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The bicep peak is fascinating! It can make a huge difference to your physique.
If you read our guide on how to grow big arms, you will like this extra article on how to develop your bicep peaks. When getting into the gym, one of the first things most people want to do, (certainly guys) is to learn how to build cannonball biceps – who wouldn’t?
So what’s the secret to building your biceps to look their best?
The subject of building a good biceps peak is on every bodybuilding site, and there is a lot of information – and misinformation – out there.
Today, we’re going to delve deeper. This article aims to pick out the most valuable information and explore some of the things you will hardly find anywhere else!
Building your biceps peaks: the bad news
Genetics are the bad news.
You can grow your muscles but you can’t change their insertions.
If you have short biceps, you have short biceps. You won’t be able to change that. If they’re long, there is no way to make it short! You basically have to work with what you have.
Things like the angle of the muscle against the bone will change with lifting, but some people are built with different shapes. We need to make the most of them – not cry about not having perfect short/long bicep genetics.
If you have short biceps:
You are more likely to have a nice peak!
There is a gap between your forearms and biceps when you flex. This is the best position to be in if you want a peak. With short biceps you have less potential for the overall volume of the muscle. It will look bigger sooner and the peak will develop more easily, but it doesn’t fill out the whole length of your upper arm.
You just do not have as many fibers, or the same overlap with the elbow muscles, as in a long bicep. Obviously, this is a trade-off, as with many other things in bodybuilding!
If you have long biceps
You have the potential of developing a big and very full bicep.
Unfortunately, this might not look like you have a peak, because there is little gap between your forearms and biceps when flexing. It will also be a more stretched-out look when the bicep does peak.
This trades off with having a larger overall bicep mass due to the extra length. It will require more work to look as big, but the long-term gains potential is actually higher.
If your biceps aren’t short or long
You could be in a position where your biceps are in between long and short.
This is certainly a good position to be in. You can have this aspect of a good peak while showing some density. In any of these situations, there is one important thing to do.
It doesn’t come off as a strength or weakness, and the average bodybuilder can build a nice bicep peak. Being in the middle of the range means you’re never going to have to deal with extremes of insertions!
Building your biceps peak: the good news
Once you know your bicep shape, things get easier.
You just have to know what to do and train properly over time. Just like anywhere else, you can’t change the shape, but changing the size and working on specific areaswill do everything to build your bicep peaks!
Working on long biceps:
You are lucky to have huge biceps and a lot of muscle fibres there.
The bad side is that your peak might not be showing as much. As mentioned above, there is a specific area we can work on to make our biceps peak shine.
Training your brachialis intensively is probably your best shot!
First, if we look at the composition of the biceps, we can see that the biceps are above the brachialis – which is the muscle we actually want to grow in order to improve the biceps peaks.
In longer biceps, proper brachialis muscles are necessary to fill out the whole upper arm, giving the impression of bigger, fuller arms. Especially in clothes!
Why working on your brachialis helps develop the biceps peak
The simple answer is that this muscle is right underneath the biceps, so if you grow the brachialis it will then push the biceps upwards.
This is how you get the peak – it’s not that you can isolate a specific ‘peak zone’ in the biceps themselves. The muscle contracts along the whole length. Rather, it’s about gaining the mass around the muscle and building the proper profile by developing the whole upper arm.
Neglecting your brachialis only takes away from your bicep, makes them look shorter, and builds up your upper arm size.
Leaning your arms forward
This will be key to isolate the brachialis, as this deactivates the bicep and the brachialis is now the one working. You should also prioritize a neutral grip (palms facing each other), such as in hammer curls. This neutral position is controlled by the brachialis and offers a combination of bicep and brachialis gains at the same time.
A great exercise that we highly recommend to grow the brachialis is preacher curls with a hammer grip. This ensures you’re doing work with the brachialis through the whole range of the movement.
Your arm is brought forward and you are using a neutral grip – you are fully zoning in on your brachialis.
We also highly recommend Lat Pull downs with a neutral grip. This is a great movement where you should feel your brachialis. Don’t arch your back too much – you need to keep a proud chest but strong, active core.
Good technique will recruit the lats and lower traps anyway, but this neutral position will help strengthen the brachialis and biceps together. The same is true for other neutral-grip pulling exercises like neutral pull-ups/chin-ups.
Working on short biceps:
If you have short biceps, you want to build as much meat as possible with what you are given. You’ll probably have great peaks naturally, so the main thing to worry about is building the mass.
Using stretchy exercises and going within the right range of motion is key. Exercises like inclined curls are a must to develop the best gains – as it provides stretch-mediated training, which are perfect for muscle and strength gains.
Just be careful with how much you incline the bench and so you do not overstretch your biceps!
You might then want to slightly work on your brachialis, even though your muscle is already short and unlike with long biceps, its work might not be as important.
The brachialis can still help you get a better peak and a fuller look to your arms which compensates for your shorter biceps. It won’t be as important as for someone with longer arms, but why not make all the gains possible? That’s why we’re here!
You have to be lean
You also have to be lean – whatever kind of biceps you have – so your peaks show. In some cases, you might think you have long biceps when in fact, you might not see it but the gap is filled with too much fat and it makes it difficult to see your actual shape.
This is why you need to combine both size and conditioning. As you develop, you may realise that your “bad genetics” were just a combination of being small and having high bodyfat. You’ll only know what your biceps could look like when you max them out!
How lean should you be?
You will start knowing what your biceps is made of when you start reaching the 13 to 14% bodyfat! The lower you go the better to define what type of biceps you have.
After this article, you might also be interested in reading “Just want to look good with no gym? Only do forearms” to complete your full arms workout. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!