What’s the Best Tempo for Working Your Biceps Muscles?


What’s the Best Tempo for Working Your Biceps Muscles?

Having strong, toned biceps has advantages. You can do so much more when your arms are strong – like lift heavy boxes. Plus, your arms look fantastic in a tank top or anytime you wear a sleeveless shirt or dress. Defined arms show the world that you do, indeed, work out and care about your physique. So, how can you get more definition in those “guns?”

The great thing about working your biceps is you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it to see results. That’s because you also give your biceps a workout when you do compound exercises like rows, deadlifts, and push-ups. Being a small muscle group, you don’t have to hammer your biceps to death to get them stronger and more defined. A number of compound exercises recruit your biceps muscles but they also need a little isolation work, exercises that specifically target and exhaust the biceps.

As you know, there are a mind-boggling number of bicep curl variations. Here are some that you probably do now or have done in the past:

·       Standard curls
·       Reverse curls
·       Concentration curls
·       Hammer curls
·       Preacher curls
·       Standing and seated dumbbell curls
·       Incline dumbbell curls
·       Decline dumbbell curls
·       Zottman curls


You can even change the stimulus on your biceps by switching out dumbbells for a barbell or EZ Curl bar or by grabbing a pair of resistance bands. Changing your hand position, your grip, and the angle at which you curl are other elements you can change. As you can see, biceps curls are a versatile exercise with lots of variations!

What Temp0 Should You Use?

Another element you can vary is the tempo that you curl. Most people use a standard tempo when they do curls – 2 seconds for the concentric or upward portion and 2 seconds for the eccentric or downward phase of the curl. Tempo is described numerically by four numbers:

·       First number: The eccentric portion of the move. For biceps, the lowering of the weight.

·       Second number: The length of the pause at the top.

·       Third number: The concentric portion of the move. For biceps, the raising of the weight toward the chest.

·       Fourth number: The length of the pause at the bottom.


You express the tempo as a number with a dash in-between. For a standard biceps curl with no pause at the top or bottom, the tempo would be written 2-0-2-0. If added a one second pause at the top and bottom, it would be 2-1-2-1.

The standard tempo works well, especially when you’re first starting out. However, your biceps muscles will eventually adapt and you’ll need to change things up. Before increasing the resistance, why not alter the tempo of the reps to work the biceps differently?

To alter the tempo, you have two options. You can speed up the tempo of curls or slow it down. You hear a lot about

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