Make your own free website on
"Bi Lines: The story of my biceps and how you can learn from it"
By Eddie Moyzan
From Flex Magazine, May 2002

My biceps have spent their lifetime as a lab experiment. No training principle exists that I haven't tried. I don't care how extreme, unconventional (or even conventional) the workout, you're talking to a bodybuilder with been-there, done-that biceps. 
As a personal trainer at Gold's Gym in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I've also used my clients - some of whom are steel-driving men from the foundries in nearby Bethlehem - as guinea pigs. The research data I've compiled prove conclusively that the biggest biceps are forged by the application of these three principles: (1) Overtrain your biceps until they're big, (2) undertrain after they're big, and (3) a cambered bar works best. 

Now, at a contest weight of 240 pounds, 5'10" and 29 years of age, my arms are 22 inches, but even when I was only 15, they measured 18 inches. Of course, that's all there was to me: I was a beanpole with legs hanging from my shoulders, and my arms were probably bigger than my legs. Here's the story of my biceps odyssey in three chapters. 

I know you've heard this a thousand times, but I got into bodybuilding because of comic books and their superheroes. When I was just a little kid, I put up a chinning bar in the doorway of my room. Made it myself. I screwed two brackets into the doorframe, then took an old barbell and cut it to fit. My parents eventually sold the house to my sister, but to this day, that chinning bar remains in that doorway. Hopefully, my nephews will pick up on it another 10 years from now and keep it in the family. 
By the time I was 15, I could easily do 10 chin-ups with a 100-pound weight strapped around my waist. My family was very competitive, so when my cousins came over, we'd see who could do the most chin-ups. Later, when I started using a barbell, I'd just put on as much weight as I could and curl until I couldn't curl any more. I had no idea what I was doing, but my biceps grew, nonetheless. 

After about a year into barbell training, my elbows began hurting a little bit, so I cut back on my training and, in just one summer, my arms suddenly grew an inch. Whoa, wait a second! I thought. So I cut back some more, and they grew even faster. 
My biceps were telling me that, all along, they needed more time to recuperate. Eventually, I reached a cutback point that was a happy medium: My biceps were still growing, but not uncontrollably. They kept pace with the rest of my body. 
At this point in my career, my biceps are so big that I have to consider their proportional relationship with the rest of my physique. In that regard, my objective must now be to give them more maturity - specifically, deeper separations and greater detail, thickness and hardness. I still lift heavy, and I'm still trying to make gains, but I'm also trying to refine them. I'm just not going gung-ho at this point to put on extra size. My arms are now so freaky that I train them only once a week or once every other week, very heavy, very quick, performing about eight sets, then I call it a day. 

When my biceps were growing at their fastest rate, my workout consisted of three exercises of four sets each, for eight to 12 repetitions per set. Actually, I'd shoot for 10 reps, but by the time I got to 10, I'd be so fired up that I could knock out an extra rep or two. In all honesty, if I was anywhere in the range of eight to 15 reps, I figured I was pretty safe. If I failed at nine reps, or 11 or 12, I was happy. For biceps, though, going below eight reps is not beneficial; you'll be causing more joint damage than muscle stimulation. 
It was in this course of experimentation that I came across a cambered bar. My arms had been growing, but so was my elbow pain, so I decided to switch from a barbell to a cambered bar. Almost immediately, the pain disappeared, yet my arms continued to grow. 
What I conclude from all this is the bigger your arms, the more you need to use a cambered bar instead of a straight bar. When you're leaner and just starting, not only are your arms able to twist with less stress, but you're also using less weight. At that stage, a straight bar can be beneficial. After you've bulked up and are able to handle more weight, however, the twisting stresses on your joints become too great, and you'll incur more damage to your wrists and elbows. 

My current biceps workouts have changed little over the years, except that I no longer use a straight bar for anything. Now, I start with standing cambered-bar curls as my primary mass builder. My grip is wide to emphasize the long head and belly of the biceps. For maximum power, I lock my wrists and curl the bar close to my body, moving my elbows backward, if necessary. If you keep your upper arms against your sides and curl outward, away from your body, you lose too much strength. Poundage is what matters, so I don't worry about peak contractions, and I avoid getting too much of an extension, for fear of tearing something. The first few sets are warm-ups and pyramids, but once I build a nice burn, I throw on my maximum weight and squeeze out four sets of eight to 12 reps, very strict. No rocking or swinging; my upper body is perfectly erect throughout. 
Next are preacher curls, with the same bar and usually with the same weight, but I use a close grip for a better peak on my biceps. Again, four sets of eight to 12 reps.
That's the crux of my mass-building movements. I pick two exercises I really like, spend the bulk of my time performing them, then finish with four hard controlled burn sets of dumbbell concentration curls, for eight to 12 reps each, so I can leave the gym with a lasting pump. 

For biceps work, keep it short and sweet. There aren't many angles from which your biceps need to be hit or can be hit, so your biceps workout should not take more than 25 minutes. The best curl is nothing more than pulling against a weight so heavy that it fatigues the deepest and largest muscles as quickly as possible. Follow my 12-set program for biceps and you'll soon be wearing short sleeves on the coldest of days. Remember, think simple, be big.

Monday: Chest, triceps
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Back
Friday: Shoulders
Saturday: Biceps
Sunday: Rest

Standing cambered-bar curls: 4 sets,* 8-12 reps
Cambered-bar preacher curls: 4 sets, 8-12 reps
Dumbbell concentration curls: 4 sets, 8-12 reps
Precede with two warm-up sets. 

Everybody has slightly different muscle attachments, so a given movement might work great for one person but not for another. That's the reason some people have better upper pecs and some develop better lower pecs; likewise, some do better with incline benches and others do better with flat benches. If you're not feeling as much of a pump from barbell or dumbbell curls as you are from cambered-bar curls, you're wasting your time. In that case, transfer those sets to cambered-bar curls, or vice versa.