I don't count calories, but know I'm getting leaner on my current diet and it's 100% fat loss. I am having trouble building biceps size however. I have worked my biceps for a long time and they do not get bigger. My triceps grow easily even on a big calorie deficit, and so do quads -- but bis seem to stay 13-14 inches for years with this kind of diet. Do biceps specifically need higher calorie diets to gain more muscle on that region? Because otherwise how do you explain the fact that I can build muscle in other regions with a deficit running and not on the biceps?

My traps have grown tremendously naturally while still cutting over months. I have been training for 3-4 years max. Why don't biceps grow on a deficit? They look leaner and get a "pump" which makes them bigger, but in a few days they shrink again a bit. I am not losing muscle, but none will be added to them. What can I do to force direct biceps brachili growth on a calorie deficit?

I've tried huge dropsets, tons of reps/sets, heavy weights, etc. My macros are well, but I don't eat too many carbs overall. I usually either float somewhere below and above calorie maintenance. I don't measure calories anymore, but I'm still gaining in other regions -- just not the biceps. They have been stuck at 13-14 inches for a good 2 or so years of steady training. I'm fairly lean and have very small bone frame. I have like 13% bodyfat give or take. What gives? I don't want no fatceps!

  • Have you tried compound movements?
    – apex
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:04
  • Also, why are you in a caloric deficit if you wish to get bigger?
    – apex
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:14
  • Because I'd rather struggle to get bigger if it means I can still be getting leaner too.
    – user25900
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 21:05
  • My main concern is why biceps don't seem to adapt in particular. And yes, I do compound exercises, but they don't really help biceps since they're used as stabilizers in most compound movements. Preacher curls seem to get the best pump, but as I said the pump fades away in 1-2 days max. I take supplements like creatine and nitric oxide potentiators/etc.
    – user25900
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 21:07
  • Have you tried having different genetics?
    – John
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


Trust me, stay 250-300 above your maintenance level of calories and keep your protein high and you won't gain much fat. This way you will get bigger a lot quicker rather than sitting in a caloric deficit all the time.

Also, when you first start working out you can easily build muscle and lose fat at the same time, something referred to as "beginner gains", but after you workout for longer than a year, the way to see more progress is to be above maintenance level in terms of calories.

In terms of biceps not getting bigger, I think you should keep doing compound lifts while in a caloric surplus. Compound movements do help your arms get bigger, just keep increasing the weight as you get stronger. Also, including curls can help shape your arms.

Lastly, there is a genetic factor that comes into play. Some people have better chest genetics and others have better arm genetics. So if your biceps are lacking and you have tried everything, it could be genetics.

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