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Plan B

The perfect workout for a quick biceps pump

By Redmann Wright


For those days when time isn’t on your side, you can always hit arms. Sure, 15 or 20 minutes in the gym might feel worthless if you’re used to 90-minute workouts, but look at it this way: You already know that if you skip a workout, it’s going to bother you all day and maybe into tomorrow. That’s why we have this Plan B biceps blaster.

A quick pump will help you feel like you put in work today, which leaves you satisfied, de-stressed, and ready to tackle the next task, but it also offers some legitimate hypertrophy benefits. Evidence recently presented at the International Symposium on Strength Training in Madrid showed that more than 20 weekly sets per muscle group per week resulted in almost double the average growth compared to less than five weekly sets. While more may be better, there is clearly a sweet spot that can be reached in a 15- or 20-minute window.

This workout also gives your body a change. As we know, shocking the muscles every once in a while is the prescription to induce growth. These three exercises are slightly off the beaten path. They are also bilateral, meaning they will take less time than an exercise such as a concentration curl. This combination of unfamiliar exercises, short rest periods, and bilateral motion adds up to a workout that is fast and efficient.

With this in mind, here is our quick Plan B biceps workout for when life gets in the way. It is just enough to get that great pump you want and make it to that next meeting, appointment, or deadline. IM

Dave Draper-Style Forehead Curl

You’ll begin this exercise like a typical curl, with the weight starting from waist level. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Hold a loaded EZ-bar in your hands with a palms-up grip. Instead of curling up to your upper chest, you will continue all the way up to your forehead. Unlike other standing curls, your elbows will move away from your sides as the weight comes up to forehead level. At the top, give your biceps a good squeeze before slowly returning to the start position. You can lightly touch your forehead with the bar, although beginners may not have enough control for this. Focus on rage of motion and getting that peak contraction from the biceps.

Cable Hercules Curls

Stand in between two cable stations with the pulleys locked in the upper-most positions. Grasp a D-handle in each hand with your arms extended into a crucifix pose, parallel to the floor. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your eyes on the horizon, and contract your core muscles. With your arms at shoulder height, curl both arms simultaneously flexing your bicep until your hands come close to your ears. Hold and squeeze at the peak contraction for two full seconds, the slowly lower them until the arms are extended but not locked out.

Close-Grip Chin-Up

Grasp a pull-up bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you) and your hands four to eight inches apart. Wrap your hands all the way around the bar. Hang from the bar with your arms straight. Activate your biceps and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Hold that position for a second before slowly lowering yourself to the starting position and repeat. Try to keep from swinging much as possible. Intensity is at your discretion. This exercise works best after muscles have been pre-exhausted, which is why it is placed last in this workout.


Plan B Biceps Workout

Exercise                                 Sets                 Reps               Rest

Forehead Curl*                           4                        8                         30 seconds between sets

-90 seconds of rest

Cable Hercules Curl*                4                        10                       15 seconds between sets

-90 seconds of rest-

Close-Grip Chins-Up**            4                         6-8                    60 seconds between sets


*Add weight on sets 2 and 3; take set 4 to failure

**Add weight if necessary

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