You can strengthen your biceps and upper chest with just one sweat session a week. If your focus is on building these muscles, you must exert maximum effort when performing targeted exercises. The American Council on Exercise recommends three to six sets of six to 12 repetitions with a 30- to 90-second rest in between sets to allow for muscle growth, or hypertrophy. You should completely fatigue the muscle at the end of each set of exercises.
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
If you are only going to work your upper chest and biceps once a week, then it’s best to challenge yourself with weighted movements. Sit down on an incline bench and lie back. Grasp dumbbells in each hand and bring them up to shoulder height on the sides of your chest. The dumbbells should be in line with your chest and your palms facing forward. Push straight up to full extension and then lower back to shoulder height to complete one repetition.
Dumbbell Incline Fly
The incline dumbbell fly targets both the upper chest and biceps, so you can simultaneously strengthen two muscles. Lie back on an incline bench and begin with the arms above you with a slight bend holding a dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbells should be vertically aligned with palms facing together. Lower dumbbells to your sides until you feel a chest stretch and then bring them back up to the starting position to complete one repetition.
Dumbbell Incline Curl
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The dumbbell incline curl works to specifically target the biceps muscle while using the shoulders for stabilization. As with the incline fly, lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should be hanging down on each side of you with the palms facing the bench. Lift the arms up while simultaneously rotating the palms inward until they reach the chest. Slowly lower back to the start position to finish one repetition.
The barbell curl is an isolated exercise that targets the biceps with a pulling movement. Load each side of the barbell with the appropriate weight amount. Pick up the bar by bending your knees and make sure that your palms are facing outward. Stand with your shoulders rolled back and the barbell resting against your body. Slowly pull the bar up to your chest and make sure your elbows locked to your sides throughout the entire movement. Lower back down to the starting position to complete one repetition.
Standing Biceps Stretch
Begin the last portion of your once-a-week workout with this standing stretch for your biceps and shoulders. Sit down with the soles of the feet planted on the ground. Push your arms behind you and ground the hands into the ground with the finger pointed away from you. Pull your body away from your arms to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat as many times as necessary to release tension in the muscles.
Doorway Chest Stretch
To release the tension in the muscles you have worked, perform a doorway chest stretch. Find a doorway or the end of a wall and stand against the edge. Bring your arm up into a bent 90-degree angle and push against the wall or doorway while you pull the body in the opposite direction. Stretch for 30 seconds and switch sides.
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
- ExRx.net: Doorway Chest Stretch
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Incline Fly
- ExRx.net: Barbell Curl
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Incline Curl
- ExRx.net: Standing Biceps Stretch
- American Council on Exercise: When Strength Training, Is it Better to Do More Reps with Lighter Weights or Fewer Reps with Heavier Weights?
Maggie Young studied journalism at the University of Kansas and is now an online editor for a publishing company. She has interned at "Parents" magazine, "Glamour" magazine and MensFitness.com. In college, Young started an online campus chapter of "HerCampus" magazine and served as the editor. She has been writing professionally since 2009.