If you want to know how to build muscle over 50, you should ask Miami-based PT Yaxeni Oriquen (53). Known as the Queen of Biceps, she favours an arm workout that is as efficient as it is simple. It consists of just three sets of five exercises, repeated as many times as possible.
Okay, if we are being 100% honest, if you are 50 and completely sedentary, we don’t think you are going to get guns like Yaxeni. The Queen was a professional bodybuilder for 25 years, so her muscles respond to training better than those who haven’t lifted anything heavier than a Sky remote in recent times.
It’s worth noting that she can still outlift most gym rats in their 20s, and it’s younger boys and girls who will probably benefit most from her workout.
That said, frequent resistance training at any age can help you lose belly fat, boost metabolism naturally and generally make you more fit and healthy. Doing resistance training can improve mood and provide a sense of well-being too.
If you are new to bodybuilding, you might want to take a look the best workout for beginners first as opposed to start lifting heavy straight away. We also have the best kettlebell workout for beginners and – if you are after big guns – the best arm exercises for beginners too.
How to perform Yaxeni’s ‘Giant Series’ biceps workout
Not everyone has barbells at home but you can replace them with a pair of dumbbells and achieve a similar effect. For most of these exercises, you can even use the best resistance bands, they would work just fine
The five biceps exercises included in this workout are: standing barbell curls (EZ bar), preacher curls (EZ bar), alternating dumbbell curls, reverse curl (EX bar) and finally, battle ropes. Each exercise should be performed back to back until muscle fatigue sets in, then give your muscle some rest in between sets (60-90 seconds). Repeat the set twice more (three times altogether).
Standing biceps curls
The workout starts with probably the most old-school of bodybuilding exercise: standing biceps curls. This exercise can be performed using an EZ-bar or dumbbells (even the best kettlebells). Despite being and isolating exercise, you’ll need to flex that core when doing standing biceps curls to stabilise your body efficiently.
When curling, focus on moving the lower part of your arm only to isolate the biceps as much as possible. Slow, controlled movement is key for effective muscle building and doing less reps ‘properly’ is worth more than churning out twice as many ‘half reps’.
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Preacher curls isolate the biceps beautifully. EZ-bars are best suited for preacher curls but you can use dumbbells too; just make sure you hold them properly, using underhand grip. There really isn’t much to talk about here: all you need to do is pull the weight up nice and slowly without lifting your bottom of the pads you’re sitting on. Repeat until you can’t lift the bar up any more.
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Alternating biceps curls
This biceps curls variety is perfect as a third entry as it gives each muscle a bit of time to regenerate between each reps as you alternate between the two arms. Same applies here as with standing biceps curls: keep your core engaged and lift from your elbow, not from your shoulder to isolate the biceps as much as possible.
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Reverse curls are your secret weapon for bigger biceps. Reverse curls are almost the same as standard biceps curls but in this variation, you hold the bar with an overhand grip. Reverse curls improve grip strength way better than standard curls too as you have to work harder to hold the bar.
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And finally, let’s squeeze out every little bit of energy left from those arms by doing a quick session of battle ropes. Don’t just wriggle your arm around though: shake those ropes as hard as you can up and down for 30-60 seconds. Guaranteed burn.
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