I am a female, 145 pounds, 170cm tall.

I work out 5 days a week doing 1 hour cardio & 1 hour lifting. I began this training program about 2.5 months ago...

I am having trouble developing muscle in my biceps, although I have a little amount of muscle, I want more for the amount of work I do... Any tips on how to accelerate my growth?

I currently do about 4x10 of biceps curls 3x10 standing barbell curls and 3x10 of when you have a straight arm and left it in towards your boob (not sure what its called) & some for back with use biceps

I usally use about 5kg

would it better to try and do 8 reps of 6kg, and then15 reps of 4 kg, then 20 reps of 2kg... without resting. I have heard this is really good for tearing muscles? I have enough protein & sleep.

  • "5 days a week doing 1 hour cardio & 1 hour lifting" That's over-training IMO.
    – Ejaz
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:11
  • assisted pullups, palms facing you (unless you can already do unassisted). you'll target your biceps and not waist time in isolate mode.
    – Eric
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:15
  • 1
    @Ejay Overtraining is not a workout schedule, but a specific person's response to a workout schedule. There are people who can train hard twice a day six days a week without overtraining, and people for whom an hour is too much exercise for a week. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 19:11

3 Answers 3


Lift big to get big

This goes for every muscle, biceps, quads, triceps, back, front, and side-to-side.

Aim for 3-5 set of 8-12 reps at least twice a week, and try to increase the amount you lift consistently.

Also, remember the biceps are responsible for more than just elbow flexion, but also for wrist supination. So I'd recommend doing dumbbells biceps curls, holding the dumbbell so your palms face your thighs at the bottom of the movement and as you raise them twist your wrist so your palm faces your shoulders at the top of the movement.

  • I always though it was 'lift big to get strong, lift lots to get big'
    – myol
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 18:29
  • Its really hard to separate them both and attempts at 'optimal rep ranges' for size, especially in untrained lifters is broscience. But in essence, to get bigger or stronger you need to lift bigger.
    – user2861
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:19

Your biceps are not going to grow if you're in a caloric deficit. You can only preserve the muscle you already have while your body sheds fat. Eventually your biceps will appear more toned as you lose fat and retain the muscle.

If you want to grow your biceps, you'll need to stop cutting and go on a bulk. Eat at a caloric surplus and lift heavy and you'll put on muscle mass.

You can't do both, though. You can't lose fat and grow muscle. It's one or the other.

Either way, you'd do well not to obsess too much about particular body parts. 2.5 months isn't that much time in the grand scheme of things where people spend years in the gym honing their bodies. Be patient. Don't fall into the trap of continually adjusting your routine because you're yearning for quicker results. There's only so much you can do in a short time period. Ultimately you have to just put in the time.

  • 1
    "You can't do both, though. You can't lose fat and grow muscle. It's one or the other." That's a big misconception. I'm currently losing fat and gaining muscle using right diet and routine (carb cycling, proper use of protein, and proper workout)
    – Ejaz
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:07
  • How do you know that you're gaining muscle? What are you measuring? Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:24
  • well when you are getting leaner on waist, can't poke your finger into your biceps and pecs as apposed to before, then you know you're gaining muscles. Technically I'm measuring my body mass vs. fat ratio using not-BMI.
    – Ejaz
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:27
  • What you're describing is fat loss. Being less squishy means you've lost fat. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 14:10
  • @Ejay While it is possible to some degree, for most people the fat loss is giving the illusion of muscle growth. As fat is being lost, muscle is becoming more visible. For most people, if you want to grow, you need to consume some quality food in excess of you daily requirements (calorie surplus). Yes, you will gain some fat but it's a means to an end. Once you've got some growth, modify your diet in order to drop the excess fat. Keep the weight heavy and controlled. Light/moderate cardio can help accelerate the process but it isn't 100% necessary. Take your time - be patient!!!!!
    – R-Dub
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 2:30

Instead of decreasing the weight, increase it and your rep range will decrease automatically.

Vary your workout to choke your muscle each week like (you switch between A and B)

biceps workout A :

 - barbell curl
 - isolation ez-bar curl
 - seated alternated curl

biceps workout B :

 - low pulley curl
 - isolation dumbell curl
 - seated inclinate curl

I also like to read some tips on bodybuilding.com (the link goes on biceps training tip)

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