9 out of 10 women say the sexiest part of a man is the biceps – 100% fact; totally didn’t just make up that statistic. Whether that’s true or not (it’s not), we would all want bigger biceps.
14-inch biceps are okay and nothing to sneeze at, but it’s nothing to write home about either… So let me show you how to grow those bad boys.
The Anatomy of the Biceps (In Noob-Friendly Terms)
If you aren’t aware at this point …
The biceps are the muscles on the “front” of your upper arm or the anterior part of the body. The function of the bicep can easily be described as causing the flexion and rotation of the elbow – or bending and turning of the elbow.
The bicep is incredibly important as a muscle, as we use our hands for literally everything. You might also be interested to learn that the biceps actually consist of three muscles and aren’t just one large muscle:
- Biceps brachii short head
- Biceps brachii long head
These all have different functions in their own right. However, they all work together for flexion and rotation purposes, as discussed earlier. One thing to remember is that – because these muscles act in different ways – you need to train them differently.
Step 1 – Train the Biceps the Right Way
While you can’t completely isolate one part of the bicep, we can certainly use movements that will use certain parts more:
The Short Head
The short head of the bicep is located on the “inside” of the arm, and thus, it’s often referred to as the inner head.
The movements you can use to grow the short head are often described as movements “with the arm in front of the body,” such as:
- Reverse curls are the same as normal curls. However, as the name suggests, you’ll have an overhand grip on the bar rather than an underhand. You can do these with a barbell or dumbbells, but the best might be an EZ bar.
- Preacher curls can be described as a curl where you brace your elbow into some type of pad. The best version of this movement is actually using the pulldown machine, facing away from the machine. You’ll brace your hind arm against the leg pad.
- Spider curls are becoming more common because of how effective they are, but they can be uncomfortable. To perform spider curls, you’ll lie on your stomach on an incline set bench and curl two dumbbells. You can really twist in the pinkies to get a peak contraction with these.
The Long Head
The long head of the bicep, on the other hand, is going to be located more towards the “outside” of the arm.
This is really what is going to get you a “peaked” look, with exercises like:
- Incline dumbbell curls are one of the easiest movements to progress on, but they’re also one of the easiest to have a poor form on. They can massively overload the biceps but can also lead to insanely painful elbows – so be careful. Sit back first on an incline set bench with two dumbbells (one on either side), and you’ll simply curl without rocking your elbows.
- Single arm cable curl is very similar to the incline dumbbell curl but doesn’t tax the elbows quite as much. Simply face away from the cable attachment and curl, allowing for full elbow extension at the bottom of the rep.
- Chin-ups are the oddball in this equation. They’re usually used as a back exercise but still hold massive potential as a bicep exercise.
The brachialis muscle is usually easy as pie to train. You’re mostly going to be doing hammer or neutral-grip movements, and these will increase the thickness of the arm significantly:
- Dumbbell hammer curls are the golden standard of these movements and the one everyone goes for – easy to do, hard to mess up.
- Rope hammer curls are the step up from dumbbells because you can get a better torque curve around the elbows, allowing for greater muscle contractions.
- Dumbbell hammer curls across the body might work slightly better but will simply act as another movement to do if you reach failure with the other two movements.
Now that you can see how the different exercises are done, we can discuss how the training philosophy should look to grow bigger muscles and pack on an inch or more.
Step 2 – Progressive Overload
There are, unfortunately, a ton of people who will argue that a pump-focused workout will be better for the biceps. Any trainer worth their salt will be eager to point out that the only way a muscle really grows is through progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the term used to describe literally overloading the muscle as time progresses. This means you have to expose the muscle to greater and greater “trauma” so it will be forced to adapt.
There are various ways to do this, but the easiest (and best, if you ask me) is simply getting stronger. You’ll do heavier and heavier weights as you continue down your pathway to bigger biceps. You can – of course – try to increase volume. However, that isn’t always advised.
But progressing on all movements is a bit hard sometimes, especially if you’re inexperienced. This is where the exercise selection comes into play. Luckily, we’ve already discussed exercises, but don’t be afraid to experiment with others.
Here is a criterion you can look out for when doing so:
- The movement has to feel stable enough that the target muscle is actually doing the execution and not momentum.
- You have to pick movements that allow you to progress, as movements that have no room to grow will get you nowhere.
- Pick movements that don’t cause pain. When talking about bicep training, the main ones to look out for are pain around the elbows and wrists.
By sticking to these guidelines, you can easily get stronger in a safe and sustainable manner, allowing for optimal growth.
Step 3 – Putting It All Together
You have the exercises. You have the training protocols (getting stronger).
Well, let’s design a workout or two. See, if growing bigger biceps is the goal (especially if you’re eyeing huge arms, like 18-inch biceps), you should be really focused on that.
That means you might need to spend more than one session per week on training your biceps – unless you’re totally cool with below-average 11-inch biceps instead of slightly bigger 14s. Most people will train them twice, usually on their back/pull day as well as an arm day.
You should also remember to target all three parts of the bicep when you train – this is crucial.
Sample Workouts for Bigger Biceps
Let’s look at some workout examples for a back day and a normal arm training day:
|Back/Pull Day||Arm Day|
|Back Movements||Tricep Movements|
|Preacher Curls||Spider Curls|
|Incline Curls||Single Arm Cable Curls|
|Rope Hammer Curls||Dumbbell Hammer Curls|
|Forearm Movements||Forearm Movements|
Doing forearm movements isn’t necessary, but take it from someone who is curling 80s: having strong forearms could help so much in avoiding injuries, like tendinitis.
You have to remember that exposure to training is what’s going to make the muscle grow, so you better train them really hard… That’s why more than one session per week is advisable because if someone is only training them once, it might not be enough.
52 weeks later, you can roll up and say to your once-a-week training plan friends, “Hey, let’s have a look at your arms,” and then you can roll out your 104-session arms vs. their 52-session arms… See what I mean?
One Last Thing That’s Absolutely Vital …
Training and recovery.
When growth is the goal, you better be living accordingly. This means you have to eat in a calorie surplus, and you better rest enough to escape 12-inch bicep territory and enter the big(ger) leagues!
There are actually a few rules you can follow to make this a whole lot easier for you:
- Rule 1: Eat 200 – 300 calories above your current maintenance calories, and aim to increase total body weight by 0.5 – 1.0% of your body weight per week. Once weight gain has stopped, you can increase your calories by 200 – 300.
- Rule 2: Eat at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, as protein is the only nutrient that will turn into muscle tissue. Split the rest of your calories between fats and carbohydrates as you see fit. Try to stick to healthier, whole food options, as these will have more micronutrients.
- Rule 3: Try to manage your stress as much as you can, and aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Rule 4: Stay hydrated, and remember to monitor your electrolytes. When you become serious about growth, these things could make or break a session.
- (Rule 5): Definitely not a rule, but if you’re so inclined, 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day can make one hell of a difference in muscle size and strength.
This is really all you need to do to have phenomenal workouts. These are the factors you can control, so do your utmost best to make sure you do so.
14 Inch Biceps – Good or Bad? Conclusion
Growing larger arms, in general, is a goal millions of men have. Many forget that 60 – 70% of the arm is triceps, so don’t only focus on the biceps. That said, the biceps can be extremely hard to grow for some – especially for those with poor arm genetics.
To grow your 14-inch biceps, you need to:
- Train biceps the right way.
- Focus on progressive overload.
- Put it all together (& focus on recovery, diet, etc.).
With all that in mind, if you focus on executing great form while increasing your strength, you put yourself in the perfect position to grow. Then all that remains is your own eagerness:
- How much are you willing to stick to your diet?
- How much are you willing to sleep?
- How much are you willing to avoid stressful situations?
These things play a massive role, and if your goal is to grow the biggest biceps you can, you better make sure you do your best.
That said, remember to have fun. Arm days are, after all, more enjoyable than leg days.