The Best Bicep Workouts: Building Biceps Through Every Range of Motion
Do You Want Bulging Baseball Biceps?
No matter who you are, you can build guns that look great and work as hard as you need them to.
Including varied biceps workouts in your training routine will provide tons of functional benefits that carry over to other exercises and everyday activities.
To train the biceps thoroughly, you will need to use resistance through all three ranges of function. But first, a quick anatomy lesson.
Important Knowledge for Biceps Workouts
There are multiple muscles in the front of the upper arm and forearm that work together. Those flashy baseball biceps are made up of the long and short head of the biceps brachii.
That bulge that pops out when you flex your arm with your fist turned down is the brachioradialis, and the important, but mostly unnoticed brachialis is the prime mover when you flex your elbow joint.
Working in conjunction with muscles in the forearm, the biceps brachii functions to:
- Flex the forearm
- Supinate the forearm-turn the palm up
- Flex the upper arm-move it upward and forward
Some actions the biceps and surrounding muscles are important for are bending the elbow; moving the shoulder out to the side; flexing it forward; and assisting the larger pulling muscles during pull-ups, rows, and deadlifts.
Right then. Now you know you have to workout all these different muscles to get a good biceps workout. So let's get to down to the how. It's easier than you think; in fact, you may already be doing some of these.
Best Biceps Exercises
No muscle group works in isolation, and the more muscles you can involve in your biceps exercises, the more you can increase your biceps mass, strength and endurance (depending on how you train.)
We need exercises that place the most load on the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, supinator and brachialis.
Start with these:
- Standing Dumbbell Curls (Alternating or simultaneous): To do these, you can use traditional dumbbells, or for an extra challenge, try odd objects like mason blocks. You're going to want to start with the dumbbells at your side, with your hands pronated (facing down or backward, or as much as you can since you're holding dumbbells) then turn the hands up (supinate the forearms) as you flex the arm.
- Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls: Keeping the arms parallel to the floor, repeat the exercise as in standing dumbbell curls. Many people find this version puts more load on the biceps.
- Reverse Grip Biceps Curls: These are done with the palms facing down. Thus the 'reverse' grip. You are going to be emphasizing the brachioradialis, brachialis and pronator teres in this exercise. Try doing this with a barbell or dumbbells.
- Hammer Curls: These are dumbbell curls performed with the hands facing each other. The palms facing your body. Grip the dumbbells tightly throughout the exercise, keep your body steady so momentum doesn't help you, and flex the arm almost to the shoulder. This exercise emphasizes the brachioradialis and the brachialis.
Biceps Tips and Tricks
Get the Mind-Muscle Connection
When you are doing these exercises, focus on the contraction from the top to the bottom, holding the contracted position for a couple of seconds before lowering the weight.
Get your mind into your muscles and you will get more out of the exercise. You can improve this mind-muscle connection by practicing isometric contractions while flexing your arm at the bottom, midpoint and top while supinating and pronating your forearm.
Emphasize the Biceps Brachii
Instead of allowing your wrist to curl towards your body as you raise the weight, keep your hands bent back 20-30 degrees. This puts more emphasis on the biceps brachii and less on the forearm flexors, and it reduces the risk of medial elbow injury.
Flex Those Biceps
Get a thorough warm-up before performing your biceps workout, and then do some specific warm-ups with light weights on the exercise you're about to do.
You can do lower reps for power and strength (3-5,) middle ranges for hypertrophy (8-12,) and higher reps for endurance, it won't mean anything if you don't put your max effort into it.
For optimum results, get your mind into your muscles and bring the intensity!
Sample Biceps Workout
Standing or Seated Incline Dumbbell Rows
Reverse Grip Curls
Isometric Flexing-bottom position/mid position/top position
3 sets for each position
10-20 seconds each set
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.