Lee Banks’ High-Yield Biceps Workout
IFBB Pro Lee Banks has one of the most impressive sets of arms in the industry. Here is his strategy and training routine for building biceps that peak like Mount Everest!
By Lara McGlashan, MFA, CPT
Lee’s 5 Tips for Bigger Biceps
1) I split my arm training into two separate days because my triceps have a tendency to overpower my biceps. Splitting them up means I can focus on giving my biceps the attention they need to get thicker and more detailed.
2) Strict movement is essential when training biceps. They’re a small muscle group that can be easily assisted by the back and shoulders if you’re not careful. Pay close attention to your form. You might even try a few light sets to better isolate the muscle.
3) Squeezing the muscle at the peak of a movement and forcing a slow negative helps me push blood into the biceps, stretching the muscle and skin and bringing in nutrients to assist in rebuilding what has just been broken down. Over time this equals growth, and while it may be painful and uncomfortable, it’s absolutely necessary for building size!
4) Sometimes I don’t use full-range-of-motion reps for biceps. Specifically, when the weight is balanced over the wrist and elbow, there’s a tendency for the muscle to relax when using free weights. So I like to stop the rep just before that point and squeeze so the muscle stays under constant tension.
5) I like to use cables at the end of my workout, and that’s a tip I got from Ronnie Coleman. His theory is to use free weights to develop maximal muscle mass, then cables afterward to help carve in that detail. Ronnie had great biceps, so I try to follow his example.
Lee’s Biceps Routine
EZ-Bar Curl 3 Sets x 12, 12, 12 Reps
Supinated Concentration Curl 3 Sets x 8, 6, 5
Rope Hammer Curl 3 Sets x 20, 18, 15
One-Arm Standing Cable Curl 3 Sets x 20, 20, 20
Straight-Bar Cable Curl 3 Sets x 20, 20, 20
Start: Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees unlocked, grasping the bar at the bends using an underhand grip. Draw your shoulders back and lock your elbows by your sides.
Movement: Contract your biceps to curl the bar in a smooth arc toward your shoulders, keeping your wrists locked and your shoulders back. Squeeze your bi’s at the peak-contracted position before slowly lowering to the start.
Lee’s Lesson: “The biceps are a small muscle group and require strict form to better isolate them, so sometimes I stand with my back against a wall to make sure I don’t use momentum or swing the bar to help get it up.”
Power Pointer: Changing your grip width from the inner to outer bends of the bar does more than provide wrist relief; a wider grip also better targets the short (inner) head.