How to Grow a Pair

Tom Kelso

Contributor - Strength and Conditioning

St. Louis, Illinois, United States

Strength and Conditioning

The title says it all. Here’s how you grow a pair of biceps, hamstrings, shoulders, and quads, as well as a good hefty pair of mental muscles, too.


Grow a Pair of Biceps



Simple guidelines:

  • Elbow flexion exercises (barbell, dumbbell, machine curl) done with extreme effort
  • The best - seated incline dumbbell curl with the forearm supinated (palms turned up)
  • The best - standing pronated grip bicep curl (palms turned down)
  • Work each set to volitional muscle fatigue
  • Perform a reasonable number of sets (one to three)
  • Repetitions can vary from 6 to 20


Grow a Pair of Hamstrings


hamstrings, quads, biceps, shoulders, hypertrophy, how to exerciseThere are three hamstring muscles - the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. They flex the knee (heel to butt) and extend the hip (pushing the thigh back).


Simple guidelines:

  • Perform lying, seated, and standing leg curls along with hip-extending stiff-leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and glute/ham raises
  • Work each set to volitional muscle fatigue
  • Perform a reasonable number of sets (one to three)
  • Repetitions can vary from 10 to 25


Grow a Pair of Shoulders



First, I am uncomfortable when the shoulder joint is discussed. Many believe the shoulder is only the visible top of that body part. This would be the medial deltoid. However, in reality we know the shoulder joint as a whole is comprised of a number of muscles that move the upper arm and scapula (shoulder blade) in various directions. Therefore, multiple-angle pushing and pulling exercises work the shoulder joint, strengthen it, and enhance its stability.


Here is a list of shoulder fortifying exercises:

  • hamstrings, quads, biceps, shoulders, hypertrophy, how to exerciseWide or close grip pulldown
  • Wide or close grip pull up
  • Pullover machine
  • High row
  • Face pull
  • Seated/Bent-over row
  • Plate-load row
  • Low row
  • Upright row
  • Rear delt machine/bent-over fly
  • Rotator cuff internal and external rotation
  • Overhead press
  • Incline press
  • Chest press
  • Decline press
  • Dip
  • Lateral raise
  • Chest fly


Simple guidelines:

  • Incline and overhead press, upright row, face pull, lateral raise, rear delt/bent over fly
  • Work each set to volitional muscle fatigue
  • Perform a reasonable number of sets (one to three)
  • Repetitions can vary from 8 to 20




Grow a Pair of Quadriceps


hamstrings, quads, biceps, shoulders, hypertrophy, how to exerciseThe four quadriceps - the vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and rectus femoris - make up the “quads.” The quads primarily extend the knee. To grow large quadriceps, it takes more than simple knee extensions on a knee extensions device. The quads, collectively, possess a lot of muscle mass. They need to be overloaded via heavier exercises that involve knee extension (squats, leg presses, and deadlifts).


Simple guidelines:

  • When squatting, leg pressing, and deadlifting, work each set to volitional muscle fatigue. Yes, it's going to hurt, but that is how you stimulate your quads to grow.
  • Perform a reasonable number of sets (one to three)
  • Repetitions can vary from 10 to 30



Working the legs (and quads) can be discomforting. That is a good thing. Any exercise that is physically and mentally challenging is a productive exercise. Learn to love those exercises that manifest themselves in a lot of huffing and puffing.


And while we’re at it, let’s grow that pair.


Grow a Pair - Mentally


Ultra-high intensity 12-exercise circuit:

  • Minimal (<:20) rest between exercises
  • All exercises to volitional muscular fatigue at 10 to 14 repetitions
  • Use four different upper body push, upper body pull, and multi-joint lower body exercises each
  • Perform upper body push 1, upper body pull 1, multi-joint lower 1, upper push 2, upper pull 2, lower 2, upper push 3, and so forth until all 12 exercises are completed
  • Remember, all-out effort on each set and minimal rest between exercises


Five rounds for time

  • 10 dumbbell burpees with a plank row (right and left) and overhead press
  • 20 dumbbell squats
  • 10 chin ups (bodyweight or assisted)
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • Record the time of your initial workout. Attempt to better it in future workouts.


Fitness Gauntlet:

  • Intervals (running or exercise machine) of :30 all out effort/:15 easy pace x 20 bouts
  • 2:00 rest
  • No more than one minute rest between these events:
  • 50 bodyweight burpees
  • 200 bicycle crunches
  • 150 bodyweight squats
  • 20 dumbbell bent-over rows + 20 dumbbell overhead presses x three rounds
  • Push ups x maximum reps


Attempt to complete the following exercises in under 20 minutes:

  • 300 bodyweight squats
  • 150 push ups (males) 100 (females)
  • 50 dumbbell burpees + one-arm plank row (R & L) + squat + overhead press


Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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