If you want a pair of big arms, you’re going to have to spend at least some part of your workout building you bicep peak. The peak is not only what increases upper arm measurement, but gives the bicep a bigger overall look. Below are a few ways you can alter your arm workout to increase your bicep peak.
The bicep actually has two heads to the muscle – the biceps brachii and the brachialis. The brachii is the “main” part of the muscle that you see from the front and on the inner part of the arm. It’s the primary bicep muscle that does most of the proverbial “heavy lifting”.
The other head of the bicep is the brachialis, which runs down the outside part of the upper arm. Which the bicep contracts, it’s this long, yet thinner muscle head that “scrunches up” to form the bicep peak. It’s engaged the most whenever you do any sort of hammer curl type movement where the palms are in a neutral/palms facing each other position.
Because hammer curls also target the forearms hard, they’re not quite as good of an overall bicep builder as more traditional curling movements. However, using them as a finisher for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps will ensure that you’re hitting the bicep peak.
While the brachialis should be your main focus, you can still utilize exercises that target the biceps brachii to improve your peak, too. The best sort of movements for this are when you upper arms “hang” upright, but without your torso to brace against. Various forms of concentration curl are excellent for this.
It doesn’t matter if you perform your concentration curls seated or standing while leaned over. Just be sure that your upper arms are hanging freely vertical, and not braced against anything. This means no putting your elbow against your inner thigh while doing the seated variation. Use a lighter weight, keep reps slow and controlled, and hold the contraction for at least 2 seconds, squeezing the bicep peak hard. 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps works well.
Spider Curls are when you do curls facing the opposite direction on a preacher bench. So instead of your arms on the angled pad, your chest is on it while your arms hang off the back side. These work the bicep peak because again, the upper arms are in that same vertical position mentioned above.
However, you can cross this with a sort of concentration curl, then modify it for even greater results. Set up a free incline bench to just above 45 degrees, grab a dumbbell in either or both hands, then lean your chest on the bench, almost simulating a spider curl. You can either perform your curls one arm at a time, both arms at once, or in alternating fashion.
To hit the bicep peak even more, rotate your upper arms forward such that your elbows are in front of your shoulders. You’ll have to go lighter with this variation as your front deltoid will have to stay flexed, holding your upper arms in this angled position throughout the movement.
This is beneficial because the bicep stays in a contracted position, whereas tension is released when your arms hang vertically. This not only increases time under tension, but EMG analysis shows this variation increases bicep muscle activation, too. Do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.
You may not have been born with a huge peak on your bicep, but with a little bit of dedicated work, you can definitely improve it. Adding in hammer curls to work the brachialis and some sort of concentration or modified spider curl to hit the brachii are both good ideas you should implement. Focus on both for a few weeks and you should find yourself increasing how far you stretch the tape measure.