In a recent video series, Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. has been demonstrating how to use resistance bands to build strength and muscle in different parts of the body at home, without needing any other expensive gym equipment.
The latest instalment focuses on biceps, and in particular how technique makes all the difference when performing banded movements to build bigger arms. This is the one you’ve been waiting for to grow the guns.
“One of the foundational exercises for building bigger biceps is going to be utilising chinups in some way, shape or form,” says Cavaliere, adding that using a band to perform an assisted form of this movement is ideal for anyone who might struggle with a full bodyweight version.
As you continue to build strength through chinups, Cavaliere recommends hanging the band over your head and anchoring it to something heavy on the ground in order to add extra resistance and overload.
No Money Curl
This exercise works the short head of the biceps. “I’m not just getting the resisted flexion and supination I’d get on a typical curl, I also have resisted external rotation which gives you a little extra additional benefit to your rotator cuff, which is never a bad thing.”
Close-grip Supination Curl
Conversely, a narrower grip will work the long head of the bicep. Cavaliere advises paying particular attention to how you grip and anchor the band in this move, as this will affect the quality of contraction.
Biceps Stretch Curl
By extending your arms behind you at the bottom of each rep, you benefit from starting from a stretch position, leading to better activation of the long head. “How you do curls, and the ones you select, will play a big part in the results you ultimately see,” says Cavaliere.
For this “legendary” variation, anchor the band under your heels and behind your body, wrap it around your lower back to stabilise it and keep it in place, then simply lift your hands upwards, making sure to keep the elbows as far back as possible.
Lip Buster Curl
This move combines flexion of the elbow, supination of the forearm, and elevation of the shoulder to create peak contraction of the bicep. You can then add extra difficulty with the lip buster call step away, which involves taking a step backwards at the top of each rep.
Banded Waiter Curl
Anchor the band under your feet, and ensure when wrapping it around your hands that they are facing upwards, placing overload on the distal fingers.
By locking your elbow in place on this move, you eliminate the swing and momentum which would usually come into play, forcing the bicep muscles to do more of the work. And you don’t need a bench to do this; you can recreate all of the benefits of a preacher curl by anchoring your elbow on your knee from a kneeling position.
Cross-body Hammer Curl
In addition to targeting the biceps, Cavaliere reminds viewers not to neglect the brachialis elbow flexor. The cross-body hammer curl, when performed close to the body with a pronated grip, will effectively target this muscle.