Posted on 12 Sep 2015
3 min read
Two things every bloke in the gym wants: the biggest biceps and the biggest bench press.
Well, believe it or not, these two things actually synergise quite nicely.
I know what you’re thinking, “Do you even lift bro? Bench pressing doesn’t work the biceps!”
Well hold fire with the hashtag GymFails and save your judgment until you’ve read the facts.
We asked an actual expert for a view (yeah we do know a few) and Craig Salmon, master tutor from Premier Globals Online Personal Training Courses says, “Firstly, anyone who has really, truly maxed out on their bench press has probably at least felt their biceps going to work and I can personally say I’ve woken up with bicep DOMS chasing 1 and 3 rep maxes.”
Salmon continues, “Though the biceps don’t go to work directly on the concentric (pushing) part of the bench press they get put through their paces on the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement.”
Basically your biceps are putting a shift in to make sure the bar doesn’t drop straight onto your sternum and crack a few ribs.
So the stronger (and bigger) your biceps are, the more control and steady pacing you’ll have lowering the weight down before firing it back up.
A steady lowering movement is, in my opinion, one of the keys to a big bench press.
If you let the back gather momentum and drop too fast on the way down you’re going to struggle to reverse it back up again.
So training your biceps will help make you the master of the bar, not the bar the master of you.
The bigger your arms are – triceps and biceps – the more mass and tissue you’ll have to, basically, cushion the weight.
This will create a bigger base for you to press with for a start.
But, additionally, all that mass, particularly in your biceps, will create a spring-like effect when your arm is flexed at the bottom of the bench press.
This is, again, going to help propel that bar back up to the top.
This has nothing to do with anatomy, mechanics or anything like that, but simply training a muscle with the good old-fashioned goal of looking good.
Anyone who has run a powerlifting programme, myself included, would probably say their strength gains were great but their arm, and maybe shoulder, development was probably underwhelming at best.
So why not temper that by going ahead and training your arms a little bit?
The biceps are a small muscle group and can be trained regularly because they recover quickly.
Plus, getting an effective bicep workout will not take much out of you or add much time to your workout.
You should be able to create a good amount of fatigue in the muscle in four sets and that’s not going to wipe you out for your deadlifts the next day.
You can go and do 8 Hour Arms or whatever crazy high-volume arm workout is trending if you want, but the fact is arm flexion is arm flexion is arm flexion.
Whichever ways you choose to do it just curl some weight two or three times a week and watch your arms grow!
So that’s about it.
Bigger arms AND a bigger bench – it is possible.
Remember there are no “secret” biceps exercises.
Doing a behind the head, reverse grip, quarter twist, hanging biceps curl is no more effective than a classic EZ or dumbbell curl.
Yes there are nuances between certain exercises but if you’re chasing some strength goals and looking to add size to your arms, stick to the basics and work your ass off.
What are your tips for getting a bigger bench?
Or bigger arms?
Let us know in the comment section, then go pick up a barbell and put in some work.
True statements, but I have also found that a solid tricep and lat workout has produced gains for me
Yep for sure tris and lays are integral to a big bench.
They usually get good development from most programs anyway though, I find the biceps are usually neglected
I knew that your arms get a good work out on bench press but I’ve never really solely focused on arms.
I just focus on big compound movements.
I’ll definitely include more arm workouts to hopefully improve on my bench press PB as 5 x 5 has pushed me to as far as I can go I think!
I’ve set up my training and now I’m following your tips and I’m really enjoying it.
Started with chinups for biceps.
Could feel the burn even after 3 days of training.
Now I know why chinups are called traditional and original bicep curls.
For me I am just simply obsessed with bench press.
Feels like the manliest workout out there and the burn feels great after.