Is Training Biceps Twice A Week Enough?


The biceps are some of those muscles that everyone want to fill out the sleeves of their shirt. But how much time do you have to spend growing them? Here’s what you have to know. 

Two workouts with direct biceps a week is enough to see muscle growth provided the resistance, amount of sets and repetitions is enough to give a growth impulse to the body. 3-4 Bicep workouts a week could lead to slightly more growth but you start seeing diminishing returns.

For more information on how to train your biceps to grow them efficiently, keep reading below. 

What’s Your Goal?

“Enough” is very subjective. Enough for what? Enough to grow the biceps? Enough to maintain muscle? Enough to get stronger? 

It’s a good idea to think about what your training goals are. What your goals are does impact how you should train. You can train for athletic performance, strength or size and the training styles for all the goals will be different.

For most people, the goal of working out a specific muscle is to grow it so that’s what I’m going to assume from here on out. 

Is Training Biceps Twice a Week Enough For Muscle Growth?

So let’s say you want to grow your biceps. That is why most people target their biceps directly anyways. Most people want to have the impressive physique and big arms are a big part of that. Nothing wrong with that just don’t forget the other muscles. Anyways, is two workouts a week enough to grow your biceps? 

Two workouts with direct biceps a week is enough to see muscle growth provided the resistance, amount of sets and repetitions is enough to give a growth impulse to the body. 3-4 Bicep workouts a week could lead to slightly more growth but you start seeing diminishing returns. 

With more than 2 dedicated bicep workouts a week, you will also start cutting into the training time you can give to other body parts. You don’t want to be the person with big arms but nothing anywhere else. 

You also have to take into account that the biceps are used for many other exercises besides direct biceps exercises. Pretty much all pulling exercises use the biceps to complete the movement. For pulling exercises the target muscles might be the back or rear delta but you can’t do them without using the biceps. That means they do get some stimulation if you follow a full body workout routine, even before targeting the biceps directly.

In absolute beginners, doing pulling exercises is often enough to grow the biceps even without having to do any direct bicep exercises. However, after you’re not an absolute beginner anymore, some direct bicep work is necessary for gaining muscle.

Since you’re already using the biceps for pulling exercises, you can add on a biceps workout after a workout where you train back/ do a lot of pulling exercises. That way you can skip the warm up sets and save some time. I would recommend doing it at the end of the workout otherwise you might not be able to properly do the pulling exercises. 

Suggested: Is training biceps every day OK?

Amount Of Workouts And Training Volume

As you might understand from above that two bicep workouts (with bicep isolation exercises) is enough to build muscle. One more workout a week might help you grow more but you’ll notice diminishing returns and potential recovery issues. More than 3 workouts a week is going to be problematic for many people if you do a decent amount of volume per workout. 

Suggested: How to train biceps at home without equipment

One thing to understand is that the amount of workouts doesn’t say much. Compare two people working out the same body part in any gym and there will be big differences in amount of sets, repetitions, weight and effort. Working out a body part twice a week by lifting just your arms twice a week isn’t going to be enough for anything. Even doing that every day of the week isn’t going to do anything because that’s not something your body isn’t used to so there is no need to adept. However, if you use heavy weights (for you), perform 8 heavy bicep sets aside from warmups and do that twice a week, you’ll see results. 

So what do you actually need to grow your biceps?

There are four main factors you should get right;

  • Exercise selection
  • Amount of sets
  • Amount of repetitions per set
  • Resistance
  • Progression

Exercise selection

As said above, there are many exercises that use the biceps. Most pulling exercises will use the biceps. But to really grow the biceps, you have to do some isolation exercises on top of that. 

The biceps bend the elbows so that’s exactly what you have to do to isolate the biceps. There are still a ton of different ways to do that though. Use a selection of 3-4 different exercises that directly target and isolate the biceps. 

Sets

4 heavy sets per workout is considered the minimum effective dose of volume for biceps. On the other hand it’s also not recommended to do more than 12 heavy sets per workout. With two workouts a week, you should probably do about 10 heavy sets for optimal growth. With three workouts limiting the amount of heavy sets to 8 per workout is better. If you do more than that, recovery could become a problem. If you don’t recover fully before the next workout, the extra work can be detrimental. 

Find out more about the optimal amount of sets here.

Repetitions

Biceps should be trained with 5-20 repetitions per set, like most other muscles. Lower repetitions (with higher weight) tends to build more strength while higher repetitions (with less resistance) build more muscle. 

Most people work out in the 10-15 rep range. This provides a balance between strength and muscle building. Of course you have to adjust the weight used for the rep range.

What you can do is to do two different workouts: One workout with heavy weights and low repetitions and one workout with lighter weights but high repetitions. 

Resistance

The last part of the puzzle is the weight or resistance to use. Most people will use dumbbells or barbells to work out the biceps but DIY solutions, bodyweight or resistance bands are also an option. In the end it doesn’t matter that much what you use, it’s all about how difficult it is for your to move that weight. 

You want to use a resistance level/weight that you can complete the wanted amount of repetitions in a set with while keeping about 2-3 repetitions in reserve. Don’t go to failure on every set or even the last set of every exercise. 

This means you have to balance between the weight being heavy enough to be challenging but not too heavy so you can’t finish all the sets. It’s a fine line that will take a while to find. 

Progression

Possibly the most important thing for getting sustained muscle growth is progression. Muscle growth is the bodies way of adapting to the stress of the last workouts. That means the next workout should be a bit heavier than the last one to give the body a new level to adapt to. 

The easiest way to do that is to add a small amount of weight to the exercises every workout. In the beginning, this will be pretty easy although after a while, adding weight becomes more difficult. Trying to increase the amount of repetitions can also be a good way to progress if a weight increase isn’t possible. 

Matt

Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. I've been going to the gym for about 15 years and am now looking to build my own. In the process I've learned many things I'd like to share with you.

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