Feeling like you could be doing more to maximize biceps growth? These 3 accessories will leave your arms sore and sleeves stretched!
By Roger Lockridge
When we first start training, increased upper arm size is among the first noticeable signs that what we’re doing is working. Eventually we also hit that dreaded plateau and immediately blame the basic exercises we’re doing. “I’m more advanced now so I need to do something different”.
You’re right but not in the way you think you are. You need to make changes but you don’t necessarily have to give up doing those tried and true movements nor do you need to start slinging more weight. You can just change up how you do them. In other words, you need to add accessories to your arm game and make those lifts more challenging without adding more weight. As a matter of fact, you might even need to lighten the load.
Sample Biceps Workout with Accessories
Arm Blaster Barbell Curls – 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Bar Grip Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps.
Rope Cable Curl with Tourniquets – 3 sets of 15 reps.
*Rest for 60 seconds between sets.
The arm blaster is likely the first arm exclusive accessory to hit the market and it’s still the first one you should consider. Greats from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Phil Heath and all the champions in between used this and their biceps were impressive so follow their lead. You place the strap over your neck like a necklace. Take your barbell or dumbbells and position the backs of your arms on the plate which should be over your chest. Now you won’t be able to cheat on your curls because they are braced similar to a preacher bench – except you’re standing. The arm blaster would be a great way to kick off an arm session.
Training with thicker bars challenge your grip strength and forearms because it will be tougher to wrap your whole hand around. When it comes to curls, having a greater contraction in your forearms translates to a greater contraction in your biceps.
Obviously not all gyms are going to have thicker bars but you can get a pair of bar grips that can be placed on any barbell or dumbbells or on the handles of most machines and cable attachments. This adds a lot more variety to exercises you’re very familiar with. While they can be applied on almost anything biceps related, I like using them for dumbbells because each arm has to work on its own and provides a greater challenge.
Occlusion training, or blood flow restriction training (BFR), has been more of the rage in recent years. The idea is that you restrict the blood flow to the veins of the working muscle so there is less blood and oxygen getting to the area while working. Then once blood is allowed to flow to those muscles, the result is greater recovery growth. You need an elastic strap to apply to the arms like tourniquets. They’re relatively cheap to buy or you can talk to your physician about getting a pair.
Obviously you would apply them as tight as possible. You still want to maintain feeling. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being as tight as possible), apply them at a level of 6 or 7 and keep them on for all the sets of your exercise of choice. Save these for your finisher.