biceps

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r.shimmin
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biceps

Post by r.shimmin » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:53 am

After 7 months now of weight training three times a week, I've seen 15-25% strength improvement for most of my motions, and I'm generally happy with that. However, I have seen zero strength gain in my bicep curl.

In terms of isolation exercises, in the course of a week, I curl the bar twice, and the dumbells once. My compound exercises that involve the biceps are underhand chin ups (once weekly), pulldowns (twice), upright rows (once), and seated rows (twice). I generally do three sets of ten reps at a weight where I fail before completing the last set.

Based on where I feel strained when doing biceps curls, I have a sneaking suspicion that some stabilizer in the back of my shoulder is wearing out before my biceps, and I'm not actually challenging the biceps to the point where they will grow stronger. But this is just a hunch and I have no way to prove it.

What might I try to improve this situation?

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stuward
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Post by stuward » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:44 am

A couple of weeks ago you wrote about your shoulder problems. Have you had them looked at? It seems to me that this is related. It's not normal that your curl would be limited by your shoulders unless you have an issue.

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Post by r.shimmin » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:06 am

I reduced my weekly workout routine from three days of weights, three days of running, and one day of rest, to three days of weights, two days of running, and two days of rest. The shoulder pain resolved itself shortly thereafter.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:22 am

What are you doing for rear delts? Also, are you doing anything for back besides chin-ups and pulldowns?

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Post by r.shimmin » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:19 am

For isolating rear delts, nothing. For upper back in general, in addition to chin ups and pulldowns, seated rows twice a weak. For lower back, hyperextensions once weekly.

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stuward
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Post by stuward » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:35 am

Are you deadlifting? They work your whole posterior chain up to and including the rear delts.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:44 am

What type of grip are you using for seated rows? An underhand or neutral (palms facing) grip will greatly reduce the involvement of the rear delts by keeping the elbows in tight against the body.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:02 pm

Wide grip overhand chin-ups or pulldowns do nothing for the rear deltoids, since the shoulder articulation for those exercises (adduction) involves bringing the arms to the sides of the torso rather than to the rear of it. The function of the rear deltoid is to move the arm to the rear of the torso.

The pecking order of articulations for rear deltoid training is:

1-Transverse abduction (ie rear deltoid flies)
2-Transverse extension (ie rear deltoid row)
3-Extrension (ie shoulder width pulldowns or rows)
4-Lateral rotation (ie lying lateral rotations)

It could be that your biceps are overworked by the time that you get to training them. Check your exercise form to see if you're using too much bicep in your pulling. The pull should start from your back, not your arms.

If upping your weight in the biceps curl is a proirity, you can either reduce the volume of your back training or even (sacrilege!) train your biceps before back. The latter is not a good idea long term, but if done briefly it might get you over a psychological hump. Or you could drop biceps training from your Friday workout and do a couple of sets on Saturday. Again, this is a short term fix.

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Post by deano » Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:22 pm

My two cents for what its worth is your doing too much isolation work on the bi's...as for the rear delts, unless it is causing you some discomfort, I can't see how they play into the scenario. Between your underhand chins and other compounds your getting a Bi workout there, add to that curls twice a week and DB curls once more a week and I think your over doing it. I would recommend two sets of BB and two sets of either Hammer or Incline DB curls AFTER your back workout..I would nix the Lat pulldowns if your already doing chins...do one or the other and switch it up from time to time.

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Post by DeadFrog » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:02 am

Until I reduced my bicep workout to simply dumbbell incline curls, I had trouble with them. That particular workout is the best, I feel.

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