Bicep Workouts: 4 Exercises for Big Biceps
When it comes to men or women, no body part says “I’ve been going to the gym” like well-developed biceps. But muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) is not easily achieved where the biceps are concerned because they are a relatively small muscle group. However, when performed correctly, these 4 bicep workouts can help you take your upper arm development to a new level.
1. Ez-Bar preacher curls
You can benefit a lot from preacher curls using the ez-bar, but if you don’t have access to this piece of equipment, dumbbells and barbells are fine to use. The ez-bar provides a more comfortable grip at a natural wrist angle, allowing you to last longer with more weight, and preventing wrist soreness. The ez-bar’s angled gripping surfaces also permit greater tension to be placed on your bicep muscle heads at varying angles. Some good tips to follow are to keep the back of your arms snugly pressed against the preacher pad, and to avoid using any other parts of your body to move the weight. People often place too much weight on the bar and end up holding back their bicep workouts, due to the use of improper form to “cheat” their way through a set. Use only as much weight as you can curl with perfect form.
2. Arnold isolation curls
All curling exercises tend to isolate your biceps, but there are variations which further increase the degree of isolation. Arnold curls take classic isolation curls (also called concentration curls) and focus even more resistance against your biceps. Isolation curls are performed while seated, with your elbows braced against the inside of your knees. However, this position provides the opportunity to cheat and use other muscle groups during your biceps workouts to help you to follow through in the execution of the curl. Arnold curls are designed to prevent this from happening, and require you to stand, bent over at the waist at about 45 degrees, with your arm hanging down while holding the dumbbell. You can choose to twist the dumbbell left and right while in the flexed position as well to give your biceps a full rotation while under tension.
3. Mid-Range bicep curls
Bicep workouts benefit the most from varying the angle of tension as discussed previously. This concept also applies to the range of movement. Research shows curls are the best for stimulation in the middle range of movement where the bicep muscle is “peaking.” When your biceps are stretched out or contracted, like at the beginning and end of the curling movement, the exercise is less effective. So, you can maximize your bicep workouts by shortening the range of movement and performing a higher number of reps and/or curling with more weight.
4. Reverse curls
Although this curl variation is often thought of as a forearm exercise, it’s also among the most effective bicep workouts. It’s not the easiest to perform since the wrists are placed in a somewhat awkward position, but if you get the technique down, you’ll become more comfortable with this movement. Reverse curls target your biceps by placing them in a stretch to flex muscle contraction.
Remember, your biceps do not need to be worked hard every time you train. Because it’s a relatively small muscle group, it is important to allow proper resting time between your bicep workouts to aid maximum muscle growth. Also keep in mind that back exercises, such as rows, often involve the use of your biceps as a secondary muscle group.
Do you have questions about which biceps workouts are best to sculpt your body into the shape you want? Contact San Pedro personal trainer Shain Rossi at Elite Triangle Fitness for a free consultation today.