Having muscular biceps shows how much time and effort you put in at the gym! Muscular biceps make your arm attractive that put a perfect look on your body.
To make a biceps, you only need to curl and curl and curl more, but if you need to grow them, it takes too much time, effort, knowledge, and a crazy biceps workout. A peaked biceps is the first pinnacle of achievement we aim to reach in our fitness journey.
These exercises are the most picked exercise for advanced level gym-goer or personal trainers suggest to a celebrity who wants very quick results. So, it is a secret recipe for making your bicep grow very fast.
`1. Standing Barbell Curl
Muscles Worked: Long head, short head brachii, brachialis, and coracobrachialis
The Standing Barbell Curl is traditionally exercise, the most common bicep exercise, and the most prominent one also. When you did it correctly, this exercise targets your biceps and can add more strength and size to the entire muscle.
With the barbell curl, you can curl more weight by adding plates. Barbell allows both arms to work simultaneously and evenly, which is great for stability and control. Simply hold the barbell curl with both hands, and lift it up towards your chin.
How to do Standing Barbell Curl?
- Grab the barbell with an underhand grip, stand straight and your hands are slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Compress your core and contract your biceps to curl the bar up.
- Slowly lift the weight at the front of your shoulders and keep your elbows and shoulders fix as possible you can.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly reverse the movement to its starting position.
- Tip:- Don’t go lean back when you curl the barbell up. It causes back injury and lifts the weight very smoothly and slowly.
- Sets:- 3 sets of 12 reps.
2. Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl
Muscles Worked: Long head and short head brachii.
If you really want to increase the size of your bicep bulge, then “Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl” is the best bicep exercise to increase the size. Setting the bench to incline puts more pressure on the long head of your biceps brachii because you’re now working from a deficit.
Note: During this exercise requires more effort, you will need to lighten the load.
How to do Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl?
- Lie back on the incline bench with dumbbells in each hand. Your bench should be 60 to 75 degrees inclined.
- Let your arms hang so they are fully extended.
- Keeping your elbow and shoulder stationary, slowly lift one dumbbell towards the shoulder.
- Hold for a second at the top, then reverse the movement to return to its starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Sets:- 4 sets of 10 reps on each side.
3. Barbell Drag Curl
Muscles Worked: Long head, short head, and brachialis
It is less popular than the standard barbell curl, but the barbell drag curl is an extremely effective bicep exercise. It is the perfect bicep exercise if you want to improve your arm size, strength, and appearance.
How to do Barbell Drag Curl?
- Grab a barbell wider than shoulder-width apart with a supinated grip, elbows planted tight to the side of your torso.
- As you begin to curl the bar up, drop the bar straight up on your stomach by pulling your elbows backward and up.
- Dragging the barbell along your torso, bring it as high as you can get it.
- Squeeze your biceps for a second.
- Slowly lower the barbell back to starting position by dragging the bar down and the torso.
- Repeat for the indicated number of reps while going as slow as you can.
Tip:- When you drag the bar up bring the elbows back and up but do not lift your shoulders.
Sets:- 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
4. Preacher Curl
Muscles Worked: Biceps Brachii.
You should be using lighter weights for the preacher curl because the bench forces you into an unstable position. Preacher curl impacts your front-arm muscles, which help you build some serious size on your biceps.
How to do Preacher Curl?
- Hold the dumbbell on the bench with zero space between your underarm area and the top bench.
- Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbell toward your shoulder, without moving your upper arms.
- Pause, squeezing your bicep at the top.
- Slowly reverse the movement to return to do it again.
Sets:- 5 sets of 10 reps.
5. Zottman Curl
Muscles Worked: Long head, short head brachii, brachialis, and coracobrachialis
Zottman Curl’s exercise targets the three major muscles that build your biceps – the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. The Zottman curl utilizes different hand positioning at different portions of the lift to capitalize on the strength of the lifter and hits all areas of your bicep. It also hit your forearms muscles by rotation
How to do Zottman Curl?
- Grab the dumbbells in each hand.
- Turn your arms so your palms face forward.
- Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells towards the shoulders
- Pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward again.
- Slowly lower the weights down in that position.
- Rotate the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Sets:- 3 sets of 12 reps.
6. Hammer Curl
Target: Long head brachii and brachialis.
Hammer curl is very important to add to your biceps workout routine because it builds the outer head of your bicep brachii. When you perform correctly, it can maximize your arm growth and help improve grip strength.
How to do Hammer Curl?
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body or both palms are parallel to each other.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the right dumbbell up to your right shoulder.
- Pause and squeeze your bicep at the top, then slowly lower the weight.
- Do the same to the left side of your biceps. This is your one repetition completed
Sets:- 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
7. Facing-Away Cable Curl
To perform the facing-away cable curl, the lifter needs to stand facing away between the two cables of a functional trainer or cable tower. This setup allows you the same benefits of the incline dumbbell curl — a greater stretch due to a longer range of motion — coupled with the unique resistance of the cables, which keeps tension on the muscle throughout the entire movement.
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 your upper back and let your arms hang so they’re fully extended. Without moving your shoulders, curl the weight up toward your shoulders. Hold the top of the movement for about a second, and then slowly lower the handles with control.
8. Cable Curl
When you curl a dumbbell or barbell, the movement is hardest at the midpoint of the lift since the weight is furthest from the body. However, cables keep tension on the muscle throughout the movement, as the weight stack you’re lifting is suspended throughout. This adds more tension to the muscle for more growth. You can also attach different handles to a cable machine‘s pulley to attack your biceps from different angles.
How to Do the Cable Curl
Attach the desired handle to the pulley of a cable machine set to the lowest height. Grab the handle in both hands and take a few steps back so there’s constant tension on the cable (the weight stack should be elevated the entire time). Curl the bar up to your chest and then slowly lower it back down.
9. Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is all about feeling your biceps work. You sit down on a bench, rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh, and curl a dumbbell from full extension to contraction. Lifting with one arm at a time means you’re doing more overall work — so you’ll burn more calories and allow your weaker arm to play catch up. Also, the isolated curling position really lets you hone in on your biceps as you curl a light dumbbell.
How to Do the Concentration Curl
Sit on a bench with your feet set wide enough to allow your arm to hang in the middle, with your elbow resting on the inside of the thigh. With a dumbbell in hand, slowly curl the dumbbell upward at a controlled tempo, concentrating on contracting the biceps to move the load. At the top of the movement, flex as hard as possible, then slowly lower the load. The key is not to lose tension on the biceps at any point in the range of motion.
10. EZ-Bar Reverse Curl
This exercise has the lifter use a semi-pronated (the middle point between pronated — palms facing down — and neutral — palms facing each other) grip on an EZ-bar. With your hands around shoulder-width and hands in a semi-pronated position, grip the bar and allow it to hang with arms extended. The lifter will curl the bar up while maintaining their shoulder position and keeping the elbows to their side. The only movement should come from the forearm and biceps muscles flexing the elbow. This curl variation trains the forearm and upper arm muscles — most notably the brachialis and brachioradialis — helping increase size and bolster grip strength.
How to Do the EZ-Bar Reverse Curl
Grip an EZ-bar with each hand while standing. Turn your wrists, so your palms are facing down (or best fit to the slanted part on the bar). Keep your arms tucked in at your sides and flex your elbows to curl the bar up towards your shoulders. Lower the bar back down with the control.
Anatomy of Biceps Muscles
To increase your biceps size and shape, you need to focus on all the different muscles that exist on your biceps. So, the structure of bicep muscles helps you lots to identify which exercise builds your which part.
There are three muscles located in the anterior compartment of the upper arm – biceps brachii, coracobrachialis, and brachialis.
Biceps Brachii:- Biceps Brachii is the most prominent muscle of the biceps. It is comprised of two muscles: a short head which lies on the inside of the arm and a long head muscle which lies on the outside of your arm.
Coracobrachialis:- The coracobrachialis muscle lies deep and under the biceps brachii in the arm. It originates from the coracoid process of the scapula and connects into the medial portion of the humerus, near the deltoid tubercle. The placement of coracobrachialis helps you to flexion your arm at the shoulder, and weak adduction. It allows you to perform exercises where you swing a weight upward forcefully.
Brachialis:- This muscle lies deep beneath the biceps brachii coming from the humerus and over the elbow and into the ulnar tuberosity. The position assists the biceps brachii to bring the forearms toward the humerus like in the hammer curl.
The coracobrachialis and brachialis are providing power upon the joints when they cross over. Without these short muscles, the biceps would be considerably weaker while not providing diverse functionality on your forearms and shoulders.
How to program a bicep workout?
As for how often to train your biceps, you want to aim to get in about 10 to 14 total sets per week. If you’re a gym newbie, start with eight sets per week. Again, the biceps are small muscles with only two primary functions, so they don’t require a hefty amount of work to spark growth.
We suggest training your biceps with your triceps together as they’re antagonistic muscles (your biceps flex the elbow and your triceps extend the elbow). You can also save your biceps training for after your back workout or, if you follow a push, pull, legs split after your pulling day. Since your biceps are recruited in most upper-body pulling movements, it makes sense to tack them onto that day since they’ll already be a bit fatigued.
Choosing the right exercise for the goal is like picking out the right tool for the job — it’s vital to your success.
You’ll need to do a little math to figure out how many exercises to train per session. Say you train your biceps twice per week at the max set recommendation of 14. You’ll perform seven sets of biceps work per workout. You could do three exercises, performing three sets for the first two and two higher-rep sets on the third exercises. Typically, aim to do three to four sets per movement.
When choosing exercises to perform, you want to pick exercises that:
- Give sufficient load to the muscle without excessive stress on the surrounding joints.
- Lines up the resistance with the muscle(s) you want to train.
- Allows you to train around pre-existing injuries or limitations.
- It can be performed with the equipment in your gym space.
When it comes to training the biceps, dumbbells and cable variations typically rank over fixed-barbell ones due to the ability to adjust your setup and technique to your structure. Bottom line: if it causes you joint pain, there is most likely a better exercise to use to get the job done.
Sets and Reps
The number of sets and reps performed is generally relative to the weight being lifted.
For More Muscle
Training across a wide range of rep ranges and training volumes is suggested to maximize muscle growth. Do three to six sets of six to 12 reps with moderate weight. If you’re performing fewer reps, then lift more weight. As you increase the number of reps, typically, you’ll need to lighten the load a little bit.
For More Endurance
To increase endurance — or metabolic demand — you can do three to five sets of 12-20 reps with low to moderate weight.
For More Strength
To maximize strength development, you want to train with higher loads and fewer overall reps per set. Do three to six sets of four to six reps with moderate to heavy weight.
Total Volume and Frequency
Training volume refers to the amount of exercise or work performed over a given period of time, whether that’s the training session or a week of training. Frequency refers to how often you are training a specific muscle group each week.
Ten to 14 sets per week is likely a great starting point for anyone looking to grow their biceps. More advanced trainees could potentially exceed 14 sets per week if their goal is to grow their stubborn biceps. Remember that you will also have overlapping volume from other exercises, like pulling movements when training back.
Remember, there is a limit to how much you can do per workout while still being productive. If you notice your performance dropping off, it may help to split up some of the training volume to a day later in the week. A training frequency of two to three sessions a week has been recommended to help maximize muscle growth.
How to heal biceps strain or tear?
- Apply ice: Cold Pack or ice is the best way to reduce your muscles injury after the workout. Ice or cold shower is the perfect treatment to increase your recovery rate.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can help with pain and swelling.
How to warm up your bicep?
To initiate a workout, warm-up is very important for any type of muscle workout to prevent injury. A good warm-up before a workout dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles’ temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency that put you away from injury. Below are some important warm-up exercises for your biceps.
Wall Biceps Stretch:
- Press your right palm against a wall at shoulder level.
- Slowly turn your body opposite the wall.
- Feel the stretch generate in your chest, shoulder, and arm.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Curl With Barbell (without weight):
- Grabs the barbell with unloading weight with your hand’s shoulder-width apart, palms toward the ceiling.
- Curl the bar up slowly toward the chest, without moving your elbows.
- Pause and squeeze your biceps at the top.
- Lower it down slowly and curl again.
- Do 15 reps.
Use of a rowing machine for biceps warm-up is one of the perfect warm-ups before starting your biceps workout. Get ride a rowing machine and set its resistance low or medium. Now start rowing exercise but make sure you concentrate on pulling or stretching your arms slowly in the beginning.
Pull-ups is a great exercise for warm-up. It is not essential for biceps day but also you can include any kind of muscle day.