Bodybuilding Training Article from EricsGym.com

The Way to Massive, Peaked Biceps
by Bruce Page - 1972

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The shape and muscularity of a muscle group should be foremost and size secondary. This is particularly true when developing the peaked biceps, for if they are trained sullenly, in the conventional manner, even using heavy weights, you will attain great size but will lack the beauty and symmetrical contour which would make them appear as your outstanding physical attribute.

To achieve the ultimate in size, shape and definition you must practice isolation contraction movements in your biceps curls. No other method of curling will put that finished look to them.

The biceps will ball up only to the degree that it is forced. The more complete contraction you subject it to, the more it will be able to project, as it were. Try this simple test and discover how the muscle will increase in its contractile intensity as it moves through a greater range of movement.

Hold your arm out to the side at shoulder level. Now flex the arm and curl the biceps tensely and bring the fist to the shoulder. At this point the biceps feel very tight and tense. Now, raise the elbow until it is overhead and behind the neck. Now contract the biceps more and you will feel it ache and really ball up more than at any time before; this is muscular contraction at its greatest.

If big, bulky arms are all you are interested in, then isolation contraction curls are not at all necessary. Beginners who lack muscle mass should disregard this type of exercise until such time as they have obtained sufficient bulk to work with. Isolation type training will build size but not enough for it to be practiced extensively by the beginner. What would happen, in such a case, is that the trainee would develop a well defined but very small biceps that would appear just as unimpressive on him as the large arm on a fat man,. Important as isolation training is you must have adequate muscle mass to work with.

Allow the appearance of your arm in its proportion to the rest of the body be the deciding factor. If it looks a little too light, then concentrate more on conventional curls with heavy weights. If, on the other hand, it appears thick enough but lacks a high and defined appearance, then add more isolation work to improve its symmetry.

Past physique stars such as Eric Pederson, Melvin Wells and George Payne, the latter who is still training and in great shape, had developed their biceps into amazing peaks. All of us, however, are not so fortunate, and we may have to settle for a little less achievement in this respect simply because there are not two persons with identical physical attributes. Some fellows have naturally wide shoulder girdles and have that Reeves type of taper and others are narrow shouldered as is Larry Scott. Some have naturally large shapely calves which need little attention to make them great, whereas others must sweat blood in and effort to develop a reasonable appearing pair of calves. And so it is with biceps. Some fellows have a natural high biceps and a little effort on their part will develop and amazingly high biceps but again another fellow will have to work very hard to develop some height to his upper arm. This article is to help both types but predominately the latter of the two.

When working for a high peaked biceps you must take into consideration the complex nature of your routine. By this I mean that many of the exercises you use in developing the arms must be greatly altered in performing isolation contraction work, or your efforts will be in vain.

As an example, regular heave curls, as you all know, have their greatest benefit in developing large, massive muscles. Yet, as great as they are in this capacity, they are not good for isolating the muscle. For isolation contractions to be beneficial they must be preformed slowly and deliberately, to insure complete tension and full range of movement. The use of heavy weight is not the goal in isolation contraction work, but to develop maximum contractile power is.

Pumping methods are also used for building size, but again these methods are for isolation contraction work. A muscle fully flushed with blood loses considerable of its contractile power. So it is obvious that pumping will not help yo to completely contract the biceps. you know this because when your arms are really pumped and gorged with blood, you can hardly tense them at all. When you plan on doing isolation contraction work, make certain you haven't scheduled a lot of cheating or flushing work beforehand or you will find it difficult to obtain much in the way of effect from your isolation work.

The isolation principle is ideal for developing the high biceps and is the most important of the techniques that can be wholly applied to high biceps work. In fact the more you can isolate the action of the curls, the greater the results.

Now recently much has been written concerning concentration in your training and this cannot be stressed too much as it is of such great importance. Serious mental concentration is a great aid and the two principles - isolation and concentration - will assure you of the greatest muscular development.\

Isolation contraction is essentially "angle work". By that I mean the the body is not necessarily held in the conventional strict form and the weight is not brought sharply upward as in regular barbell curling, for example.

The body is inclined at a slight angle so that the arms have a longer range of movement and because of that longer range more and more tension can brought to bear upon the muscle. An example would be as follows: The bodybuilder sits on a bench, legs apart, torso bent slightly forward with one hand bracing the body by being placed against the opposite knee. The exercising hand holds a medium weighted dumbbell, which will hang almost to the floor. The trainee tenses the muscle, being the biceps, concentrating as he does, and forces the weight up slowly until it touches the opposite shoulder.

Of course there are many other forms of positioning the body. For example, lying on a bench with the arms extended over one end to grasp a barbell. This is a very strenuous form of isolation contraction work. Here the factors of leverage and gravity come into play making even a moderately weighted barbell feel heavy.

Curling on the incline bench can be made into a very effective isolation exercise, if light weights are handled and great concentration applied. Most bodybuilders though, use heavy weights and have the weight up bringing almost to nil the advantages of building a high, will defined biceps with this exercise.

Straight barbells curls or dumbbell curls, done one arm at a time on a preacher bench, are an excellent way to perform the isolating curl. The preacher bench will make it much easier for most trainees to isolate their biceps because the pad behind the upper arms will force one to use strictness. Do these slowly and with great concentration while completely contracting the biceps. About four seconds up and four seconds down is the right cadence for a rep when doing preacher curls.

I have name only a few of many fine biceps exercises that will very definitely help you to build a higher more defined biceps and doubtless you will discover many more now that you know what isolation means in training. Don not attempt to use heavy weights in any of these exercises for this will only hamper the correct performance of them.

If you have had a problem with a flat appearing biceps, perhaps this article will be of value to you. I sincerely hope so.


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