ISSA certified Fitness Trainer
Q: I find some of my muscles burn out much faster than others. I can train my triceps to satisfaction but my biceps simply burn out quickly and I just can’t do any more. What can I do to increase a muscle group’s endurance?
Ans: The first thing you have to do is make sure you’re not training biceps on back day. Training your back first will fatigue your biceps. So, have a dedicated arms day where you’re training only your biceps/triceps. To add size to your arms or to gain strength and endurance focus on the core mass builder exercises like barbell curls, preacher curls and dumbbell curls and always try to go to failure on every set.
Start out with the most basic mass builder for your biceps, which is the standing barbell curl. Only do one thorough warm-up set of about 15-20 reps to get the muscle really warm. Then, go for a very heavy set of about 4-6 reps of barbell curls. If your biceps are getting tired, it sounds like this is your weak muscle group and it needs to catch up in muscle mass, strength and endurance.
Also, make sure to work the biceps from different angles. Train your bicep muscle at three different angles.
- side of the body i.e. standing barbell curl
- behind the body i.e. incline dumbbell curl
- front of the body i.e. preacher curl
This way the muscle is always stimulated and “confused” which is exactly what you have to do. Try including these exercises into your biceps training routine:
Inclined Dumbbell curls (3 Sets of 8 to 12 reps)
Sit on an inclined bench with dumbbells in each hand and hands down by your sides. You can do hammer curls (where you keep your palms facing your body at all times); regular curls (with palms facing up); or supinating curls (where they start facing your body, and about halfway through the movement, you turn your palms facing up).
Preacher Curls (3 Sets of 8-12 reps)
Place an EZ or straight bar in front of the preacher curl bench. Sit down with your chest against the bench, grasp the bar and lower your arms as far down the bench as possible. The top of the preacher bench must be under your armpits; this will ensure that the exercise is as strict as possible. Extend your arms fully and from this position curl the bar up with your biceps. Focus on contracting the muscle as hard as possible, when the bar is curled all the way up slowly lower and repeat for the desired number of reps.