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Build Bulging Biceps

Written by Ryan Murdock

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘biceps’?

I think of Arnold in Commando, hefting that great big M202A1 FLASH rocket launcher onto his shoulder to let loose on the bad guys who kidnapped his daughter.

What can I say? I grew up in the 80’s. And back then I thought Alyssa Milano was kinda hot. [Adam – I still think she’s kinda hot…] When the evil Bennett kidnapped her to gain some leverage, I knew it was only a matter of time before Arnold’s camo-ed biceps would come bulging in to save the day. And I couldn’t wait to see that rotten bastard get his comeuppance — even if I didn’t know what the word meant.

That action hero stuff is fine for the Governator. He’s a one-man wrecking crew! But what about us mere mortals who want to increase the size and manly shape of our arms?

Jeez, we’re glad you asked that question…

Adam’s awfully pleased with his pipes — you should see the loving glances he casts at them whenever he lifts something heavy. I’d almost call it “preening” if that wasn’t such an effeminate term… [Adam – Jealous anyone…?]

So yeah, Adam really likes to work his arms <ahem> and he’s filmed a cool bicep routine that’ll stretch your shirtsleeves to the max. Check it out:

The resistance bands he’s using are from

These are the performance cues to keep in mind:

  • Anchor your resistance bands behind and below you
  • Grab the handle in a hammer grip
  • Palm up as soon as you start to feel tension
  • Keep your palm rotated at the top of the movement

This variation works two of the functions of your biceps: elbow flexion and supination (turning the palm up towards the ceiling). It’s a double dose of goodness that’ll put the “shape” in shape-ly and some meat on your chicken wings.

Have fun! And let us know how you did in the comments.

About the author

Ryan Murdock


  • Nice one Adam (as always :-) )…I used to do something similar ..but with a single ended dumbbell…but I think the resistance band would add that extra bit of stretch to make the exercise a little more effective.

  • I prefer the chinup personally, as well as other whole-body pulling motions like rows on the gymnastic rings, etc. The rings also allow for supination but with the added bonus of working biceps in conjunction with the back in a more functional way.

  • Pull ups, Push ups, Pistol Squats=Beast Exercises that all have some great toturals but where is the one for the other Beast exercise: The Bodyweight Dip??? Please give us one! Thanks! :)

  • Is there any way to build the strength without the size?
    I already have relatively large arms (for a girl), yet don’t have the strength for more than about 15 press-ups, before I have to drop to my knees, and can’t do a chin-up without a counter balance. I would consider myself relatively fit and at 17percent fat, Im surprised my arms don’t provide more useful power.

    • Hi Laura,

      The best way to build strength without size is to overcome fairly heavy loads for low reps. Make sure every rep is done explosively (the rep might not “look” fast, but your intention should be for speed). So stay in the 3-5 rep range and move as explosively as possible. Let me give a caveat though, it is difficult to add much mass, especially for females. So I wouldn’t worry much about that unless you have a real genetic disposition towards it.


  • To really go “grip-free” and increase the isolation onto the bicep, you can always try to put you hand through the cuff and hold cuff at the wrist and perform the same movement or even higher up into the forearm closer to the elbow. Might feel awkward at first if you are not used to these exercises, but once you get it, it’s actually very effective in isolation the bicep getting so much more out of the workout.

    Thanks for this great video Adam.

  • My right elbow on the inside of the arm is always sore from doing arm x’s. Mostly from working (farming/ranching) & pitching baseball when I was younger. Do you have any x’s that can add strength to the elbow to possibly eliminate the pain. Thanks & I enjoy getting your x’size tips.

  • Bands are second best. You can travel with them and take them anywhere. I would definitely use them over weights or machines. However, for bigger biceps, close grip pull ups are the ultimate body weight routine. If you weigh 175 pounds, you are lifting 175 pounds. You can’t get a band that will do the same weight.

  • So if I get this correctly, when at the gym (without resistance bands) one should opt for the rope attachment to the cable machine cause a handle would not offer the torque in the hand because you are gripping it in the middle of it’s rotation point?

    • You can also use a dumbbell. Just hold it with an offset hammer grip to start (hand near the top end of the DB). This is just another way of doing a curl though. It is not the ONLY way — just a variation… :)


  • Adam
    The resistance band looks like a great idea..but where do you attach them on your travels (or just stand on them) ..used to do a similar routine that was outlined in “Weight Training for Sports” by Ron Laura & Ken Dutton where they began with dumbells in closed grip position at the thigh..supinate on the way up to a full curl x 5: then supinate to half curl x 5: then just supinate x : Go to top position and reverse the programme..certainly blew my biceps up..

  • I was in Sacramento a few years ago visiting my brother and we went to visit the Capitol and there was Arnold walking out of his office. He looked good and my French husband was VERY impressed.

    Since I have no hope at all of looking like Arnold, my goal is have an upper body like Sarah Connors in Terminator II. To that end I will add the bands to my workout and see how it goes.

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