The Science Behind Bicep Growth: How Long Does it Take to Gain an Inch?

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It will take 6-12 weeks for your biceps to grow by an inch. On average, you will need to add 10lbs of lean muscle in order for your biceps to grow by an inch. So, in reality the question you should ask is “How long will it take you to gain 10lbs?” Depending on your training, nutrition, and quality of sleep, this typically takes 6-12 weeks.

You Need to Put on Weight For Your Biceps to Grow

"Muscle growth is a slow and steady process. It can take beginners 4-6 weeks to see noticeable bicep development, while experienced lifters might need 8-12 weeks with a well-designed program." - Partha Banerjee

Unfortunately, simply focusing on bicep training alone won’t give you the gains you hope for.

I’m not entirely sure where I first read or heard this, but it is said that you need to add 10lbs of lean muscle to your frame in order to grow the biceps by an inch.

Through personal experience, and the achievements of others, this actually seems to be true.

I initially thought the “10lbs for one inch of bicep size” was an urban myth, but there are too many coincidences which prove otherwise.

So, if you’re looking to just up your curling volume and hoping to hit new bicep peaks, I’ve got news for you.

It won’t work.

In fact, Lee Hayward states in his bicep specialization program that his “go-to” exercises to stimulate bicep growth are squats, chin ups, and dips.

Now, these aren’t exactly what you’d call “traditional” bicep exercises.

I mean, two of the exercises don’t even hit the biceps in any way.

However, this makes a great deal of sense if you look at it from the point of view of adding 10lbs of lean muscle per inch of bicep growth.

These 3 exercises are “big lifts” and will help to stimulate overall muscle growth.

Nutrition is Extremely Important For Bicep Growth

It makes perfect sense that if you need to add 10lbs of lean muscle to see one inch of bicep growth, then your nutrition needs to be on-point.

You need to eat enough to put on the required weight.

Plus, you need to eat sensibly to ensure that the additional calories convert to lean muscle and not body fat.

And let’s not forget that what you eat also needs to fuel your workouts.

It is perfectly possible to add 10lbs of lean muscle in just 6 weeks (or perhaps even less time) if you eat and train at the required levels.

That being said, for most of us it would be easier to achieve the desired results over a longer period, such as 12 weeks.

You Should Use a Variety of Training Protocols

In order to make your biceps grow by an inch you need focus and variety in your training.

All too often many of us either focus solely on volume or trying to lift as heavy as possible.

However, I think the best plan of attack is to include plenty of variety.

This doesn’t mean you need to be performing 100s of different bicep exercises on a weekly basis.

In fact, you could just train with no more than 2-3 exercises in order to stimulate the required growth.

For me, it’s more about the variety in the actual training protocols.

I agree that high volume works well for biceps.

I also agree that heavy strength training will also stimulate growth.

In addition, I think you should also add rest-pause exercises into the mix.

If you’re looking at bicep specialization training you won’t need to hit your guns more than 2-3 times a week.

However, It’s important to hit all three of the above training protocols regularly.

A simple bicep training program to grow your guns by an inch could include:

  • Bicep Barbell Curls 5×5
  • Incline Dumbbell Bicep Curl 4 sets of 8-10 rest-pause reps
  • Rope Cable Hammer Curls 3 sets of 15-25 reps

This doesn’t need to be completed as just one workout.

In fact, you could spread these exercises out throughout the week, while focusing on other “big exercises” to stimulate overall growth.

"Big biceps don't just look good — they serve a real function. The next time you pick up your kid, load up a weight plate, or perform a perfect pull-up, that's your biceps at work." - Mike Dewar

Concentrate on Overall Arm Development

The biceps are often viewed as the “main event” when it comes to arm training.

But, in truth, the triceps actually take up far more upper arm volume.

In fact, the triceps are approximately two-thirds of the upper arms.

So, it makes perfect sense that if you want bigger arms you should train the bigger muscle more.

Unfortunately, this is where many people go wrong with arm training.

There seems to be much more focus on the smaller muscle group, the biceps.

Therefore, if you truly want an impressive set of guns, you should concentrate just as much, if not more, on the triceps.

Try This One Bicep Exercise For 30 Days

One of my favourite online fitness coaches is Jeff Cavaliere.

Jeff of Athlean X fame is someone I have followed for well over a decade now.

I love his ideas, variety of exercises and workouts, and he has always been in outstanding physical shape.

So, when he introduced me to a new bicep exercise (or one that I’d never tried before) I was intrigued.

In fact, Jeff actually learned the exercise himself from 3-time Mr Olympia winner, Sergio Oliva.

The exercise requires just one dumbbell, nothing more.

This a curl variation that targets the long head of the bicep.

A bicep curl variation that can increase the height of your bicep peaks.

I won’t go into the ins-and-outs of this waiter curl variation, I’ll allow Jeff to explain in the video below.

Let’s just say that Jeff had Jesse complete this one bicep exercise 2-3 times a week for 30 days, so no more than 9-12 times, and the results are phenomenal.

Don’t Forget the Importance of Sleep

If you’re looking to grow your biceps by one inch then you’re looking at adding 10lbs of lean muscle.

If you want to add 10lbs of lean muscle then training and nutrition is extremely important.

However, you will never achieve these fantastic results if you’re not sleeping adequately.

I’ve spoken many times of the importance of sleep when it comes to getting bigger and stronger.

It’s during one of the stages of deep sleep when the magic happens.

The body releases testosterone and the Human Growth Hormone.

And without this, it’s going to be extremely difficult to add the necessary 10lbs of lean muscle to grow your biceps by an inch.

So, with adequate sleep forget having bulging and bigger guns in 6-12 weeks.

If you’re not sleeping properly you won’t see these gains even after a year.

Plus, let’s not forget that poor sleeping habits typically leads to fatigue and less energy.

And this of course can hamper your workouts.

Key Learning Points

  • It is estimated that you need to add 10lbs of lean muscle in order to grow your biceps by an inch.
  • This could take anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on how well you train, eat, and sleep.
  • Your training shouldn’t solely focus on the biceps. In fact, working the major muscle groups through compound exercises will also help your biceps to grow.
  • Don’t ignore your triceps, they take up two-thirds of your upper arm.
  • You should also use a variety of biceps exercises as this can stimulate new growth and muscle.

Wnt to pack on some serious muscle over the next 12 weeks? Then check out the Massthetic Muscle workout program.

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