Whether your body type is long and lean (a swimmer’s build) or thick and compact (a muscle bear), you’ve got to admit that having a solid set of pumped arms will capture just about everyone’s attention. This week let’s devote a little time to strengthening and building biceps, the front of the upper arms.

Some muscle groups such as back and chest need to be exercised with many movements, some others with a few. For building biceps, the curl is just about the only exercise you can do, and it’s all you really need for mounds of upper-arm power. The four exercises I refer to this week comprise a thorough biceps workout. Pay attention to your form and don’t overdo the amount of weight.

The front barbell curl is perfect for taking the biceps through their full range of motion. Stand grasping a barbell or EZ curl bar palms up in front of the thighs. Proceed to curl the bar up until the biceps meet your forearms. Pause, squeeze the positive upper contraction extra hard, then lower in a slow deliberate manner to starting position to get the benefit of the negative phase of the movement. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Make sure to stretch your biceps between each set. This will aid recovery and speed growth by bringing extra blood to stressed muscle fibers.

Standing dumbbell curls are great for exercising each bicep separately. Stand grasping a dumbbell palm forward in the right hand. Proceed to curl the weight up until biceps meets forearm. Pause, squeeze the contraction, and then slowly lower to starting position. Perform eight to twelve reps, and then switch the weight to the left hand for another set. Perform three sets with each arm. Don’t be surprised if one bicep is stronger or bigger than the other, this exercise will help promote symmetry and allow the weaker muscle to catch up.

Concentration dumbbell curls allow you to isolate each bicep and make it work hard without the help of the other muscle groups. Kneeling on the left knee, grasp a dumbbell palm up in the right hand just off the floor, elbow against the inner right thigh. Proceed to curl the weight up until bicep meets forearm. Squeeze and pause, then lower to starting position slowly. Perform eight to twelve reps, and then switch the weight to the left hand for another set kneeling on the right knee. Perform three sets with each arm.

Isometric presses allow you to stretch, work and pose at the same time! Standing, curl the right arm to a 90-degree angle, then grasp the wrist with the left hand. Press down with the left hand while the right hand pushes up, feeling the biceps contract. Hold for 20 seconds, then release. Perform five repetitions then swap arms.

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Tom Bonanti is a personal trainer and licensed massage therapist (MA40288) with his own one on one training studio in Ft. Lauderdale www.pumpnincgym.com. Contact Tom with questions regarding fitness and nutrition trainertomb@aol.com or call to schedule a free fitness intake massage (954) 557-1119.