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Former CrossFit Games mainstay Marcus Filly has adjusted his training over the last couple of years, moving away from the “for time” approach which often leads to compromised technique and towards a slowed-down, controlled focus on maintaining excellent form and the highest quality of contraction for muscle growth and everyday strength based on the principles of what he calls “functional bodybuilding.”
In a recent series of YouTube Shorts, Filly shares how this can be applied to building bigger, stronger biceps, by recommending specific exercise variations and tweaks for your technique. “When you go to do your strict pullup work, choose a neutral, narrow grip,” he begins, “and when you go to do bent over barbell rows, choose a supinated grip to target the biceps a bit more.”
When it comes to bicep curls, Filly recommends two specific curl variations: the cross body curl and the chest-supported hammer curl. “They’re going to help you build the brachialis portion of the bicep,” he explains. The brachialis is an important elbow flexor which sits below the bicep, and which you definitely don’t want to neglect in your arm day workouts: in addition to building strength here, working the brachialis helps contribute to a thicker-looking arm.
And as far as the classic dumbbell bicep curl is concerned, Filly advises alternating between three different hand positions—supinated, pronated, and neutral—in your workouts to get the maximum benefit by performing conventional curls, hammer curls, and reverse curls. “Make sure you’re getting all three in your training every single week,” says Filly. “This is going to help you build a full, well-rounded upper arm and forearm.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.