There’s one muscle group that every lifter wants to develop to the maximum, and that’s the biceps. A bulging pair of biceps symbolizes the strength that grabs people’s attention and enhances your physique.
You shouldn’t skip these workouts if you want to build bigger biceps.
The Top 7 Best Bicep Exercises
1. Barbell Curl
The barbell curl is a classic biceps-builder. This exercise strengthens the biceps muscle and can add size and strength. You can use considerably reduced weights when performing a barbell curl, given the biceps are smaller muscles to load. You won’t need to or likely be able to lift heavy, especially if you’re new or reentering a workout routine after a layoff. It’s also straightforward to do. To do this exercise, you will need a barbell. Hold the barbell in both hands and lift it towards your chin. Rinse and repeat.
Benefits of the Barbell Curl
- It’s simple and effective. The barbell curl offers a slight learning curve to perfect for beginners, and more advanced lifters will still benefit from the basic mechanics.
- You’ll build more muscular biceps more quickly as you can load your biceps with an accurately matched weight to your fitness level, especially if you or your gym has plates available in incremental sizes.
How to Do the Barbell Curl
Hold the barbell in your hands with an underhand grip, slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Bring your chest up, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then pull your shoulders back into their sockets to flex your biceps. The elbows should align with the shoulder joint or slightly in front of the ribs. Keeping your torso stationary, curl the barbell up using your biceps. Make sure your shoulders don’t collapse forward and that your elbows stay slightly in front of your shoulders.
The chin-up exercise is a great way to build muscle in your biceps and back. All you need is a pull-up bar. You only need a door-mounted pull-up bar for chin-ups in your home gym. When doing a chin-up, the lifter’s biceps are usually exposed to heavier loads than a barbell because they may be pulling less weight with a barbell than with their body weight. Plus, the correct performance of chin-ups adds a dimensional variation that can tweak muscle fibers otherwise untapped, given the new angle of attack while doing a chin-up. More reps or doing the chin-up weighted can create extra demand if desired.
Benefits of the Chin-Up
- You only need access to a pull-up bar to do a chin-up, making it one of the more accessible movements on this list.
- Doing the chin-up, you lift your entire body weight, taxing the biceps with more weight than one can usually curl.
- Your grip, back, core, and shoulders will also gain strength.
How to Do the Chin-Up
To do a Chin-up, grip the bar with your palms facing you and your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Start with your body hanging from the bar and your shoulder blades squeezed together. Pull your body up until your chin is at or above the bar, making sure not to let the body fold inwards. Try adjusting your grip from wide to narrow to see if you can get better targeting on the bicep and a smoother stroke on your elbow joints. Testing grip variations may reveal the best adaptation for your body build and fitness level. This may change over time.
3. EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
The preacher bench curl lengthens the range of motion for the exercise. The biceps will be under tension for longer because, with your elbows/triceps supported and fixed, the isolation on your biceps is especially acute, which usually means more muscle growth. The EZ bar is more comfortable on the wrists and shifts the angle of the exercise to target different muscle fibers in the biceps.
Benefits of the EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
- Using the preacher bench creates a more extended range of motion and more muscular tension for more biceps growth.
- Using an EZ bar is more comfortable on the wrists.
- Because the biceps are isolated, you’ll likely need to pull less weight to get a great pump.
How to Do the EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
Position yourself on a preacher bench, so your triceps are resting on the pad. Sit with your back straight and your chest up. Your shoulders should be back, and your elbows should be slightly forward. Grasp the EZ-bar handle on the inner angled pieces. The hands will be narrower than shoulder-width and positioned so that the palms face up at a slight angle. Assuming an upright position with the body stabilized, curl the barbell upwards while flexing the biceps. A pause should be at the top of the curl to further emphasize the muscle group. Lower the weight under control.
4. Hammer Curl
The hammer curl has the lifter curl dumbbells while their palms face each other. The position of your wrists being neutral is more comfortable and allows you to lift more weight as you are generally more robust with your palms facing. This switch also works the biceps brachialis and brachioradialis (outer biceps and forearm) to create more arm bulk.
Benefits of the Hammer Curl
- The neutral wrist position is more comfortable.
- You can lift more weight with the hammer curl, so you accumulate more muscle-building volume over time.
- The hammer curl targets the inner biceps muscle and the forearm to build denser arms.
How to Do the Hammer Curl
Hold a dumbbell in each hand while standing. Turn your wrists so that they’re facing each other. To curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, keep your upper arms and elbows tucked in at your sides and flex your biceps and, to a lesser degree, your forearms to raise the dumbbells. You can alternate the lift with the left arm and then the right arm or lift both arms simultaneously. Lower them back down with control.
5. Incline Dumbbell Curl
This curl variation is done using dumbbells while seated on an adjustable bench set on an incline. You’ll need a pair of dumbbells and an incline bench set to 30–45 degrees.
Benefits of the Incline Dumbbell Curl
- The incline dumbbell curl eliminates momentum, forcing the lifter to maintain a strict curling form.
- Lifting with extended arms increases the exercise’s range of motion for more muscular tension.
How to Do the Incline Dumbbell Curl
Recline on the bench pre-set to the desired angle, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang, so they’re fully extended. Extending your arms during curls will create a longer range of motion, making the movement more effective. Avoiding momentum when lifting weights from an incline prevents cheating by making it harder to use speed to lift the weight. Keeping your shoulders still, curl the weight up to them. Hold the weights at the top of the movement for one second before carefully lowering them back down.
6. Facing-Away Cable Curl
The lifter will hold one handle of each cable with the palms facing down and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. The lifter must stand facing away from the functional trainer or cable tower, with one cable handle in each hand, palms facing down. The feet should be shoulder-width apart. This arrangement provides the same advantages as the incline dumbbell curl – more excellent stretching due to a more extended range of motion, combined with the exceptional resistance of the cables, which maintain tension on the muscle during the entire movement.
Benefits of the Facing-Away Cable Curl
- Barbells lock your arms in place. The cables are mobile. Curling with cables lets the lifter line up the resistance with their preferred arm path — allowing for less discomfort throughout the movement.
- Curling with the cables set behind you increases the movement’s range of motion while using lines creates more tension for a one-two punch of more overall muscle stimulus.
- This movement is great for challenging the biceps and loading them in their lengthened range — a range that doesn’t get loaded enough.
How to Do the Facing-Away Cable Curl
Set the handles of the cable pulleys to the lowest setting and attach D handles to each pulley. Pick up a handle in each hand. Tense the muscles in your upper back and let your arms hang down, so they’re fully extended. Keeping your shoulders stationary, curl the weight up toward them. After you’ve pulled the handles up, hold them at the top of the movement for approximately one second before slowly lowering them back down.
7. Concentration Curl
The concentration curl focuses on making sure you can feel your biceps working. You sit on a bench, support the back side of your elbow on one leg, and curl a dumbbell upwards from where your arm is extended straight to where your arm is fully contracted. You do this exercise one arm at a time. This will also allow your weaker arm to improve. The position lets you focus on your biceps muscles when curling a light dumbbell.
Benefits of the Concentration Curl
- The ability to focus more intently on your biceps.
- More calories are burned as you work one side of your body at a time, which effectively doubles the number of sets you’re doing.
- Focusing on one arm at a time will make your weaker side stronger.
How to Do the Concentration Curl
Sit on a bench with your feet set wide enough apart that your arm can hang down the middle, with your elbow resting on the inside of your thigh. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and slowly curl it upward to work your biceps. Concentrate on contracting your biceps to move the load. Bend over as far as possible at the beginning of the move, then slowly straighten back up. To maintain tension on the biceps, keep your elbows still throughout the range of motion.
FAQs about Biceps Training
This FAQ provides information on how to train your biceps to get the best results. It covers topics such as how many sets and reps to do, the best exercises to include, and how to progress your workouts.
What are the five most effective biceps exercises?
The following are the five best bicep exercises for building muscle: barbell curls, dumbbell curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, and concentration curls.
You can also get similar results from doing different versions of these exercises. It is usually better to stick to more straightforward exercises to focus on other essential training concepts, like gradually increasing the weight you are lifting.
What is the most effective bicep exercise for muscle growth?
How you train your biceps, how much volume you do, and what you eat are the three most essential factors in developing your biceps.
Even though you could argue that barbell curls are the best bicep mass builder, some might disagree. Bicep exercises that allow you to overload your muscles with more resistance are more effective.
While you could argue that dumbbell curls are the best bicep exercise, barbells enable you to supinate your wrists to a greater degree.
This extra supination creates a more muscular bicep contraction because it trains the two main functions of the biceps (elbow flexion and forearm supination) at the same time.
What are the best bicep workouts for men?
Three main types of bicep workouts are effective for gaining muscle: starter, mass-building, and strength. This means that the routines are customized to achieve different training goals and accommodate people with varying skill levels.
No matter how fit or strong you want to be, there is a bicep workout that is right for you.
You can also create your bicep workout using our list of exercises. This allows you to create a workout routine that explicitly targets your areas of weakness. You can stay motivated by choosing activities you enjoy.
Can you suggest some good bicep training tips?
You should always use the correct form to avoid injury when lifting weights. If you curl with the proper technique, you can prevent common weightlifting injuries and put more tension on the muscles you’re trying to target.
Also, avoid doing too much training volume. Performing twice the number of sets does not mean you will see you double the results. The number of sets you do each week can be increased as you get more experienced, but it’s essential to stay in a moderate range (6-12 sets) to avoid overtraining and over-taxing joints and tendons.
Make sure to exercise using a neutral or pronated grip while curling. This exercise will focus on the brachialis and brachioradialis to ensure that you build proportional arms instead of too muscular biceps.
What does a complete biceps workout look like?
To have a complete biceps workout, you must use a combination of bars and dumbbells. This will help you focus on building muscle mass and symmetry.
In addition to the exercises mentioned above, you should also do exercises targeting the brachioradialis muscle to keep your arm muscles in proportion with each other.
Additionally, ensure you’re training close enough to muscular failure to stimulate new bicep growth. It would be best if you tried to only do 2-3 reps per set so you can use the most bicep motor units.
Conclusion: How To Have a Good Bicep Workout Every Time
It’s up to you to choose which bicep workout is best for you and your goals. Gaining new muscle requires consistency and patience. You will probably see your biceps getting more prominent if you exercise consistently for several months.
Facing Away Cable Curl Bonus Video
Concentration Curl Bonus Video