I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises. I feel these are the only form of exercise you will need for gaining strength and size. I would like to discuss what I feel is one of the best exercise for building huge biceps. The exercise I have chosen is the close grip chin-up. This may surprise some, but let me explain.
I used to be a huge fan of bicep curls with dumbbells, preacher curls and so on. However, I started to notice a few people at the gym begin to experience problems with their elbows. A close friend of mine needs surgery on his elbow. He has been avoiding it by using anti-inflammatory drugs and getting cortisone shots. He was a firm believer in preacher curls and it was one of his favorite exercises. Now he can no longer perform this exercise without pain and discomfort. I also feel that concentration exercises such as bicep curls do not effectively build any real-world strength. Close grip chin-ups on the other hand will build real-world strength as well as size.
So what makes close grip chin-ups the most effective?
One reason is because is because close grip chin is a closed-chain bodyweight exercise. This means that you are moving your body through space, rather than just moving weight relative to your body. These types of exercises have proven to elicit the absolute highest growth and strength responses of all exercises. Your body simply has a greater response to these types of movements versus concentrated exercises.
The tension is also constant on your bicep throughout the full range of motion. With this exercise there is never a point at which you relax the bicep as there is always constant tension on the muscle. With a weight based curl movement you start to feel your muscle relax near the top of the curl movement. With the close grip chin-up your bicep is constantly working in every position- top, middle and bottom of the movement. This provides a greater breakdown in the muscle fiber and promotes a greater growth response. It also eliminates the possibility of injury.
Now what I suggest is that you take this advice and run with it. Drop the weights, hit the pull-up bar and you will never look back. If you get strong enough and need more weight buy a weighted vest and continue to do the same movements. This will increase the difficulty and build massive biceps that will make the girls drool. They say in the gym “curls are for the girls”. I say close grip chin-ups “separate the men from the boys”.
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