10 Greatest Biceps Exercise Workouts for Constructing Muscle

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Over time, a lot of research have sought to research the perfect biceps workout routines. This should not shock you! You know the very first thing you’d do should you ever bought entry to an EMG machine could be to hook it as much as your weapons. Be trustworthy.

So, what is the winner? Based mostly on biceps EMG alone, it is normally the focus curl, a staple within the bodybuilding regimens of golden-era lifters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. However here is the catch: We have by no means met a single bodybuilder who whole-heartedly agreed.

Why not? For one, skilled lifters know that whereas muscle activation issues, it is not the one factor that determines the perfect muscle-building workout routines. As a substitute, we used a lot of parameters to decide on the ten finest, together with:

  • Ease of studying and performing
  • Whole muscle stimulation and depth
  • Reputation amongst diehard lifters and bodybuilders (This issues!)
  • Availability of kit in business gyms

You do not have to think about this a definitive listing. Take it as the beginning of the dialogue, then go experiment for your self within the following three full exercises!

10 Greatest Biceps Workouts

Barbell or EZ-Bar Curl

Why it is on the listing: The usual shoulder-width curl engages the brief and lengthy heads of the biceps equally, you may alter grip width to barely change the emphasis (large to focus on the brief head, slim for the lengthy head), you may actually pile on the burden, and you do not have to sit down there endlessly working one arm at a time.

What number of extra causes do you want? If you happen to’re solely going to do one biceps train, make it this one.

Wish to use a straight bar as a substitute of a cambered EZ-bar? Have at it, in case your wrists do not thoughts. A 2018 examine discovered that whereas each variants produced better exercise than dumbbell curls, “The small distinction between [barbell] and EZ variants… makes the selection between these two workout routines a matter of subjective consolation.”

Barbell Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: Hit your heavy curls at the start of your biceps exercise when you may actually problem your self with weight. For a bit extra of a power stimulus, select a weight you may deal with for about 6-8 reps, or perhaps a traditional size-and-strength rep vary like 5×5. A standard biceps blunder is rocking your physique excessively on this motion. Preserve it strict for probably the most half, particularly if you’re going heavy.

Cable Curl

Why it is on the listing: Because the second-rated biceps train within the ACE examine and third within the landmark Boeckh-Behrens EMG examine from the Eighties, this motion appears loads just like the standing barbell curl at first look. In spite of everything, they’re each bilateral actions wherein you are taking a shoulder-width, underhand grip on the bar. What makes it totally different is that the angle of loading comes from down and ahead, supplying you with fixed rigidity on the muscle via the complete vary of movement.

Basically, meaning you may’t relaxation on the backside or the highest, which creates extra whole time below rigidity. Plus, relying on the fitness center you are in, you might need quite a few deal with choices and physique positions to maintain you busy.

Cable curl forum quote

Cable Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: As a result of it is pretty much like the barbell curl, choose one or the opposite. If you happen to’re doing it first in your exercise, go pretty heavy and use a difficult weight for 6-10 reps per set. If you happen to select to do it later within the exercise, go for 8-12 or extra per set.

Dumbbell Curl

Why it is on the listing: Is that this actually any totally different than a barbell curl? That is as much as you. Certain, you are able to do the strikes in mainly the identical method in the identical exercise, however we do not suggest it. The true worth of dumbbell curls is that they are often finished a lot of methods: standing or seated, with each arms or alternating, rotating your wrists into Zottman curls to work in your fearsome forearms, or twisting that pinky as much as focus purely on the bis. Briefly, you may have choices.

Dumbbell curl loop

Dumbbell Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: If you happen to’re doing these after barbell or cable curls, emphasize the distinction by performing Zottmans, or take bilateral seated curls to fatigue after which prolong the set by switching to unilateral curls.

If you happen to really feel your reps getting sloppy, actually hammer the negatives. It has been proven that the eccentric-focused reps can produce increased ranges of drive than the concentric, even if you’re fatigued.


Why it is on the listing: Ever finished a set of max-rep chins? Then you already know the biceps are working critically exhausting throughout this transfer. Each pull-ups (overhand grip) and chin-ups (underhand grip) have a excessive diploma of elbow flexion, however analysis has proven that chin-ups work the biceps considerably extra.

Units of 8-12 reps too simple? Add weight. Too exhausting? Use help. Too uncomfortable in your wrists or elbows? Alternate with a impartial (palms dealing with in) or cambered grip, or carry out them on rings. Grip giving out? Put on wrist straps.

Chin-up Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: If you happen to prepare again with biceps, this train may make an excellent bridge motion between the 2 physique components for 3-4 units of 8-12 reps. It can be your main upper-back and biceps transfer in a house exercise should you take just a few units to failure, like in power coach Paul Carter’s program Jacked at House: Body weight Muscle-Constructing Exercises.

Reverse-Grip Barbell Row

Why it is on the listing: Some lifters communicate reverently of the bent-over row because the “fourth powerlift.” Whether or not you agree or not, it is a back-focused motion in which you’ll go very heavy, and with the reverse grip, the biceps are closely engaged. It is probably not the form of train you’d do on a biceps-only day, so it makes bridge between again and biceps.

Reverse-grip barbell curl

Row Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: Embody it in your again routine, or as a bridge train when coaching again and biceps collectively. Go pretty heavy and prepare within the traditional muscle-building rep vary of 8-12 reps.

Hammer Curl

Why it is on the listing: Curls with a palms-facing or impartial grip do extra than simply hit the biceps, additionally they closely recruit the brachialis, a muscle that does not get measured on EMG research as a result of it is beneath the biceps. As a result of it is not as apparent a transfer as, say, a barbell curl, it typically will get undeservedly skipped on arm day.

Why do you have to care? Rising the girth of the brachialis can “increase” your biceps from beneath, making your complete arm bigger. Another excuse: They have been Chris Hemsworth’s go-to curl to remodel into Thor.

Professional tip: The dumbbell model is strong, however even higher is the cable model holding a rope grip, as a result of it offers you fixed rigidity all through the vary of movement.

Hammer Curl Variations for Biceps Development

In your exercise: Hammer curls are normally finished within the center or on the finish of a exercise in a traditional rep vary of 8-12 reps. Experiment with isometric holds to create a deep burn that even the professionals concern.

Incline Curl

Why it made the listing: What is the distinction between curling at 90 levels and 45? Greater than you suppose. The incline curl elongates the biceps and will increase the stretch in the beginning of the motion. Theoretically, this helps you goal the lengthy head and construct the so-called “biceps peak.”

Incline curl community quote

Incline Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: That is element work, not the primary course! Carry out these after an train like standing curls, wherein each biceps heads are focused with heavy weight. Due to the “overstretched” arm place on the backside of the motion, it is best finished with comparatively gentle weights and a minimum of 8-12 reps per set.

Focus Curl

Why it is on the listing: Hey, there is a cause the focus curl fares so properly on muscle-activation research. One cause is that the torso place limits shoulder involvement, however one other could be the mind-muscle connection many individuals report experiencing with this transfer. There’s truly some rising proof surrounding the power of the mind-muscle connection to assist improve muscle development.

Focus Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: That is finest handled as a lightweight, strict transfer to complete off your biceps if you’re already considerably fatigued. Choose a weight simply heavy sufficient that you just’re failing round 10-12 reps.

Preacher Curl

Why it is on the listing: There are various variations of the preacher curl, and each severe physique builder has their fave. No matter model you do, you may get a severe pump, notably in case you have a high quality pre-workout or pump complement coursing via your bloodstream on the time. In actual fact, this old-school peak-builder might be practically sufficient for a whole biceps exercise, maybe with one thing like hammer curls added to it.

As with different actions that begin from a stretched place, you get probably the most muscle activation in the course of the decrease third of the motion. As the burden strikes up, the muscle does not should work as exhausting. That is one cause the cable could be the perfect implement to make use of right here to assist full your biceps.

Preacher Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: Since your arms are in opposition to a bench, it is a very strict motion that does not permit plenty of dishonest. Therefore, this motion is finest finished towards the latter half of your exercise for a minimum of 8-12 reps per set.

Drag Curl

Why it is on the listing: In distinction to conventional barbell curls the place you retain your elbows pinned at your sides, you may truly push them backward, maintaining the bar near your torso as you carry it up. This reduces the vary of movement, so do not anticipate to take it up very excessive.

As a result of the bar strikes vertically up and down, it can be finished successfully on a Smith machine. It is a favourite biceps-building “hack” of Kris Gethin in his in style 8-Week Hardcore Every day Video Coach.

Drag curl gif

Drag Curl Variations for Biceps Development:

In your exercise: You may program this similar to another barbell curl, heavy at first or lighter within the center to finish of your exercise. Wish to make it additional powerful? Lengthen the detrimental portion of the rep to 3-5 seconds per rep. Repeat for 5-8 reps, maybe having a spotter provide help to with the concentric (lifting) portion as wanted.

Greatest Biceps Exercises

Exhausting and Heavy Biceps Exercise

If you happen to’re somebody whose biceps exercise is a non-negotiable a part of the week, that is for you. It begins with heavy curls, then switches to lighter dumbbell and cable variations. That is your supreme biceps exercise after a tough again session.

Exhausting and Heavy Biceps Exercise


4 units, 6-8 reps (relaxation 90 sec. )


Alternating incline dumbbell biceps curl

3 units, 16-20 reps (alternating, 8-10 reps per aspect, relaxation 90 sec.)



Carry out all reps for one aspect, then swap to the opposite. Don’t relaxation between sides, and relaxation 1 min. between units

Single-arm dumbbell preacher curl

3 units, 10-12 reps (left aspect, no relaxation)

Single-arm dumbbell preacher curl

3 units, 10-12 reps (proper aspect, relaxation 1 min. )


3 units, 10-12 reps (relaxation 1 min. )

Biceps Exercise for Inexperienced persons

Do not blindly observe some high-volume exercise from a professional bodybuilder! Hit these three strikes exhausting and depart the fitness center feeling nice and realizing your arms have gotten a loud and clear message to develop. It is nice on it is personal, however can be an excellent method should you prefer to hit your arms with decrease quantity 2-3 days per week. That is the method taken within the in style program Six Weeks to Sick Arms by Jim Stoppani.


3 units, 15, 12, 12 reps (relaxation 90 sec. )


3 units, 15, 12, 12 reps (relaxation 90 sec. )


3 units, 15, 12, 12 reps (relaxation 90 sec. )

Machine Pump Biceps Exercise

Love the sensation of a pump and the mind-muscle connection? This high-rep, short-rest exercise will provide you with the sensation you are after. Combine in some dropsets and let that pre-workout present what it is good at.

Machine Pump Biceps Exercise


3 units, 8-10 reps (relaxation 90 sec. )



Carry out all reps for one aspect, then swap to the opposite. Don’t relaxation between sides, and relaxation 1 min. between units.

Single-Arm Preacher Machine Curl

3 units, 8-10 reps (left aspect, no relaxation)

Single-Arm Preacher Machine Curl

3 units, 8-10 reps (proper aspect, relaxation 1 min. )


3 units, 10-12 reps (relaxation 1 min. )


Reverse-Grip Cable Biceps Curl

3 units, 10-12, 10-12, 12-15 reps (relaxation 1 min. )

Greatest Biceps-Constructing Packages

What Are the Greatest Biceps Packages for Mass?

The very best biceps-building applications function exercises you may be trying ahead to all week lengthy. Elevate heavy, end with a pump, and provides your biceps every little thing they should develop. If there’s any time left afterward, do the identical to your triceps!

To observe the same blueprint to construct the remainder of your physique, try the companion items on this collection:

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