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Best Exercise For Biceps - How To Get Big Biceps With Chin Ups
By Jean Lam

The biceps is an upper arm muscle and represents 1/3 of the upper arm muscle with the triceps 2/3. Known as the biceps brachii, this muscle is considered as a small muscle. And doing 8-9 sets of biceps exercises is enough to blast your biceps development and get them really pumped. While there are several effective exercises about how to get big biceps like barbell curls, concentration curls, alternate dumbbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, preacher curls, hammer curls, I find the chin ups as the best exercise for biceps. Have you seen a gymnast before? If you did, have you noticed the muscles in his arms? Gymnasts have big biceps and just doing chin ups and pull ups after so many years can without any doubt build impressive arms. All the curls mentioned earlier require weights whereas with the chin ups, you only need your own body weight. And best of all, the chin ups is a compound exercise, meaning you will be working other muscle groups as well. The curls are isolation exercises and target mostly the biceps but for sure, they are powerful and effective exercises to develop the biceps as well.

The advantage with chin ups is you don't need to go to a gym or buy bulky weights at home to train your biceps. You can just train at the comfort of your home and you just need a bar fixed on each side of a wall for instance. The weights will be your own body weight. The chin ups is performed this way. Grab the bar with your hands spaced out about 8 inches with palms facing you. Hang your body from the bar and raise your body up then lower it down.

Why I consider the chin ups to be the best exercise for biceps as well is because it allows a full range of motion as compared to curls. You need to raise your entire body and weight with your arms up to the bar and this isn't an easy exercise. You are raising your full body weight up which would be mostly impossible to do with weights. For example, say you weight 175 pounds, when you are doing chin ups, you need to raise your full 175 pounds body weight with your arms whereas if you were doing curls, you probably will lift only 50-75 pounds and not 175 pounds.

A major advantage with chin ups is that it's an inexpensive way of training your biceps. A chin up bar does not cost much as compared to an ongoing gym membership and expensive weights. It's possible for you to make the chin ups even more difficult by using a weight belt and attaching a weight to it. When you progress with chin ups and pay attention to nutrition, you will become heavier and your chin ups will gradually become a bit more difficult.

Apart the biceps, chin ups work other muscles like the lats, the shoulders, the forearms, the middle back so it's a great compound exercise. So in just one exercise, you have already worked many other muscles as well. This is why I believe compound exercises are the best and if you want to get big, do compound exercises like bench press, bent over rows,
dead lifts, lat pull down, cable seated rows, pull ups, chin ups, push ups and dips. Chin ups will result in greater overall upper body strength and will add extra inches and strength in your biceps provided you perform the exercise well and with proper form. For best results, you should try to lower your body slowly once you reached the bar as in doing so will put more strain on your biceps. This is called the negative. Also it's important to keep your body straight and use only your arms to raise your body up because sometimes people try to swing their bodies to pull them up. But you can jump up on the bar if you are trying to squeeze some extra repetitions, which will mean you are training to failure till you can't perform a single repeat.

Chin ups are not for everyone as they are extremely difficult for a beginner and you won't see many people performing chin ups at the gym for instance. Most will go for barbell curls. If you are just starting out, you won't be able to do a single repeat most probably. You might need some assistance like a person helping you raise your body up. Start slowly and increase your sets gradually. For eg, initially, try to do 1-2 sets of 1-3 repeats, get used to it and with time and you will progress with more repeats and sets. It takes time but with patience and determination, you can reach a decent level. If you lack arm strength, it's a good idea to do some barbell curls to get arm strength which will aid you in your chin ups. When your level becomes intermediate or advanced, you can go for up to 4-8 sets of 6-8 repeats. Rest for about 1 minute in between set. Or you can also do 3 sets and for each set, you go to failure meaning till you can't perform any additional repeats. Rest for about 3 minutes in between set.

Since the biceps is a small muscle, you don't need to do endless sets and repeats as overtraining will impede muscle growth. You can do chin ups two times per week and train them to failure. Say on Tuesday and on Friday. It's important to get adequate rest and follow a proper diet for you to maximize your bicep gains from your chin ups. If you perform your chin ups well with strict form, eat properly and rest well and avoid overtraining, you can add some extra size in your biceps in a few weeks. So good luck.

To learn much more about building muscle without weights, I recommend you check out Workout Without Weights.

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About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.


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