Why are your biceps not growing?

Why are your biceps not growing? Why are you not growing and how do we pump biceps? Let’s talk about Effective exercises for pumping triceps and biceps and the technique for their implementation.

The biceps and triceps are some of the most prominent muscles in the upper body. Most beginners want to build their arms first and they also think that training this muscle group day in and day out is the best means to achieve the goal. Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes that can lead to arm muscles not gaining size and muscles. Even professional athletes sometimes reach the plateau so, what reasons can interfere with the acquisition of the desired shape?


Genetic predisposition

Unfortunately, there is no escape from the fact that genetics plays a crucial role in the structure of the muscles of each person.

In fact, the biceps, or biceps brachii, is a very small group of muscles whose main function is to raise and lower the forearm. The point at which the bicep muscle meets the tendon has a big impact on its growth potential.

If in some this tendon has a short length, then in others it can be quite long, which directly affects the shape of this area, since the tendon does not change its size. That is, if you are the owner of short tendons, your biceps muscles are long. If you have long tendons, your biceps are short. Both the long and short biceps muscles can be increased in volume, but visually the long pumped muscle will be more massive.


Muscle structure.

To measure the potential for muscle growth due to the proportions of muscle to the tendon, there is a method that can be done at home. For this:

  • Relax your arms and place the fingers of your right hand across the crease of your left. You should feel the large biceps tendon as it crosses the front of the elbow joint and goes to the radius of the forearm.
  • Tighten the biceps of the left hand, and feel the tendon in the elbow space with your fingertips, it differs from the muscle in its rigidity and a clear definition of the fibers. Feel the junction of the tendon with the biceps with your fingers. The distance between where the biceps connect to the tendon and where it intersects the tendon at the elbow joint will be the length of your tendon.
  • Tighten your biceps again. Make sure your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  •  Have a partner measure the distance between the inside of the elbow (look for the crease in the skin, on the front of the elbow) and the inside edge of the contracted bicep. Do this with both hands.

The measurement results can be interpreted as follows:

Bicep length Muscle Growth Potential
1.25 cm as long as possible high
1.25-2.55 cm long good
2.55-3.90 cm average average
3.90-5.00 cm shorter than average weak
5 cm or more short minimum


A person with long tendons may show a good result in building muscle mass, but his path will be longer. In this case, it is necessary to pay attention to training the triceps, which are also responsible for the visual volume of the arm muscles.


Having set out to pump up arms, many athletes fanatically pay attention only to them in the gym. Often this approach leads to the effect of overtraining and injury. No matter how many times a week you hit the gym, you won’t see results if you don’t balance your workouts with proper rest and nutrition.

In fact, muscle growth itself occurs during the recovery period between workouts, and not during the workout itself. The visible effect of the training process, the so-called pumping, is due to the fact that when exposed to the muscle, its blood supply increases, and the instantly visible effect is nothing more than swelling of the treated area.

In addition, the biceps and triceps are involved in many general exercises, and by the time of local pumping, they simply do not have time to recover. A tired muscle always does not work to the maximum, the amplitude decreases and the technique of performing exercises worsens, which also interferes with the harmonious development of the muscles.

The best way to avoid overloading your arms is to split your workouts by muscle group, meaning your training plan should include days dedicated to strengthening only the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Such training should be performed no more than twice a week with a minimum break of 42 hours.


Nutrition aimed at increasing muscle mass always differs from the usual diet because of a high content of “muscle building material” – protein.

A high-protein diet must meet certain proportions. The amount of protein consumed per day should range from 1.5 to 1.8 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight of the athlete.

The source of protein also plays a role – protein from different foods is absorbed differently. So, the reference product in terms of composition and digestibility is egg white. Meat and fish are also excellent sources of protein, but for intense workouts, fish is preferable, as it is absorbed faster and does not overload the gastrointestinal tract. For variety, include dairy products in your diet – cottage cheese, cheese, as well as nuts, legumes, and specialized sports products containing protein.

Contrary to prejudices about carbohydrates, they are necessary for building new muscle fibers. Glycogen is a storage form of glucose. With a lack of this substance during high-intensity training, muscle-burning occurs instead of its growth. Replenish this nutrient to achieve the desired result, with the right products: oatmeal, whole grain bread, quinoa, legumes, fruits, and dried fruits.

Wrong technique

Firstly, the desire to build arms quickly leads to premature training with large weights. Untrained arm muscles cannot allow you to perform exercises with maximum weight in isolation, involving the whole body in work. It turns out that by training with maximum weight, on the contrary, you remove the load from your arms and help with stronger back and leg muscles.

Secondly, such trifles as the correct grip of the barbell, the correct rhythm of the exercise, and the angles of flexion and extension, help in the local work of precisely those muscles that you are trying to increase. There are many instructional videos on the Internet on these topics. If you can’t do it on your own, it makes sense to hire a personal trainer.

This problem can also be attributed to the lack of variety of exercises. Each exercise, due to differences in angles and direction (for flexion or extension), the application of force has a different effect, involving both small and large muscles in the work. Do not forget about the basic exercises: pull-ups and push-ups, they should be present in the training process on an ongoing basis, as general strengthening.

Biceps exercises

Lifting the bar for biceps while standing


– Stand up straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead.
– Grasp the barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip.
– Fully straighten up, slightly arch your lower back and lower the bar to your hips. Look ahead. Tighten the muscles of the lower back and fix the natural curve of the spine.
– Take a deep breath, hold your breath, bending your elbows.
– While lifting the bar, do not move your elbows, keep them on the sides of the body.
– When the bar is at the top of the chest, stay in this position.
– Gently lower the bar down, but do not unbend your arms to the end, leaving tension.

When lifting the bar for the biceps while standing, you do not need to swing and help yourself with your body – this reduces the effectiveness of the exercise, transferring part of the load to the back and chest.

Standing bicep curls can be done with a curved barbell to reduce stress on the wrists.

Lifting the bar for biceps while standing.

Lifting the bar for biceps while standing.

Lifting dumbbells for biceps

The exercise is performed by rotating the hands outward while lifting the dumbbells, which allows you to include auxiliary muscles in the work and increases the effectiveness of the impact.

– Sit on a bench and take dumbbells in your hands. The palms should be directed towards you inward.
– Inhale deeply and raise the dumbbells until your forearm is parallel to the floor.
– Next, begin to rotate your wrist, turning your palm up.
– Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Elbows should be fixed (do not spread them apart), and shoulders are perpendicular to the floor.

During dumbbell lifts, do not swing or help with the movement of the torso – this reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

Lifting the barbell on Scott’s bench

Scott Bench Curl works the long (outer) and short (inner) heads of the biceps. To reduce stress on your wrists, use a curved barbell.

– Sit on a bench and rest the surface of the entire foot on the floor. Take a barbell with an underhand grip, place your forearms on the floor parallel to each other.
– In the starting position, the arms are lowered and almost straight. It is not necessary to unbend them to the end throughout the exercise.
– As you exhale, bend your arms, slightly without bringing the projectile to parallel with the floor. There should be space between the hands and shoulders. Hold on a little at the top.
– While inhaling, slowly return your arms to the starting position.

Barbell curls are performed without jerking. Do not help yourself with your torso and do not tear your elbows off the bench.

The exercise can be performed with different grips, this allows you to vary the load.

Lifting the barbell on the Scott bench.

Lifting the barbell on the Scott bench.

Triceps exercises

Close grip bench press

This variation of the bench press is aimed at pumping the triceps.

– Get into a supine position on a bench press. Should the shoulder blades be brought together, the buttocks touch the bench, the barbell should be at eye level.
– Feet stand firmly on the floor and do not move during the exercise.
– Grasp the barbell with a closed grip slightly narrower than your shoulders. Triceps also work with a medium grip, if you do not spread your elbows to the sides.
– Begin to bend your elbows and bring the projectile to chest level.
– Then, unbending your elbows, squeeze the bar up to the starting position.

The bar slowly lowers down as you inhale, and as you exhale, it quickly goes up. Shoulders and elbows work close to the body.

French press

The French press is performed with a narrow grip.

– You need to lie on the bench with your back.
– Remove the bar from the rack or take it from the hands of a partner.
– Depending on the technique for performing the French press, the arms are bent at the elbows and the bar is brought to the top of the head or to the forehead.
– Then the arms should be fully extended.

The elbows are stable and do not spread apart during the press. Use a curved barbell to reduce stress on your wrists.

french press.

French press.

Push-ups on uneven bars

– In the starting position, your body is vertical, you hold on to the handles of the simulator with straight arms. At the top point, the elbows are turned back.
– After inhaling, slowly lower yourself down as far as your shoulders allow. Focus on a 90-degree angle at the elbows. During movement, the elbows are turned back and pressed to the body.
– On the exhale, due to the extension at the elbows, rise up. If the exercise is given to you with great difficulty, perform the exercise on the Gravitron simulator or use rubber bands.

Push-ups on bars.

Push-ups on uneven bars.

Keep your hands close to your body. Don’t fully straighten up on every rep, this technique is often used to pump the triceps, but it is traumatic.

Each athlete is not immune from the effect of a plateau on the way to the desired result. The main thing is to understand in time the reason for stopping progress and do everything to eliminate the negative reasons. Pay attention not only to training, but also to the theoretical aspect and the need for recovery, and the body of your dreams will become a reality.

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