If you’ve ever been to the gym, or even played a game of pickup basketball, you’ve seen a bunch of shirtless dudes with biceps as big as your leg. While those guys might look like meatheads that have taken it much too far, there’s probably some part of you that’s jealous of their ability to build muscle.
The thing is that you too can build muscle. You may not want to look like one of those monstrous freaks deadlifting a Datsun, but you could if you really dedicated yourself to the cause.
Whether you’re going for a reasonable amount of muscle, or you want to look like The Incredible Hulk’s pale cousin, this guide can help put you on the right track to build your biceps.
Do Your Damn Pushups
You probably haven’t done a pushup since the other kids laughed at your form when you were 12. We can’t blame you – I remember how bad at them you were. Time to grow up and learn to do pushups right now!
Pushup form is relatively simple, so I’m not going to bore you to death with that. The internet is fully of shitty videos that will show you how to do a proper damn pushup.
What I will tell you is that pushups are one of the best body weight exercises for newbies who don’t work out a lot. That’s because you can probably handle your own body weight effectively. If it’s hard to do a pushup today, it will get easier within a week or two of trying.
When you’re doing pushups, don’t immediately just do so many that you fall down on the ground when you’re done. Focus on getting the form right and completing a small amount the right way. Even if you can only do 10 at first, you’re setting yourself up for more reliable strength down the road.
That’s going to help you get the freakish muscles the girls with the three-inch layer of makeup really love.
Curls Aren’t Just for Girls
Maybe you’ve heard the term “curls are for girls” at the gym. Maybe you’ve never been to the gym but you have a buddy who drinks protein shakes like water and he says it all the time. Whatever you’ve heard, put it out of your head.
Curls are an effective exercise to build your biceps that you can do almost anywhere with a variety of pieces of equipment. For most guys, a set of free weights is affordable enough that they can even do curls in their man cave while they watch UFC fights – or whatever makes you feel many.
When you’re doing curls, proper form is important if you don’t want to end up tearing something that you really would rather not tear. Once you get your form right, you’re looking at doing sets of eight to 12 and repeating that two to three times per arm.
If you’re a badass, you can work both arms at the same time. But until you’re a badass – which is probably going to be a while – you might be better off focusing on form and working one bicep at a time.
Sure, you’ll need an extra five minutes to work out, but that’s really not a big deal, is it?
But How Much Weight, Bro?
I can hear you asking how much weight you’re supposed to be lifting. In fact, I’ve heard you the whole damn time. Fuck form, you say – I want to lift heavy weights! Slow down there, dude! You’re not ready to lift the big weights with the meatheads yet.
In general, you want to be lifting about 60% of your max weight to build your biceps. 60% of your 1 rep max will help prevent injury, so be smart and keep safe. You can figure out your max weight by finding the weight you can do a single rep with, but is too heavy for you to do two.
The 60% rule is generally one you should follow, but if you’re new to working out, you might not be able to handle much more than 20 pounds when you’re doing curls. If that’s the case, most guys can start with 15-pound weights and get through their exercises.
If you can’t make it through three sets of eight to 12 reps, don’t feel bad about yourself. You’ll get there sooner than you think. You might be a scrawny beanpole or a bucket of lard now, but if you keep pumping those guns you’ll make it to the NFL in no time!
Or at least look better in a tight t-shirt.
Blasting your biceps is all well and good, but if you really want to look like a monster – or a lean, muscular dude – you need to eat right too. We’ve already talked about how to bust your belly fat. Next week we’ll talk about all the bullshit myths that musclemen love to perpetuate, as well as how you really need to be eating if you want to build your biceps.