Wesley Vissers’ Top 3 Exercises to Build Golden Era Biceps

The reigning Arnold Classic Physique champion Wesley Vissers has taken it upon himself to divulge his secrets for sculpting biceps reminiscent of classic bodybuilders of the sport’s Golden Era. While many bodybuilders boast sizable arms, the distinct Golden Era biceps of the ‘80s, renowned for their peak and width, remain elusive to most. 

In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Vissers shared his top three exercises for biceps development, along with detailed instructions on how to execute them for effective results.

[Related: The Best Biceps Exercises + Workouts to Try During Your Next Arm Day]

Vissers’ 3 Top Biceps Exercises 

Biceps Cable Curl

Concentration Curl

Hammer Curl

Biceps Cable Curl

Vissers sets the pulley at hip height for cable curls to train the biceps in their lengthened position. He performs reps standing and facing away from the cable stack.

“The contraction has minimal tension”, Vissers says. There is more tension at the stretch; better growth…more stimulus.”

Read more about training a muscle in its lengthened position in our article about long-length partial reps. This training technique has you perform reps in the bottom half of an exercise when the muscle is most stretched. New research has shown that more muscle growth can occur in a muscle’s most lengthened state.

Vissers performs 12-20 repetitions across two to three sets. Since the biceps are a smaller muscle group, Vissers doesn’t train them to excessive strain, but he does train them to failure as they induce minimal fatigue.

Concentration Curl

Vissers performs concentration curls emulating Arnold Schwarzenegger — standing reps. Vissers works in the 12-20 rep range for two to three sets, pushing to near failure for maximum stimulus.

Hammer Curl

Vissers advocates a traditional approach to hammer curls, utilizing dumbbells to target the brachialis. He maintains a natural arm position with a slight hip hinge to prevent elbow discomfort.

Vissers ensures completes hammer curls through his full range of motion. He sticks to two to three sets within a 12-20 rep range, performing the exercise unilaterally and beginning with the weaker arm. This helps in correcting muscle imbalances between the arms.

[Related: The Best Dumbbells For Any Budget and Fitness Goal]

Vissers shares techniques for effectively training forearms during hammer curls: maintain a straight wrist to maintain stimulus on the forearms. “Keep the wrist straight on the forearm to ensure forearm contraction,” he says.

Vissers’ Biceps Training Tips

Here’s how Vissers optimizes his biceps training:

Train Back First to Warm-Up

Vissers prefer training biceps after a back workout. His back training mainly features compound exercises, effectively warming up the biceps.

Train at an Extended Muscle Length

Vissers explains that muscle growth accelerates with heightened tension in the lengthened position. The science supports his take: enhanced [biceps and brachialis] adaptation, including size augmentation, occurs when performing exercises at extended muscle lengths. (1)

Increase Training Frequency 

Vissers recommends distributing numerous sets throughout the week rather than condensing them into a single training session. He performs approximately four to six working sets during each biceps session.

Focus on the Short Biceps Head & Brachialis

Vissers prioritizes training the short biceps head (outer head) as the short head offers a more pronounced biceps peak.

Vissers explains that the brachialis visually enhances the width of biceps when viewed from the front. Located between the biceps and triceps, the brachialis, when developed, exerts outward pressure on the biceps, thus increasing their apparent width.

Use Proper Form

Maintaining proper form when training biceps may require using lighter weights. Heavier curls often lead to surrounding muscles compensating, which detracts from the training’s effectiveness. The objective is to isolate the biceps as much as possible.

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Sato, S., Yoshida, R., Kiyono, R., Yahata, K., Yasaka, K., Nunes, J. P., Nosaka, K., & Nakamura, M. (2021). Elbow Joint Angles in Elbow Flexor Unilateral Resistance Exercise Training Determine Its Effects on Muscle Strength and Thickness of Trained and Non-trained Arms. Frontiers in physiology, 12, 734509. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.734509

Featured image: @wesleyvissers on Instagram

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