High-volume workouts are designed to build muscle.
Because of the impressive way the upper arms look when they're developed, those looking to build muscle definition have a tendency to focus on the size of their biceps. If you're interested in shredding out and building mass in your biceps, you'll need to be disciplined and dedicated to spending a significant amount of time in the gym. Fit in two biceps workouts every week, scheduling two days of recovery time in between each one.
Prep for the Long Haul
To make significant gains in bicep mass, your workouts have to be high volume. This means a high number of exercises, sets and reps. Each workout has to completely overload the muscle tissue of the biceps. When you damage your muscles this way, you stimulate them to increase in size as they heal. Pick at least three biceps exercises to include in your workout and complete three to six sets of six to 12 reps of each one. Keep your rest periods between sets to just about 60 seconds. Take a few minutes to warm up before each workout.
An Arsenal of Exercises
Your biceps are responsible for flexing, or bending, your elbows. Therefore, the biceps curl is the most effective way to target and isolate the biceps. There are a number of different types of biceps curls you can include in your workout, however. Change it up frequently to prevent hitting a plateau. You can use a barbell or a cable pulley unit, which forces both of your arms to work together. You can also use a pair of dumbbells, which makes your arms work independently. For example, your workout could consist of barbell curls, incline dumbbell curls and cable machine curls.
A Weight That Works
In order for your high-volume biceps workouts to build mass, the weight you're using for each exercise has to be right. You want to reach or come close to reaching muscle failure during each set. If you knock out 12 reps and still could handle more, for example, it's time to pick up a heavier weight. On the other hand, if you can't complete at least six reps, the weight you're using is too heavy.
Burn Them Out
Finish your biceps workout strong and ensure you overload your arms with either a set of barbell 21's or drop sets. The barbell 21 exercise involves performing the biceps curl with a barbell, but you change the range of motion every seven reps. For the first seven reps, you bend your elbow just to 90 degrees. On the next seven reps, start with your elbows bent to 90 degrees and then lift the weight all the way to your shoulders. Complete curls at the full range of motion for the final seven reps, for a total of 21 reps in the set. Drop sets involve starting with the weight you normally use for curls and completing a set to exhaustion, then immediately picking up a weight slightly lower and completing another set to exhaustion. Continue for a total of three to four drop sets.