All of us wish to have attractive physiques but most of us don’t have the discipline or the knowledge to achieve it. Bodybuilder Brett Wilkin made the job a little bit easier for us by sharing some insightful information on biceps training.
Brett Wilkin’s career trajectory has been rather interesting. He earned the IFBB Pro card in the Classic Physique division by winning the 2018 Junior National Championships. However, ‘The Butcher’ never competed in the division professionally. He made the pro debut in the 212 division but lackluster performances at the 2019 Puerto Rico Pro and the 2019 Toronto Pro Supershow prompted him to reevaluate the way forward.
Wilkin took time off from competition and worked on improving his physique during the extended break. He returned as a Men’s Open competitor and impressed the bodybuilding community with the overwhelming progress at the 2021 Chicago Pro, finishing second. In spite of high expectations heading into the 2022 Arnold Classic, Wilkin could only secure a sixth place at the show. A runner-up finish at the 2022 Romania Muscle Fest Pro concluded the 2022 competitive season for him as Wilkin did not have enough points to qualify for the 2022 Olympia.
However, he registered a thumping victory at the 2022 Bigman Weekend Pro, becoming one of the early competitors to qualify for the 2023 Olympia. He now trains with renewed vigor under ‘Hypertrophy Coach’ Joe Bennett’s guidance with the goal to secure a top ten finish in his Olympia debut.
Recently, Wilkin shared his list of five best biceps exercises on his YouTube channel to help fitness enthusiasts and budding bodybuilders achieve their fitness goals. So let’s check out the list to see how Wilkin has built those massive arms.
Brett Wilkin shares five best biceps exercises
Biceps are one of the most important muscle groups for appearance as well as function. But developing this small muscle is easier said than done. It requires time commitment and knowledge to get the biceps that look good and function at the elite level. Brett Wilkin made the job a little bit easier by sharing some of his go-to exercises and training tips to build the biceps.
Standing Cable Curls
Jumping right into heavy exercises without a warm-up is a recipe for disaster and training related injuries. Brett Wilkin addressed this issue in the beginning and shared standing cable curls as the first important biceps exercise. Cable machines put uniform stress on the muscles and help them warm up sufficiently for an intense training day. Additionally, they are a good alternative for warming up crucial joints like elbows.
“Main focus is just on that bicep head with no cheating. This cable unit is awesome because it creates that tension all the way through the bottom and then all the way through the top. So constant tension on the biceps, a lot of blood, a lot of pre-exhaust and we’ll keep moving into the bigger ones,” Wilkin stated.
Single Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls
Preacher curls are hailed by many as the king of bicep exercises. They isolate the biceps muscles better than most other movements. Therefore it’s no wonder that they find a place in Brett Wilkin’s list of best biceps exercises. Wilkin explained the key to getting the most out of this exercise and said:
“I want to solely use that bicep head obviously. So how do you do that is you want to elbow drive back into the pad. So I’m driving back into the pad and at the same time I am curling up.”
Since the pad is a stationary object and we drive our elbow into it during curling, the bicep is the only muscle that gets activated according to Wilkin. ‘The Butcher’ advised to lower the dumbbell at a slow pace to create more tension in the biceps.
“The main thing is you don’t need too much (weight) here if you’re doing it right. So it’s the big squeeze with the drive and then the slow release letting it go out really stretching that bicep,” Wilkin concluded.
Hammer Strength Preacher Curls
Once again, the machine variation of preacher curl helps put constant tension on the muscles throughout the full range of motion. This helps tremendously in bodybuilding where muscle hypertrophy is the primary goal.
But working with a method that Wilkin calls ‘Partner Resistance’ can help with making gains. In this training style, Wilkin typically works his way to the top set. After this, the person holds the weight at the end of the concentric phase while a training partner tries to pull the weight down, adding more resistance to the person doing an exercise.
“This is just working that eccentric portion, that lengthening phase with resistance,” Wilkin explained.
Cable Curls – 21s Set
The next bicep exercise on Brett Wilkin’s list is not necessarily a unique exercise but a training method known as 21s set. This method involves breaking down a set of 21 reps into three parts of seven reps each. For the first seven reps, the person is expected to perform partial reps conforming to the bottom half range of motion. The next seven reps are the partials at the top half range of motion. The last seven reps are full reps with a complete range of motion from bottom to top.
“I just love this because you really slow it down and you feel each rep. So you’re not hurting through this, you’re not throwing your back in it – you’re staying strict. You’re really feeling that each curl and you finish it off with seven really hard full motion reps,” Wilkin concluded.
Reverse Grip Cable Curls
Big biceps and skinny forearms are not really a beautiful combination to look at. The last exercise in Wilkin’s list addresses this problem with slight modifications to the cable curls. Reverse grip cable curls put more emphasis on the brachialis and the Brachioradialis muscles in the arm to get strong and muscular forearms.
“We’re trying to be symmetrical here… Triceps matching the biceps matching the forearms. So this is going to tie it all together,” Wilkin stated.
The 35-year-old advices doing this exercise when you are tired and want to get the final bit of forearm pump before heading home.
To summarize, the five best biceps exercises according to Brett Wilkin are:
- Standing Cable Curls
- Single Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls
- Hammer Strength Preacher Curls
- Cable Curls – 21s Set
- Reverse Grip Cable Curls
In spite of being one of the highly touted prospects in the IFBB Pro League, Brett Wilkin has not been able to produce a breakout performance so far. However, the 2023 Olympia qualification has given him all the incentive in the world to perform to the best of his abilities and take his career to the next level. It will be interesting to see how he performs at the 2023 Olympia.
You can watch the full video here, courtesy of Brett Wilkin’s personal YouTube channel: