Best Exercises for Building Biceps from Best Exercises for Building Biceps

Best Exercises for Building Biceps

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Best Exercises for Building Biceps

Many people, especially men, want to focus on their biceps when they start working out because they are highly noticed. Developing the arms is not that different than toning other muscles in the body. Building more size a combination of several factors. They include progressive overload to stimulate growth, working to the point of failure on your last one or two repetitions, working on the eccentric lengthening of the muscle, and periodically changing the movements to challenge you and provide variety, according to Deb Preachuk, Foundation Training Certified Instructor and Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist. Focus on moves that require shortening and lengthening the distance of the elbow to the wrist, therefore recruiting the elbow flexors – biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis.

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Seated or standing hammer curls

This is a good exercise that targets the biceps, Preachuk says. It is also an exercise that will make you a stronger cyclist. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed at your sides. With palms facing inward, raise dumbbell until your elbow is at a 90-degree bend. Lower dumbbell to starting position and repeat with other arm. Begin with 1-3 sets of 10 reps.

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Chin-ups and pull-ups

“In my experience, chin-ups and pull-ups are the most effective,” Nick Ortego, Personal Trainer and Certified Health Coach, says. “Essentially they fit into the 20 percent of the exercises that will give you 80 percent of the results for building biceps,” he adds.

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Standing straight-bar biceps curls

Do these exercises assuming the supine position, Preachuk says. Turn or hold your hand so that the palm is facing upward or outward. Keep the elbows close to the torso. Don’t move the upper body as you curl the bar and contract the biceps as you breathe out. Muscles tend to respond with growth to the 8 to 12 rep range, Ortego adds.

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Standing or seated dumbbell curls

Pronated dumbbell curls are also on Preachuk’s list of effective exercises for building the bicep muscles. The pronated grip (overhand) often incorporates increasing forearm involvement. This exercise is not performed properly very often. Many times the elbows are widely flared out or the shoulders and the entire body are used to throw the weight up.

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Incline dumbbell curls

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned an independent study, which identified incline curls as one of the best bicep exercises. This is also an easy exercise for beginners. Do it with the palm up, Preachuk says. Sit back on an incline bench, with a dumbbell in each hand. The elbows should be close to the torso. Curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move.

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Supinated Preacher curl

Your palm should be facing forward, Preachuk says. Grab the curl bar at the inner handle. Hold it at shoulder’s length. Breathe in and lower the bar as slow as possible. Your arm should be extended and the biceps should be fully stretched. Breathe out as you curl the weight up to your starting position.

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Reverse curl

Use a barbell, dumbbell or cable, Preachuk says. You can also do the exercises on a preacher bench, she adds. Keep in mind that you can’t lift the same amount of weight as you can doing standard curls. Start with half the load. If you’re standing up, hold the weight at shoulder width with the elbows close to the torso and keep it upright. The palm of your hands should be facing down. Curl the weights and exhale. Move nothing but the forearms. Lower the weight slowly.

Zottman curl

You can do it seated or standing, Preachuk says. “Start in a hammer, supinate to begin flexing, pronate at the top of the curl. Stay pronated down to the bottom of the movement, return to hammer grip,” she adds. This exercise forces you to move slowly, which means you’re paying more attention to your form, which can prevent injuries.

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Single-arm curls

Think bilateral deficit. The idea is that two halves work better than one whole. It’s completely counter-intuitive, but it works very effectively. You will see definition really quickly when performing an exercise with one hand/arm/leg holding 8-12lbs dumbbells or other weights, than holding more load with both hands/arms/legs.

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Concentration curls

They solely work the bicep and really make you focus on your form. This bicep curl alternative can help you to more effectively strengthen your biceps. By propping your arm against your inner thigh, you’ll place more emphasis on the bicep to raise the weight, compared to a traditional dumbbell curl where it’s common for people to unintentionally engage other muscles when moving the weight.

Reverse bent-over rows

This strength exercise works your middle back as well as your biceps, lats and shoulders. Don’t do it if you are a beginner or have back problems. Stand up, palms facing up. Bend your knees a little so your torso is slightly forward. Always keep the back straight and head up. Keep the torso still and lift the barbell, exhaling. The elbows should be close to the body. Squeeze your back and hold for two seconds. Lower the weight slowly.

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Cable flex curl

“The concentration and cable flex curl would be the least beneficial for building biceps on this list, but they are fun,” Ortego says. “They really pump blood into the biceps for flexing in front of the mirror,” he adds.

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Load

“Over months and years of training, it's important to periodize training with heavier and lighter loads for continuous growth,” Ortego says. “A rule of thumb that works is to do whatever loading intensity you haven't done in a while,” she adds. That doesn’t necessarily mean as heavy as possible, especially at the beginning. “As your training age increases (number of years you've been seriously training), heavier weight becomes more important for continued progress, but the wear and tear of such intensity necessitates going easier sometimes. Many veteran lifters benefit from a ‘deloading’ week after every 3 weeks of intense training,” he adds.

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Change grip and position

Add variation to your routine. “Changing your grip in certain exercises will change the muscular activation – supinated, neutral, pronated,” Preachuk says. Changing the position of the elbow – behind the body, next to the body, in front of the body – is also beneficial.

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Resistance bands

Using a resistance band for building muscle depends on the individual, and where he or she is starting from, Preachuk says. “If you have no baseline of strength, a resistance band can help get you started building muscle mass. For the athlete who has excellent form and control, heavy resistance band work can help increase hypertrophy of the biceps,” she adds. “However in my opinion, if an individual gets comfortable with the resistance provided by the band, the movements will build more muscular endurance than strength and size. When choosing bands as a tool, it is important to create enough resistance to perform the movements well to fatigue to create enough hypertrophy to increase muscle mass size.”

Best Exercises for Building Biceps