Arms, particularly the biceps, are one of those body parts that either grow easily, or are incredibly stubborn and difficult to gain size. Everyone wants big biceps, but not everyone can seem to grow them. The internet is full of all kinds of routines that aim to build a cannon ball biceps and no shortage of people trying to see if they can get their biceps to grow. The problem is, these folks are relying on one of the smallest muscle in the upper arm structure to do all the talking. While the triceps make up about 70% of the upper arm mass, there’s other underlying muscles, beside the biceps, that can help the cause, but no one pays attention to them. They just want big arms.
It was 1982, but I remember its like it was yesterday. “You want to put an inch on your arms almost immediately?” Not yet Mr. Olympia (he won the next year) Samir Bannout asked me in Gold's Gym one day. Silly question, I thought. Surely it was rhetorical, so I just stared at him. “You have to do hammer curls, across the body, like this.” He grabbed a 30 pound dumbbell and held it to his side. “No one dose these,” He said. “When you curl your arm with your hand down, like you hold a hammer,” he curled the dumbbell up, “the biceps are no longer the primary mover because this bone,” he pointed to the radius bone of the forearm where the biceps inserts,” is turned down and takes the biceps tendon out of a straight line, making it weak. It's this muscle under the biceps, the brachialis,” he pointed to a baseball sized hemisphere poking out of his upper arm between the biceps and triceps,” that is now in a straight line down the top of your arm and the strongest in that position. “If you develop this muscle it will push the biceps up and give you a greater peak.” This was rare commentary in 1982 and Samir had some of the best guns in the business. So, really, there is no argument against hammer curls. You might as well learn to do them.
How it's done:
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them to your sides, palms facing in. Alternately, curl each dumbbell up like you're swinging a hammer across your chest.
As the dumbbell rises to the top of your opposite pec, squeeze it to a halt and then slowly lower it back to your side. Repeat with the other arm, alternating 10 – 12 reps a side.
In the down position, the weight should slowly come to rest against a flexed triceps. Maintain tension in the arm that's not working and don't swing the dumbbells like you're hammering in drywall nails, unless you want a searing case of tendonitis in your forearms.
Done correctly and consistently, you will notice a measurable difference in your arms in just a few weeks!!