The Top 10 Bicep Exercises For Growth And Size

  • Top 10 bicep exercises
  • Information about the bicep
  • How often should I train my biceps?
  • Selecting the correct exercise

Big biceps indicate that you are working hard at the gym, putting in the hours, and achieving significant hypertrophy. The biceps are not very big muscles either, so growing them is not easy and will, without a doubt, take time, a solid workout plan, and focus. That isn’t too much to ask for, right? Biceps don’t just make you look jacked; they also serve a great purpose in many ways.

The positive is that training your biceps is easy. You keep curling to your heart is content… Well, some exercises are more important than others and will show better improvement in whatever training program you have. To help you on this path of discovery, we have added a list of the top 10 bicep exercises that will benefit you entirely, and while we are at it, throw in some information about it too!

  • Hammer Curl
  • Barbell Curl
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl
  • Facing-Away Cable Curl
  • Cable Curl
  • Cable Hammer Curl
  • Dual Cable Preacher Curl
  • Chin-Up
  • TRX Suspension Curl
  • EZ-Bar Reverse Curl

Hammer curl:

The palms will have to face one another during this exercise as you curl the dumbbell, the wrist in a more neutral position is a lot more comfortable and will allow you to lift more weight, as we humans are usually stronger in a palm-facing position. The move will target your outer biceps and forearm (brachialis and brachioradialis). In turn, this will give you more arm thickness.

Hammer curl benefits:

  • This will be a much more comfortable position as your palms face one another.
  • Hammer curls allow more weight to be lifted, so you can add more to increase muscular hypertrophy over time.
  • It will target the forearm and the inner bicep to allow for a fuller-looking arm.

How to perform the hammer curl:

To do this, you will want to hold a dumbbell in each hand to the weight you are comfortable doing. Lifting way above what you are capable of yet will cause injury, so be careful. Then you will want to turn your wrist into each other, like a mirror. Keep your arms firmly tucked in at your sides and flex your elbows so that you curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders. Once done, keep concentration and lower the dumbbell with control.

Barbell curl:

The Barbell curl is a classic and is widely known among lifters. This exercise will target the biceps and potentially add serious gains to them in the strength and size area. You can curl more weight with the barbell than many other bicep variations as you lift the bar with both hands. Like the hammer curl, this is a relatively straightforward exercise. It will be a matter of loading up a barbell and holding it in both hands, lifting it towards your chin area, and repeating.

Barbell curl benefits:

  • It is simple yet effective and won’t overwhelm you like some complicated exercises can with beginners.
  • More advanced lifters will also benefit from the basic principles of this exercise.
  • You will have more muscular biceps in no time as you can overload your biceps with extra weight.

How to perform the barbell curl:

When starting this exercise, you will need a barbell. Then you will want to grab it with an underhand grip, ensuring it is slightly wider than the shoulders. Have your chest up and your shoulder blades tightly together. After showing the front of your biceps by pulling your shoulders back into their socket, the elbows should stay under the shoulder joint or just in front of the rib area. In this position, you need to curl the barbell upwards with the biceps and not allow your torso to lean forward, the shoulders to fall forward, or the elbows to slip into the side of your body and ultimately should stay in the front of your shoulders.

Incline dumbbell curl:

Some of the most basic training exercises you can master are the dumbbell curls. Consider adding this move and the barbell curl if you want a varied workout routine. Dumbell curls have similar motions, but incline curls are performed with the assistance of a bench and target the bicep exceptionally well.

Incline dumbbell curl benefits:

  • It will eliminate momentum, forcing you to keep strict form when curling.
  • Extended arms will increase your range of motion for more tension applied to the muscle.
  • This will allow less room to be lazy and perform the exercise correctly for growth.

How to perform the Incline dumbbell curl:

Get a workout bench and put yourself in the correct position by keeping your back straight against it and your abdominal muscles tight. This should be after you have picked the weights you have wanted, so they should be by your side, ready to use in each hand. Now you are in the starting position, lift each dumbbell with palms facing up to your shoulders. Keeping your upper arm tight is vital so that the bicep becomes isolated as you move only the lower part of your arm.

Now slowly, the dumbbells must return to the starting position, maintaining control and correct movement. Do not put the weight down too fast, as this can strain your muscles. Then you guessed it repeat the exercise until failure or how many sets you have in your program.

Facing-Away Cable Curl:

You must stand facing away and between the two cables in a cable tower when performing this movement. The setup will allow you similar benefits to the incline dumbbell curl, allowing a much better stretch because of the more extended motion range. Paired with the cables, which cause a lot of resistance, it will keep tension on your bicep during the whole exercise.

Away cable curl benefits:

  • It will allow for an increase in the range of motion.
  • Cables are more mobile than barbells. Curling will let you lift with your preferred arm path, allowing less discomfort during the movement.
  • The movement is fantastic for loading the biceps in a long range. This often needs to be done more.

How to perform the Facing-Away Cable Curl:

Attach D-handles to both cable pulleys and set the pulley handles to the lowest position. Grab a handle in each of your hands and stand with your arms fully extended and your upper back tense! To perform the exercise, curl the handle towards your shoulders, keeping your shoulders stationary. Hold the top position for approximately one second, then lower the cables to the starting position with control. Maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement is crucial for maximum benefits in muscle building and, most important of all preventing an injury.

Cable Curl:

Curls with dumbbells or barbells tend to be the most challenging at their midpoint because the weight is far from the body. On the other hand, cable machines offer a unique advantage by keeping tension on the muscle throughout the entire lift. This continuous tension leads to more incredible muscle growth. Additionally, cable machines provide versatility as they allow you to attach different handles to the system, providing different angles of stimulation to target the biceps.

Benefits of the Cable Curl:

  • There will always be tension on the bicep.
  • Different angles are available to train as the cable machine allows for better movement.
  • It will require less weight to be effective as the tension is much stronger during the range of motion.

How to perform the cable curl:

To use a cable machine for bicep curls, select the desired handle and attach it to the lowest section. Grasp the handle with both hands, then take a few steps away to create constant tension on the cable, ensuring the weight stack remains elevated throughout the exercise. Begin the curl by lifting the bar towards your chest, then slowly lower it and repeat until you feel the burn!

Cable Hammer Curl:

Using two D-handles with a neutral grip, the bicep curl variation allows for heavier weight lifting as you perform full-range curls while keeping your hands in a neutral position. The action of gripping the handles with force engages many of the muscles in your forearms, providing a grip-strengthening effect. Suppose you want to increase the activation of the forearm muscles. In that case, you can gradually increase the weight in this exercise by focusing on proper form and maintaining constant muscle tension.

Benefits of the cable hammer curl:

  • A great variation to use to shake up the routine.
  • Using the cables will allow an even amount of resistance like the cable curl too.
  • It can train the forearms too.

How to perform the cable hammer curl:

Adjust the cables to a lower position on the tower to perform the cable curl. You will need a neutral grip while doing it, so hold each handle with your palms facing each other, then step back to create tension on the cable. Engage your upper back for stability and curl the weight upwards while maintaining the grip. Squeeze and contract your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the load back to the starting position.

Dual Cable Preacher Curl:

The dual cable preacher curl variation performed on a functional trainer provides multiple benefits. The traditional preacher curl utilizes the opposing force of the bench, and this variation adds to it by incorporating the unique resistance of the cables, resulting in an even resistance throughout the full range of motion. To perform this exercise, grasp each handle and position them on the preacher’s bench. Ensure stability, maintain proper shoulder position, and push the back of your arms into the pad. Then, curl the weight upwards, creating high tension in the biceps.

Benefits of the Dual Cable Preacher Curl:

  • It can be used for many rep ranges, allowing for strength for the bicep.
  • Allowing a more even resistance across the cable.
  • This will increase tension as you need to stabilize the tension.

How to perform the Dual Cable Preacher Curl:

To perform this exercise, set the cables on a functional trainer to the desired height and stand before it. Grasp each handle and place your arms on the preacher’s bench with your palms facing up. Maintaining proper shoulder position and engaging the back of your arm into the bench pad is crucial to keep your form in check. Keeping your elbows stationary, curl the weights towards your shoulders using only your biceps. Squeeze and contract your biceps when you reach the top of the movement, and after this, slowly lower the weights back to the position you started in. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Chin-Up:

The chin-up is an effective bodyweight exercise for building the biceps and your back, killing two birds with one stone using only a pull-up bar. You can perform chin-ups to target these muscles with a door-mounted pull-up bar in your home gym. Since the weight lifted is your body weight, the biceps are subjected to heavier loads than they would with a barbell. However, it’s important to perform the exercise correctly, avoiding the engagement of the shoulder and grip muscles.

Benefits of the chin-up:

  • Your shoulders will gain some strength, as well as your back.
  • Very accessible because you can do this exercise at home. All you need is a pull-up bar.
  • It requires your body weight which is a lot more than you can usually curl unless you are built like the hulk.

How to perform the chin-up:

To perform a chin-up, grasp a bar with your palms facing you, and your hands positioned shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Start from a hanging position and activate your shoulder blades by bringing them together. After, pull yourself up towards the bar, maintaining a straight form and avoiding inward bending. Continue until your chin reaches or rises above the bar.

TRX Suspension Curl:

This variation is a fantastic one if you are someone who has limited access to free weights, machines, and cables. Like different suspension exercises, you can easily adjust the difficulty of the movement by having to change your body slightly. The more upright you are, the easier it becomes because you only use body weight. Rep tempo can help increase the tension the bicep is under.

TRX suspension trainer:

TRX Suspension is a type of fitness training equipment with straps and handles attached to anchor points. It allows for a wide range of exercises, including strength training, cardio, and core workouts, to be performed using one’s body weight as resistance.

Benefits of the TRX Suspension Curl:

  • Use your own body weight.
  • The further you lean back, the more body weight you will use, ensuring better growth.
  • The TRX suspension is easily transported.

How to perform the TRX Suspension Curl:

To perform a TRX suspension exercise, secure the straps and hold onto the handles. Move a few steps, lean back, and curl your body weight up. To vary the difficulty, adjust your body position – the further you lean back, the more excellent the resistance. You can stand more upright to make the exercise more manageable.

EZ-Bar Reverse Curl:

This exercise will require a pronated grip on an EZ bar, with your hands being shoulder-width apart and in a semi-pronated position. You must grip the bar and allow it to hang with extended arms. Afterward, you will curl the bar up while keeping the shoulder position and your elbows locked to your side. The movement will need to come from the forearms and biceps. This version also trains the forearm and the upper arm muscles.

EZ Bar:

An EZ bar is a barbell with curved handles commonly used for weightlifting exercises, such as bicep curls and tricep extensions. The curved shape of the bar allows for a more comfortable grip and can help reduce strain on the wrist.

Benefits of the EZ-Bar Reverse Curl:

  • This will add lots of size to the arm.
  • You can train forearms as well.
  • EZ bars are easy to find in gyms, and you can also purchase one yourself if you have a home gym.

How to perform the Bar Reverse Curl:

Hold an EZ bar with both hands, turning your wrists, so your palms face downwards (or towards the slanted part of the bar). Keep your elbows tucked into your sides, and use your biceps to curl the bar up towards your shoulders. Then, slowly lower the bar with control.

Information about the bicep:

The biceps brachii, commonly known as the “biceps,” is a large, muscular structure on the front of the upper arm. It comprises two heads, the long head on the outer side and the short head on the inner side.

This muscle acts across three joints and can produce movement in the shoulder (glenohumeral), elbow, and forearm (radio-ulnar) joints.

The long head:

The long head of your biceps is located on the outer side of the upper arm and is connected to the scapula, close to the shoulder. Its tendon passes through a groove in the humerus bone and joins the biceps tendon near the elbow and the short head. The long head enables elbow flexion and supination (wrist and forearm rotation). Additionally, when developed, the long head contributes to a more substantial arm appearance, as it sits beneath the short head.

The short head:

The short bicep head is located on the inside of the arm in the upper region and attaches to the coracoid process of the scapula. It inserts into the tendon near the elbow. It is commonly known for the roles of the turning of the wrist and forearm and elbow flexion. When spoken about, it is usually referred to as the biceps peak.

How often should I train my biceps?

Training the arms for maximum muscle growth is not just a matter of how many days you train them per week. The most crucial factor is the volume you are training over time. This volume, whether too much, too little, or just right, determines the frequency of arm workouts. To determine the frequency of arm workouts, consider the number of work sets you to perform per workout and the total number of sets you will do in a week. In other words, it’s about finding the balance between the intensity and the volume of your arm workouts to achieve optimal muscle growth.

Intermediate lifters should aim for 12-20 weekly work sets for training biceps. Some lifters who perform many pulling movements may find that as little as 6-8 sets per week are sufficient for them, as the biceps play a role in this movement. The recommended loading for biceps training should be a mix of moderate (8-15 reps) and high (20-30 reps) reps, avoiding heavy weights with less than eight reps as it can increase injury risk.

Maximizing growth in the biceps requires you to boost the muscle’s range of motion and tension. It’s vital to avoid sacrificing the full range of motion for short, partial range of motion reps. You should feel fatigued in the biceps, not just in your arms. If you don’t feel the local fatigue in the muscle, you may be doing it quickly, heavier than you can manage, or not using motion to a full range.

Selecting the correct exercise:

Choosing the proper exercise can be tricky, like a warrior selecting the correct weapon for battle.

When choosing one, you will want to think about the following:

  • Give the muscle a complete workout for gain without adding any stress to any joints, or minimize it as much as possible.
  • One that will allow you to train around any existing injuries.
  • You have the correct equipment at home or in your local gym.
  • You know how to perform the movement correctly. If not, it is always worth asking someone professionally trained if you are unsure.

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