Last updated on November 16th, 2022 at 01:14 pm
So, you want to know the ideal Bicep Curl to Tricep Extension Ratio.
You know that if you want a great set of arms then you’ll need to train both biceps and triceps.
Plus, biceps curls and tricep extensions are two of the best exercises to achieve this.
However, if you’ve ever tried to lift the same weight for both exercises you’ve probably struggled.
This leaves you wondering whether you have a muscle imbalance or if you should actually be lifting more weight with one exercise than the other.
So, allow me to reveal what you need to know about your bicep curl to tricep extension ratio.
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Bicep Curl to Tricep Extension Ratio
The Bicep Curl to Tricep Extension Ratio that you should aim for is 1:1.6. Therefore, if you can bicep curl 100lbs you should be able to do tricep extensions with 160lbs. The biceps and triceps are typically equal in strength, although the triceps have three heads, whereas the biceps only have two. Therefore, the larger tricep muscle typically means you should be able to lift more weight.
The Bicep Curl to Tricep Extension Ratio to Aim For
If you’re looking for a specific bicep curl to tricep extension ratio to aim for, it should be 1:1.6.
This means that you should effectively be using 1.6 times the weight for tricep extensions.
So, if you’re able to bicep curl 100lbs, you should be able to do tricep extensions with 160lbs.
This will also explain why you’re struggling if you’ve been using the same weight for both exercises.
However, I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s perhaps your tricep extensions that are falling behind.
Basically, your tricep extensions aren’t living up to their side of the bargain, and you’re typically able to perform bicep curls with more weight.
There are actually specific reasons why your bicep curl is stronger.
And indeed, there are also specific reasons why you should actually be using more weight for tricep extensions.
So, I’ll cover those in more detail now.
Biceps & Triceps – Strength vs. Size
In truth, your biceps and triceps should actually be the same strength.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should be able to lift the same amount of weight.
Firstly, although the tricep is a single muscle it has three heads, namely the medial, lateral, and long head.
But, the bicep, which is also a single muscle, has two heads, the short head and the long head.
Therefore, the tricep is actually the bigger muscle.
In fact, your triceps take up approximately two-thirds of your upper arm.
So, it stands to reason that the bigger muscle should be able to lift more weight.
However, as I’ve mentioned, this is rarely the case.
If we initially look at an untrained individual, it’s likely their biceps are stronger than their triceps.
You won’t generally use your triceps that much in everyday life.
This will involve pushing yourself up from either a sitting or lying position.
Plus, even something like pushing a door open will involve the triceps, although the pecs and delts are also involved.
But, when it comes to the biceps, most of us use them much more on a daily basis.
Every time you pick something up, carry something, or pull something, you’ll activate your biceps.
So, the biceps are getting much more of a “workout” without you probably realising it.
Once you enter the gym environment, things do seem to change.
In fact, most regular gym-goers typically focus much more on their pushing muscles than their pulling muscles.
Probably one of the most popular exercises in the gym is the bench press, and many lifters seem to perform the bench press much more than any other exercise.
Okay, I’ll admit that biceps curls probably come a close second.
However, without the additional use of pulling exercises, e.g. rows and pull ups, etc. it can be difficult for the biceps to grow.
Well, in truth, bicep growth has as much to do with weight gain as it does with training.
With that being said, with this type of training your biceps are likely to be better developed than your triceps.
And this is because you have explicitly trained your biceps, whereas the triceps are stimulated as a secondary muscle.
In other words, many people seem to specifically train biceps, but not so much their triceps.
And it is this that generally causes muscle and strength imbalances between the two upper arm muscles.
Focus More on Triceps For Bigger Arms
Something that should be becoming more obvious now is that if you want big arms then you should focus more on your triceps.
In truth, the bicep is typically seen as the more “sexy” muscle of the two.
Plus, we can all see our biceps, as they’re on the front of the body.
So, often it’s a case of, as you can’t see your triceps directly they don’t receive as much training stimulation.
However, this is a massive mistake to make.
This will also explain why not many people actually get to the bicep curl to tricep extension ratio of 1:1.6.
Personally, I have learned to focus on performing pulling exercises twice as much as pushing exercises.
And this is actually a good ratio for most of us to aim for.
Having a strong, well-developed back will not only make your physique more aesthetically-pleasing, but it is also vital for your posture and overall health.
Plus, something I’ve noticed with all this pulling is that I don’t need to train my biceps that much to produce great gains.
In fact, I rarely perform more than 6-8 sets of bicep exercises each week.
Now, while I regularly perform pushing exercises, such as bench press, overhead press, dips, etc. I also specifically train the triceps with approximately 10-12 sets per week.
So, I perform twice as much pulling as pushing for the big compound exercises.
But, for the smaller muscles, i.e. biceps and triceps, I typically perform almost twice as many tricep exercises as bicep ones.
And in terms of your upper body development I would suggest that you aim for the same type of training ratios too.
5 Mistakes People Make on Arm Day
So, as you can see, the ideal bicep curl to tricep extension ration is 1:1.6.
Therefore, if you’re able to do bicep curls with 100lbs, you should be able to perform tricep extensions with 160lbs.
However, for most individuals this is very rarely the case.
In fact, quite often gym-goers find that they’re able to lift more weight on their bicep curls.
This typically comes down to focusing more on bicep training than tricep training.
Then again, even an untrained individual will typically use their biceps more on a daily basis than their triceps.
Nevertheless, the tricep is the bigger muscle of the two, and therefore deserves more of your training attention.
Here’s something you may have noticed yourself, especially when performing bicep curls. But, have you ever noticed that some dumbbells feel heavier than others (which are apparently the same weight)?
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.