Biceps ballooning tips from Melvin Anthony, Jr.

Despite being arguably bodybuilding’s greatest showman and, at his best, sporting one of the most dramatic rear double bi shots of all time, Melvin Anthony, Jr. is the stealth pro. He rarely grabs headlines but just as rarely finishes out of a money slot. In an 11-year career, he’s won only three of the 36 shows he’s entered, including this year’s inaugural Phoenix Pro, and yet in 21 of those contests he made the posedown, and that includes three consecutive Mr. Olympia’s (2006-08). In every battle, he’s come well-armed, so we got Mel’s thoughts on biceps training and a typical “good bi” routine.


  • “I used to lift crazy heavy weight, curling 225 pounds and all that stuff. I still go heavy on barbell curls; I just don’t do things like dumbbell preacher curls in the 90s, like I used to do back in the day. I ain’t going for strength; I ain’t trying to powerlift. That was just for show, ego, more than anything else #151; especially when the girls were walking around. I’d try to stop traffic. Me and my boys used to stop the gym. It was our goal to train so hard that we messed up everybody else’s workout.”
  • “I do standing barbell or EZ-bar curls as the first biceps exercise. I do straight sets or I do 21s. I start off at 60 or 70 and go up to 110. If I’m doing 21s, I do two sets with 100 pounds at the end.”
  • “I use seated dumbbell curls as a primary movement, as a second exercise, right after barbell curls. Usually, when I do these, I do double on each side, meaning two reps on one side, two reps on the other side. Then I do one full rep on both sides at the same time. The biceps don’t really get much rest — there’s no time to think. That’s old-school stuff right there.”
  • “Dumbbell spider curls [done on the straighter side of a preacher bench] are just a good isolation lift. I do ‘;em one arm at a time to really focus on each biceps from stretch to contraction.”
  • “Rope hammer curls are a great way of working the biceps with the brachialis. The rope allows you to work more the contractions by bringing your thumbs outward at the end of reps.”


Barbell or EZ-bar curls 4 12-15
Seated dumbbell curls 4 8-12
Dumbbell spider curls 4 8-12
Rope hammer curls 3-4 12-25

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