Despite the bicep being one of the smaller muscles in the body, it definitely garners major attention at the gym. Bulging arms are a symbol of vitality and strength, sure to get attention from your friends and the ladies. Similarly, arm strength is crucial for many sports and activities, even occasional tasks around the house. If you want bigger stronger arms, whether for functional or aesthetic reasons, you’re going to want to do some bicep exercises.
What’s great about workout out your biceps is that tangible results are often achievable in a relatively short period of time and the fact it’s a smaller muscle group means you can work them out more often than some of the larger muscles without fear of over-training. There’s also a lot of variety when it comes to bicep exercises, making it easier to keep your bicep workout fun. Here are our 8 favorite bicep workouts.
1. Standing Dumbbell Curls
Our favorite of the bunch are standing dumbbell curls. Great for strict isolation of the bicep (keep elbows tight to body) or central nervous system training with heavier weight, dumbbell curls are a great way to build mass and strength in your biceps. The use of dumbbells also ensures you’re giving your right and left sides equal attention. Lastly, secondary muscles in the arm and grip are also tested.
2. Standing Hammer Curls
A cousin of the standing dumbbell curl, the hammer curl helps round out your bicep workout by putting extra emphasis on the forearm and brachialis, the upper arm muscle that lies beneath the bicep and actually generates more of the power when you flex your elbow. We recommend incorporating the hammer curl motion into any bicep workout to round out the development of your arm size and strength.
3. EZ-Bar Preacher Curls
Great for isolating the bicep and preventing unintentional “body english” (swinging, swaying, and other momentum tricks that are possible with standing curls), preacher curls are a staple in many bodybuilder’s repertoire. Because preacher curls isolate the bicep so well, it ensures that you’re being pushed to failure due to the actual bicep muscle and not surrounding secondary muscles or grip.
4. Concentration Curls
With similar bicep isolation properties as preacher curls, concentration curls can be done with dumbbells and somewhere to sit, making them ideal for home workouts. They aren’t only great for that though: the use of dumbbells helps balance left and right arms which is a challenge with EZ-bar preacher curls.
5. Dumbbell Preacher Curls
Combining the bicep isolation benefits of preacher curls with the symmetrical effort of dumbbells, dumbbell preacher curls (using the preacher seat with a dumbbell instead of the EZ-bar) is a great way to work both biceps to failure without worrying about your dominant side compensating for your weak side.
6. Seated Cable Row
While primarily a lat exercise, seated cable row stress the biceps as well. As a compound movement, seated cable rows are a great way to work the big muscles groups with the small. For others still who only focus on the major muscle groups, seated cable rows will ensure that your biceps aren’t completely neglected. They are also an excellent segue into concentrated bicep work on back/bicep day of a traditional workout schedule.
7. Overhead cable curls
Overhead cable curls are a favorite of many bodybuilders due to the similarity the motion has to common poses. This is an excellent bicep exercise for bicep isolation, maintaining tension, and strengthening stabilizer muscles.
8. Reverse grip preacher curls
If your stabilizer muscles and grip could use a boost, try adding reverse grip preacher curls to your bicep exercise list. The reverse grip helps emphasize the forearm and brachialis in addition to the biceps. There are plenty of other bicep exercises that will help you pack on the mass. However, these eight bicep exercises should be more than sufficient to get you the arms you want without too much monotony in your workouts. If you’re into health and fitness, be sure to check back regularly for more content or join our mailing list to get updated when we release new articles.