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Big Delts, Small Bi’s?

For many years my wife and I have had a running joke. I tell her that if her biceps weren’t so great, her shoulders wouldn’t seem so weak in comparison. She notes that maybe if my delts weren’t so overpowering, my biceps wouldn’t appear to be so underdeveloped. Within that friendly jest, however, lies a common truth. I’ve noted that I’m not unique in having that disparity.

For a very long time much of the work my biceps were supposed to be doing on curls was actually being done by my shoulders. It happens a lot—more often than you might think and maybe even in your own training. Luckily, I recognized the problem a few years ago and gradually replaced movements like barbell and dumbbell curls with preacher and spider curls and curls done on machines like Hammer Strength. With my arm braced and immobile, my shoulders no longer had the chance to rob my biceps of the stimulation they required to grow.

My biceps won’t make guys like Lee Priest or Ronnie Coleman green with envy, but they sure are a lot bigger and better than they used to be. If you have great shoulders but not-so-great biceps, maybe all you need to do is put those bi’s in a position where they’re forced to do the work. If you want to keep barbell and dumbbell curls in your routine, that’s fine—just use less weight and maintain ultrastrict form. Life is too short to spend it being ashamed of subpar biceps. IM

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