Brett Wilkin acquired the moniker “The Butcher” for his razor-sharp conditioning, which helped him win gold at the 2022 Big Man Weekend Pro. That win made Wilkin the first qualified athlete for the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest, aside from previous winners and the 2022 podium finishers Derek Lunsford and Nick Walker.
Wilkin finds that most of his critiques from judges revolve around his arms, so he is putting in extra work during his off-season to bring them up to balance his physique. On July 24, 2023, Wilkin published a video on his YouTube channel wherein he shared the five biceps exercises he uses to build Olympia-worthy arms. Check it out below:
Brett Wilkin’s Five Favorite Biceps Exercises For Hypertrophy
Wilkin’s high-volume biceps workout included:
- Standing Cable Curl
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
- Machine Preacher Curl
- Reverse-Grip Cable Curl
Standing Cable Curl
Wilkin opened with a cable exercise, as it helps him achieve better mind-muscle connection early in his session. He opined that starting with cable exercises primes the biceps for heavier, stricter movements later on, like the upcoming dumbbell preacher curls.
Wilkin performed the cable curls on a functional trainer at the lowest setting. He grabbed thick D-handle bars with a supinated grip and curled them until his forearms reached 45 degrees. He kept his elbows pinned to his sides and focused on slow and controlled concentric.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Wilkin performed his dumbbell preacher curls standing but actively pushed his elbow into the pad for stability. Doing so ensures the load stays on the biceps.
Wilkin paused and squeezed shortened position before lowering via a slow eccentrics. According to a 2009 systemic review by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “eccentric training performed at high intensities was shown to be more effective in promoting increases in muscle mass” than concentric training. (1)
Machine Preacher Curl
The machine preacher curl was the primary exercise of Wilkin’s biceps workout. He did two feeder sets and two working sets. On his final set, Wilkin had his training partner apply manual resistance push down on the handle during the eccentric. According to Wilkin, this technique has been effective for his hypertrophy.
Wilkin performed 21s on a cable pulley machine using a straight bar. 21s are a rep sequence of seven reps in the lower half of the range, seven in the upper half of the range, and the final seven reps through the full range of motion. Using a cable rather than a barbell helps maintain constant tension on the biceps.
Wilkin recommended maintaining an upright torso while performing 21s and following a slow, controlled rep cadence. He advised against swinging the upper body, which can lead to shoulder and back engagement.
Reverse-Grip Cable Curl
Wilkin wrapped his biceps workout with reverse-grip cable curls to bias the brachialis, which makes the arms appear thicker. Wilkin is not scheduled to compete in any other pro show prior to the 2023 Olympia, scheduled for Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL. It will be Wilkin’s Olympia debut.
- Roig M, O’Brien K, Kirk G, Murray R, McKinnon P, Shadgan B, Reid WD. The effects of eccentric versus concentric resistance training on muscle strength and mass in healthy adults: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2009 Aug;43(8):556-68. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.051417. Epub 2008 Nov 3. PMID: 18981046.
Featured image: @brett_wilkin on Instagram