Gymnast Biceps: The DIRTY Secret To MASSIVE Arms! (2024)

You ever seen the biceps on a male gymnast and wondered to yourself “How the hell?”.

Many of these male gymnasts quite literally have BETTER bicep development and even size than a LOT of pro bodybuilders even without using weights!

Today, I’m going to show you why this happens, and how YOU can take advantage starting IMMEDIATELY.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Why Are Male Gymnast Biceps So Big?

male gymnast doing pull ups on rings

Before we get into how to get some big biceps, we need to understand WHY they have such great development from their gymnastics routine in the first place.

To be honest, I’ve scoured the internet and have seen people give their opinions as to why they think male gymnasts have such huge biceps, and there are some good theories…

Some say it’s the rope climbing or other movements like the iron cross and other straight arm exercises, others say it’s because male gymnasts work their biceps more frequently, etc. etc. and to be fair, they’re ALL correct.

Let’s take a look at the differences between a small-armed novice bodybuilder, and a gymnast with big biceps:

Newb BodybuilderGymnast
Uses momentum on curl-based movementsUses their biceps to control their bodyweight
Mostly works biceps around 1 joint (The elbow)Works biceps around both the elbow AND shoulder joint
Minimal variation in trainingHolds planches, does chinups, etc.

Keep in mind, this isn’t the newb bodybuilder’s fault, as they likely had access to mostly mainstream knowledge (which SUCKS) about how to build big biceps.

But as you can see, there are quite a few key differences between how the two train.

Luckily, for those of us who want those MASSIVE arms for ourselves, implementing those keys is actually fairly easy.

Pull-Ups: The Key To Massive Biceps

So, how DO we get those MASSIVE arms? The easiest way in my opinion is to add an exercise which I’ve dubbed the gymnast curl, which I’ll explain here shortly.

If you remember from the table above, one of the keys to getting gymnast biceps, is working your biceps around both the elbow AND the shoulder joint.

For those of you who are fans of Mike Mentzer, he mentions that you need to work the biceps around BOTH joints for MAXIMUM muscle mass and development, and he’s right.

And again, to do this, we’re going to be adding an exercise into our routine called the gymnast curl, which is a variation of your standard chin-up/pull-up.

Gymnast Chinups For Biceps

Chin-ups are the best exercise for your biceps. Period.

Doing this variation of pull-ups for your biceps, allows you to not only work the bicep around both the elbow and shoulder joint, but also allows you to use a FUCK ton of weight for your biceps.

You have bench press as a compound exercise for the chest, and squats for the legs.

Chinups (when done properly) are a FANTASTIC compound exercise for your biceps.

As someone who’s been lifting for over a decade, I can tell you that the fastest I’ve EVER seen my biceps grow was when I added gymnast curls into my routine.

The Key Difference

former gymnast with big biceps

So, what’s the simple tweak to change from a basic chin-up to a great stimulus for the bicep? Here it is…

Don’t pull your body to the bar. Curl it instead.

The next time you do a chin-up, and your hands are on the bar, I want you to visualize the pull-up bar as a barbell, and CURL your body to the bar.

This means, don’t bring your elbows closer to your body as that’s more pulling and lat-focused.

Instead, keep your elbows where they are, and CURL your body to the bar.

It may take a few reps to really get a feel for it, but once you get it, you’re on the gains-train baby.

Once you get the feel for it, I recommend doing a few sets to absolute FAILURE.

This will really hammer in your mind what it feels like to do the gymnast curl properly, as well as the INSANE pump you’ll get from doing so.

Seriously, it will be a pump you’ve NEVER felt before, and after this session, I would recommend adopting an ACTUAL routine which we’ll get into now.

Workout Routine For Big Biceps

To get you started, I’m going to give you a basic routine that will allow you to make a TON of gains right off the bat.

At this point, I HIGHLY recommend getting my program Alpha Arms 2.0 which you can currently get as a free bonus to my flagship program The Aesthetics Blueprint.

In that program we go WAY more in-depth, taking you all the way from a complete beginner to having some of the craziest arms most people will ever see in their ENTIRE LIVES.

So again, I highly recommend getting it while it’s still available, but if you can’t or won’t, no worries because we’re still going to go in-depth here.

To do this, I’ll give two different workout routines:

  • Level I
  • Level II

Level 1 will be for people who are fairly new to working out in general, like around a year or so of lifting.

Level 2 will be for people who have been lifting for a few years at this point and already have a solid foundation of strength to build upon.

If you’re starting at level 1, no worries, follow that routine, until you’re strong enough to do level 2, and from there, just continue to make gains for a very long time.

Level I

If you’re just starting out with lifting, it will be VERY likely that you struggle to even do ONE gymnast curl with good form.

Instead of throwing you in the deep end, and hope you magically learn to swim, we’re going to make it just a TAD bit easier.

We want to make it so that you can still work your biceps in the hypertrophy rep range (10-12) rather than only one or two at a time.

Here’s the actual routine:

  • Gymnast Curls on Smith Machine 3×10-12
  • *Your Usual Bicep Routine

The benefit, of being on a smith machine is that you can PLACE YOUR FEET on the ground which is a HUGE advantage, allowing you to still perform a gymnast curl, but also being able to get FAR more reps in.

After that, you can continue on with your usual bicep routine if you so choose, although you may be too fatigued to do so.

Note: The addition of your usual bicep routine is under the assumption that your usual routine isn’t some CRAZY high-volume bullshit, as you don’t want to OVERTRAIN the biceps.

If your normal routine is already high-volume, I would recommend cutting it out altogether in favor of the gymnast curls.

Level II

Level 2 is fairly similar but instead of on a smith machine, we’re doing the REAL deal, and with the addition of some optional “death drops”.

Level 2 bicep routine:

  • Gymnast Curls 3×10-12 (Add weight if possible)
  • *Death Drop 3xFAILURE

Death drops is when you hold the contracted position of the gymnast curl (so elbow at roughly 90 degrees) for as LONG as you can.

Trust me, once you get to the point where you can add weight to gymnast curls and then combine that with “death drops” your biceps will literally grow as if you were Arnold in his prime.

As a side note, you can also add in some other gymnast exercises at the end like performing the iron cross or planches with straight arms to really give your biceps that extra push.

Also, if you want some extra sleeve-busting potential, make sure to toss in some hammer curls to hit your biceps brachii as well.

Bonus Tips & Tricks

olympic gymnast biceps

I’m going to break down some extra tips and tricks that you can use to maximize your biceps gains and development.

Keep in mind, these tips and tricks assume that you already have your diet and recovery down PAT, as those are the ULTIMATE “quick tips”.

However, assuming you’ve got those down or read the article, and are on your way to make those changes, here are some tips that will add rocket fuel to your journey.

Utilize these tips to build massive biceps:

  • Utilize Gymnast Rings
  • Minimize Forearm Engagement
  • Develop Mind-Muscle Connection

Combing these tips and tricks along with the routine listed above, will produce truly outstanding results and I highly encourage to give it all a try and see for yourself.

From my own personal experience, for the longest time my biceps were one of my weak points until I started implementing the advice in this article, and in my program Alpha Arms 2.0.

And since then, my biceps have been growing so fast, that I often have to SKIP training them, as they were getting out of proportion with the rest of my physique.

Utilize Gymnast Rings

Gymasnt rings are another little cheat code on top of a movement that ALREADY feels like a cheat code.

Ideally, you’d combine both gymnast rings AND a standard pull-up bar for your gymnast curls.

The reason why using gymnast rings is key however, is they allow you to FULLY supinate the arm which has been shown in studies done by the NCBI to be a key component of total bicep activation and development. [R]

Additionally, this is also where you can take advantage of some straight arm exercises, again, like the iron cross.

Minimize Forearm Engagement

Most people aren’t aware of this, but when it comes to ANY bicep exercise, forearms PREFER to dominate a large part of the movement.

I’d go so far as to say, that some people even work their forearms MORE than their biceps on curls which is unfortunate to say the least.

To counteract this, you’re going to want to minimize forearm engagement as much as possible.

To do this, you’re going to want to do 2 things:

  • If you’re curling, only squeeze the weight just enough to keep it from falling out of your hands
  • On every movement, bend your wrist backward to avoid “curling” the weight with your forearms

Just these two tips alone will do wonders for maximizing biceps activation and minimizing forearm domination.

And the best part is, is that you can apply these tips to EVERY bicep exercise.

Develop Mind Muscle Connection

If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog, then you know how much I hammer on developing PERFECT mind-muscle connection.

The truth is, most people are simply just lifting the weight, just trying to get from point A to point B.

And while for beginners this is acceptable, eventually you’re going to want to get to the next level and develop FULL control over every single fibre of muscle in your body.

Contract the weight up, don’t just lift it. A perfect mind-muscle connection is the secret to the physique of your DREAMS.

If you’re not there yet, that’s fine, but slowly improve it over time, by getting your mind INTO the muscle, and the results will be nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Gymnast Biceps: In Summary

gymnast biceps workout routine

Overall, I hope this article serves you on your journey to build some MASSIVE arms. The tips and advice in this article has helped me IMMENSELY and I know it can do the same for you too.

If you feel like this article was pretty easy to digest and you’re ready to take things to the NEXT LEVEL, and build the most INSANE arms that you are humanly capable of, then I highly recommend checking out Alpha Arms 2.0.

It’s currently a free bonus to my program The Aesthetics Blueprint which is designed to completely transform your physique by unveiling the secrets the fitness industry DOESN’T want you to know.

But don’t just take my word for it. If you do not get absolutely INSANE results in 60 days or less, simply shoot me an email and I’ll send your money back. No questions asked.

Anyways man, I hope you enjoyed the article and you found some useful information in it.

Feel free to contact me at matthewcarter@hardgainerbodybuilding.com or shoot me a DM on Instagram @realmatthewcarter and I’ll get back to you whenever I can.

Until next time!

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