Archive for the tag - biceps

Exercises for Bigger Arms: Davey Wavey and Phil Fusco.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed male model Phil Fusco about his workout routine. Today, I’m excited to share a video that we made together while visiting New York City. In it, Phil and I share some of our favorite arm exercises.

And trust me, it was almost more hotness than I was able to handle. I think I’m still sweating. Take a look!

How to Get Bigger Arms.

Are bigger arms one of your fitness goals?

When most people aim to increase the size of their arms, they often focus on the bicep. And while the bicep muscle is important, it’s not the biggest muscle in the arm.

If you really want to develop bigger, fuller arms, then watch this video from the Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel.

Lat Pulldown Grip: Wide Vs. Close.

Dear Davey,

Does it matter how far apart or close my hands are when doing a lat pulldown? Is one more effective than the other?

Love,
Jacob

Dear Jacob,

The lat pulldown is a great exercise for your back. Primarily, it works the lat muscles (hence the name) – but you’ll also feel this exercise in your biceps and traps. There are four basic variables involved in a lat pulldown: The distance between your hands on the bar (wide or close grip) and the type of grip you employ (overhand or underhand).

When it comes to close vs. wide grips and underhand vs. overhand, researchers at Penn State put lat pulldowns to the test:

Twelve healthy men performed the 4 grip variations using an experimentally determined load of 70% of 1 repetition maximum. Two trials of 5 repetitions were analyzed for each grip type.

The researchers measured the effectiveness of each grip variation and found that a overhand

The lat pulldown machine.

(pronated) grip is the most effective:

We conclude that… a pronated grip is recommended for safely and optimally training the LD [latissimus dorsi muscle], irrespective of the grip width.

An pronated or overhand grip is when your palms face away and your fingers turn downward over the bar. Interestingly, as the research notes, there is no difference in effectiveness between a wide or close grip – so hold the bar at a width that feels comfortable.

Bottom line: Use an overhand grip at any width when performing a lat pulldown.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

How to Get Veins to Pop on Your Biceps…

Dear Davey,

Something tells me it’s genetic, but I want those bad ass bicep veins!

A friend of mine has them and he doesn’t do any of the lifting and cardio that I do. Am I not lifting enough? Am I not running enough? Please help, Davey Wavey, it’s almost beach season.

Yours truly,
Nardo90

Dear Nardo90,

Getting visible veins wasn’t something that the instructors taught us during my personal training courses, but I know where you’re coming from. It’s admittedly superficial, but still quite sexy. Beyond the biceps, I also enjoy veins in the area just below the lower abs, leading down to the crotch. Shallow? Yes. But also a bit delicious.

First things first, the amount to which your veins “pop” is determined by both your genetics and your body fat percentage. Since you can’t change your genes, it makes sense to focus on what you can control: Leaning yourself out. To make your veins highly visible, target a body fat percentage of 6% – 8% through a combination of strength training (increased muscle mass will incinerate calories), cardio (especially interval training) and proper diet. At 9% – 12% most major veins should be visible.

While veins in the forearms are easier to achieve, it’s much more difficult with the biceps, triceps and shoulders. It will take time and dedication, but if it’s very important to you – it’s possible to make it happen.

Also, keep in mind that veins are more visible after you exercise and when your body is dehydrated. While I don’t recommend dehydration as a tactic – as it’s actually very detrimental – it is how many body builders achieve the effects you see in pictures and in magazines. That, and sometimes a little help from Photoshop. 🙂

Love,
Davey

Crazy New Ab Exercise: Double Plate Press!

Truth be told, the double plate press isn’t just an ab workout. It works your chest, forearms, biceps and shoulders – but I feel most of the burn in my abs.

I freaking love it!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Locate two identical weight plates. Start small – with 5 lb weight plates. You really don’t need a lot of weight to feel this.
  2. Press the two weights together, holding them close to your chest. The smooth side should be facing outward. This is the starting position.
  3. Extend the plates straight out in front of you, so that your arms are parallel to the floor. You’ll really need to squeeze the plates together to prevent them from slipping! This is the most challenge piece of the exercise.
  4. Pause, and then return to the starting position.
  5. If you can do more than 8 or 10 repetitions, you’ll need heavier weights. Repeat for 1 – 4 sets, depending on your goals and available time.

It’s new, it’s different and it’s a lot of fun.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think. And, if you’re up for it – browse some of my additional ab tips and exercises.

Enjoy!

6 Exercises: Show Your Arms Some Love!

Arms. They are good for so many wonderful things. Like hugging your boyfriend – or even better, yourself. We use our arms when we reach for things – like the stars or our dreams. And we use them for practical purposes, like swinging them when we walk and carrying things around.

As it turns out, our arms are very important! And so, today, I invite you to strengthen your arms and express your appreciation for all that they do by trying some of these exercises.

They all involve free weights – barbells or dumbbells. So, unless you have weights at home, you’ll probably need to hit the gym to take ’em for a spin.

Bicep barbell curl

Barbell curls (My absolute favorite for biceps):

  1. Select a barbell and load it with the appropriate amount of weight.
  2. Stand tall and grasp the barbell with an underhand grip. The barbell should be resting at about hip-level.
  3. Slowly curl the barbell upward by contracting your biceps.
  4. Pause.
  5. Slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat.

Dumbell curls

Dumbbell curls (Another great bicep exercise):

  1. Stand in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip, palms facing up. Fully extend your arms, keeping them tight against your sides.
  3. Lift the weights slowly until your hands reach your shoulders. Your arms should be the only muscles working during the exercise. At the top of the motion, contract your bicep muscles.
  4. Lower the dumbbells back to your starting position, arms extended and elbows loose. Repeat the exercise

21s (These are great for definition):

  1. Stand in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip, palms facing up. Fully extend your arms, keeping them tight against your sides.
  3. Lift the weights slowly until your forearms are parallel to the floor—about half of dumbbell curl. Pause. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 7 times.
  5. Then, start with your forearms parallel to the floor. Curl all the way until your hands reach your shoulders. Pause. Lower the dumbbells until your forearms are parallel to the ground.
  6. Repeat 7 times.
  7. Then, perform 7 complete dumbbell curls—starting at your sides and curling all the way to your shoulders.
  8. Repeat 7 times.
  9. Once you have done 21 curls in total (7+7+7), you’ve completed a set of 21s.

Hammer curls (if you get bored with regular curls):

  1. Stand so that your feet are shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip. Let your arms hang down by your side with your elbows loose, not locked. For hammer curls, turn your palms inward so they face each other.
  3. Lift the dumbbells, slowing until the weights reach your shoulders and keeping your wrists locked in position. Your arms and elbows must stay tight against your sides throughout the exercise.
  4. Lower the dumbbells slowly and fully extend your arms back to the starting position. Maintain a straight back
  5. Repeat.

Barbell triceps extension

Barbell triceps extension (triceps exercise):

  1. Pick up the barbell and lay down comfortably on a bench. Keep your upper and lower legs at a 90-degree angle to each other. Alternatively, you can sit (as pictured).
  2. Point your elbows up, holding the barbell behind you. Your upper and lower arms should line up with one another for proper form.
  3. Lift the barbell slowly, fully extending your arms overhead and keeping your elbows as stationary as possible. The barbell should be help up straight over your eyes.
  4. Lower the barbell slowly to your starting position to complete the barbell triceps extension.
  5. Repeat.

Reverse barbell curls

Reverse barbell curls (love for your forearms):

  1. Place your hands approximately shoulder-width apart on the bar and lift the barbell with an overhand grip. Grip firmly, with your thumbs over the bar.
  2. Stand straight and relax your shoulders. Keep your arms alongside your body, and maintain your elbow and upper arm position.
  3. Curl the barbell up towards your chest in a steady, controlled motion. Make sure your elbows and upper arms don’t move from their original position. Focus on keeping your wrists steady.
  4. Pause, then lower the barbell slowly to its starting position to complete one rep.
  5. Repeat.

Any other favorites? Holler at us in the comments below.

The Most Effective Bicep Exercise You Can Do!

Dear Davey,

I don’t have a lot of time to workout – but I do want bigger arms and biceps. What’s the most effective exercise I can do?

Thanks,
Chad

Congratulations on prioritizing exercise despite your busy schedule. Truth be told, none of us have time not to work out.

Having said that, building bigger arms need not take tons of time. In fact, biceps are one of the fastest muscles to grow; you should notice results fast.

If you only have time for one bicep exercise, I’d recommend doing a barbell curl. It’s generally considered the most effective bicep exercise you can do. Here’s how you do it:

    The most effective barbell exerciseyou can do - the Barbell Curl.

  1. Load a barbell with the appropriate amount of weight. You should target 6 – 8 repetitions of the exercise for maximum growth. If you can do 4 curls, it is too heavy. If you can do 12, it’s too light.
  2. Stand tall with an engaged core.
  3. Grab the barbell with both hands in an underhand grip (fingers toward you).
  4. Slowly contract your biceps to lift the barbell up to just under your chin.
  5. Pause.
  6. Slowly lower the barbell all the way back to your thighs.
  7. Repeat for 6 – 8 repetitions

Ensure that you are not swinging your body (i.e., cheating) to help lift the barbell when it gets heavier.

When I do sets of barbell curls, I go for 4. But if you’re strapped for time, cut it down to 2. Most of the results are gained by the first set. There is a law of diminishing returns on each additional set – and the gains on the 3rd and 4th set are relatively small.

For additional reading, check out these 7 tips for bigger biceps.

Got Guns? 7 Best Tips for Bigger Biceps!

Did you get tickets for this gun show?

Building bigger, stronger arms isn’t magic. It just takes a little hard work, time, dedication and know-how. Here are my top 7 tips for bigger biceps.

  1. Keep reps in the 6 – 8 range. If you’re going for size, you want to focus on low reps of heavy weights. If you can do more than 8 repetitions, then the weight is too light.
  2. Don’t cheat. Easier said then done, especially when working with heavier weights. Bicep cheating most often occurs in bad form or by using momentum. Ensure that you’re not throwing your shoulder to lift the weight or arching your back. Pause for a second or two in between movements so to minimize momentum cheating.
  3. Give your arms rest. A hard bicep workout shreds your muscles; the rebuilding of these muscles is what results in size and strength increases. Don’t cut yourself short by over-training your arms and don’t be the person that does the same strength training workout each day. Let your biceps rest for several days in between, and never train a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout.
  4. Utilize the barbell curl. The barbell curl is perhaps the best arm exercise that you can do to build size. As I mentioned, keep the weight heavy – so that you can only do 6 – 8 reps – and perform 4 sets. It’s probably the most effective bicep exercise you could do.
  5. Progressively overload. Let’s say that today you can do 6 reps at 50lbs. Eventually, your body will adjust – and 50 lbs will become easier and easier. As such, you need to constantly overload your muscles. In a few weeks, try 8 reps at 50lbs. And then try 6 reps at 55 lbs. If you do the same weight over and over again, you will stay where you’re at. If you’re looking to build your muscles, keep overloading the weight.
  6. Keep track. We all have busy lives. It’s difficult to keep track of even the most important things like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, let alone what we’re doing in the gym. Keep a journal or notebook handy and jot down the exercise, weight, sets and reps that you perform each day. This will help you keep track of your progress.
  7. Eat your protein! Protein is the building block for muscles – make sure you’re getting enough protein (and the right protein) immediately following your workout.

Practice these 7 tips and you’ll be seeing bigger biceps in no time at all – biceps, in fact, are one of the fastest muscles to grow. For additional bicep exercises, you can download my Total Body Assault program which has an entire 20 minute video dedicated to arms. Enjoy!

Blast Your Biceps with 21s!

Basic bicep curls are a great way to build stronger arm muscles. When performed properly – and as part of a comprehensive fitness program – you’ll get results. There’s no doubt about it.

As such, when I train my biceps, I primarily stick to variations of the basic bicep curl. But every now and then, I like to really step things up and shock my system. There’s a great exercise called “21s” that does just that. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Grab a set of dumbbells or a barbell.
  2. Stand with good posture and an engaged core, as though you were going to perform a basic bicep curl.
  3. Curl the weights up just halfway. In other words, stop when your forearms are parallel to the floor; you’re performing the bottom-half of a bicep curl. Do 7 of these.
  4. Now, perform the top-half of a bicep curl. Start halfway up, where your forearms are parallel to the floor. Curl all the way up to your shoulders. Do 7 of these.
  5. Lastly, perform 7 full bicep curls. Start with your arms fully extended down, and curl all the way up to your shoulders. By the time you complete your last repetition, you will have performed 21 curls – hence the name.

Because you’re doing 21 curls, you will probably have to curl less weight than usual. I curl 40 pound dumbbells, for example. But when I perform 21s, I usually use 25 pound dumbbells. Find what works for you.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.