell curl, and the
weighted chin-up can’t be ignored, and we have to include them? Well, we also have to be willing to accept
that there are some limitations. To me, that’s the fact that in both exercises
there’s no active supination being resisted. Meaning, in both exercises I’m isometrically
grabbing in a supinated position, but I’m not going through the act of supination against
resistance. Which means, we have to address that. We can do that with the exercise I’m going
to show you here, called the banded dumbbell curl. What’s even better is, I don’t have to
stop there. We can take advantage of this right here. Those strength curves. Remember when I drew on my forearm like a
whiteboard? We can do that again. We can take the dumbbell curl that peaks and
then dives off, and we can add a band to it that picks up right where it dies off and
it continues. We can have the benefit of having an exercise
that’s more difficult, place some more tension on the biceps throughout the range of motion. So, here’s what we do: we grab a band, we
grab the dumbbells, and we curl them together. I’ve demonstrated this for you here before. It’s an amazing exercise. If you haven’t tried it, you’re going
to want to do it. If you do this perfect workout you’re going
to be doing it. You’re going to be doing it three sets to
failure. Again, I don’t know how much that is, but
you’re not going to want to go and grab lightweights here. You’re going to want to grab something that
will make you fail in the 10 to 12 rep range, and back off a little bit from there, realizing
that now adding the band to this will make this exercise more difficult. Of course, we’re wouldn’t want to leave
one-third of that range of motion unaddressed. We can choose an exercise that is going to
impact and overload that front side. That beginning portion of the range of motion,
to compliment this entire sequence. We can do that with the incline dumbbell curl. One thing I want you to notice here is it’s
not just serving one purpose. Now, because of the position of the arm back
behind the body, we’ve just placed a little more stress on the longhead of the bicep because
it’s on more stretch. Now, we can take that even further with another
intensity technique, like I’ve mentioned all along here. That is actively contracting the triceps because
we know when we do that we can antagonistically shut off, or at least allow for a greater
stretch of the biceps. Therefore, a stronger contraction coming out
of the bottom of the dumbbell curl. So, you do three more sets of this until failure
and move onto the last combo, so we can round out this entire workout. So, we wrap it all up here with our dumbbell
bicep curl combo. It’s a trifecta. It’s three exercises and it’s going to
do three different things for us. Number one: we keep the set going. So, we’re definitely going to have intensification
of what we normally do with a straight 12 reps and be done. Number two: we’re going to work the rotation
of the shoulder to take advantage of what we talked about in the very beginning, whether
we’re going to more heavily influence the longhead or shorthead of the biceps by what
we’re looking at. Finally, we’re going to hit that all-important
brachialis that we haven’t addressed yet. The first thing we do is the supinated cross-body
curl. You can see as I supinate and come across
the body, what are we looking square at right here? The longhead, the outer head of the bicep. You can feel that contraction as you squeeze
and supinate, right here, how it’s more heavily influencing that outer portion of
the bicep. What we do now is, we don’t stop there. Instead we go for our second rep and now we
pronate and lift up this way. When we pronate we’ve taken away the one
action of the bicep. Which now shifts the load to the elbow flexor,
which is the brachialis. Of course, we can feel that right here more
than ever. Now, we do that, and we don’t stop there. Why? We want to intensify this and make it more
difficult. We now want to take the opposite rotation
of the shoulder. Instead of coming and rotating in, now we
rotate out. External rotation of the shoulder, but it
does something else. What is it doing? It’s squarely revealing the inner head of
the bicep, which is the shorthead. You can feel that contraction more on the
inside here. Again, not isolating, but influencing. You can feel that here. So now, you take it up and alternate these
positions from one to the other, and to the other. So, 24 total reps. You do this two times, guys. I promise it’s the perfect way to finish
out the workout. more importantly, we’ve addresses every
one of the concerns that we had in the beginning to make sure we can call this the perfect
bicep workout. So, there you have it, guys. There’s a workout that I want you to try. You should feel your biceps like never before
because we’ve addressed every, single component of bicep training, all in one selection of
exercises. That’s the thing. You don’t have to sit here and bang out
your workouts for hours and hours at a time. If you choose the right exercises and apply
the right techniques you can get a hell of a lot from your workouts in a much shorter
period of time. That’s what we always stress here at ATHLEANX. And of course, we always put the science back
in strength to do so. If you’re looking for a complete program,
head to and get one of our ATHLEANX training programs. In the meantime, if you like the muscle marker
videos, as always, make sure you let me know. Leave your comments and thumbs up below. If you haven’t already, subscribe and turn
on your notifications so you never miss one of our videos here. Especially as we cover more of these perfect
workouts in these series. All right, guys. I’ll talk to you again soon. See you.


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