Biceps are considered show-off muscles. Of course, everyone wants to have sleeve-busting arms for people to see. And most of us work hard on bicep day.
However, if you are making these mistakes during your workout, I am sorry but most of your efforts are going to waste. Avoid these mistakes to maximize gains and to avoid injury.
It is very common to swing your body to lift weight. This is called cheat curl. While it is effective to pull off a few extra reps in your final set, incorporating it in every set of every curl renders the workout inefficient. When you swing your lower body to curl weight, it takes tension off of your biceps. And it is an established fact that when more muscle is under tension (time under tension or TUT), more growth is observed.
Bending backwards is also not a very uncommon practice. This does nothing but put excess strain on your lower back and may result in injury. Stay straight throughout the lift.
I have seen many people bring their elbows forward and flex their shoulders at the top of a curl thinking it gives a better contraction. This again diverts tension from the biceps and indulges anterior deltoids to lift the weight. An effective curl is when you keep your elbows locked by your sides throughout the lift. This puts maximum tension on biceps. At the peak of the curl, squeeze the bicep for maximum contraction.
How many times have you felt that your forearms are pumped, compared to your biceps on a bicep day? While this could be an issue of weaker forearms, it is mostly due to flexing of forearms while performing a curl. Bending your wrist incorporates the forearms to lift weight during the curl, which – yes, you guessed it – draws the tension from biceps and wastes your energy in flexing the wrist. Excessive weight may even damage the wrist. The correct way is to keep the wrist straight. You can use wrist support to ensure that and get used to the form.
IGNORING THE NEGATIVES
I have also observed how many people concentrate more on the curl and almost always ignore the negatives. They perform a curl and let the gravity bring the weight down back to the starting position. While it is true that most of the work is done in lifting the weight against gravity, eccentric movement or negative movement is also important in maintaining tension and stimulating muscle growth. Don’t let gravity do your work; instead, slowly and steadily bring down the weight to the starting position. Stay in control and see your guns grow bigger.
TRAINING ON A WRONG DAY
You can train any body part anytime you want. But care should be taken to not over burden your body. I follow the rule of never training two big muscle-groups in a single day or even on consecutive days. Biceps are, however, small muscles. You can train them with any other body part. But a huge exception is training them with or after back workout. Most back exercises include pulling movements, which use biceps as well. Doing a lats workout before biceps would drain all the energy and you wouldn’t be able to curl effectively.
I mostly train biceps after leg day, as compound exercises on leg day releases large amount of growth hormones which stays in the blood for a while and helps build bigger biceps.
So there you have it. All the common mistakes that are stopping your bicep to grow at a rate, it should be growing. Avoid them, perfect your form even if it means cutting down a few plates from you barbell and I promise you will not be disappointed by the results of your bicep workout.