The Bicep: the muscle that every guy seems to want to develop over every other muscle group. Finding the Best Bicep Workouts can be a really challenging task. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about which exercises are really the best to help you develop an amazing set of arms.
I personally take a more of a bodybuilding training approach to developing my biceps and only focus on them one day a week with isolation exercises. I feel that my normal strength training regimen hits enough muscle groups through compound exercises that adding just one day of isolation exercises targeted at developing my arms is more than enough.
With that being said, who doesn’t want an awesome set of arms to walk along the beach or sport when wearing a 50/50 T-shirt? I’m just as guilty as anyone, so I’ve put together a great list of bicep exercises that will help you build the pipes that you’ve always wanted to have. Without further adieu, here are some of the bicep exercises I incorporate in my routine on my off days when I target my biceps with isolation exercises. Pick any 3 or 4 of your choice to beef up your arms during your off day.
The Barbell Curl:
Go slightly lower than what you feel you could actually do, and focus on doing 3 or 4 sets of 8-12 reps. Having a nice set of biceps is more for show, and less for strength training purposes, so you should be targeting them as such leaning more towards the typical bodybuilder routine. The Barbell curl is a great exercise, and I personally go just slightly lower than what I know I can do and focus more on form and repetition to really target the biceps muscles. Form here is important because you want to make sure you are getting full range of motion and development when building muscle in your arms. It’s hard enough as it is to get really well developed biceps so making sure you practice proper form is very important. Below is a great video that will show you how you can safely and effectively perform the barbell biceps curl.
The Dumbbell Curl:
The Barbell curl’s distant cousin, I usually opt for these because when done slowly and focused, they can really help you develop the tension in your biceps that will help maximize growth. Again, I always focus on proper form, going a touch lighter than normal, and maximizing my repetitions unlike my strength training techniques. The dumbbell curl is one of the easiest exercises to perform to see immediate results and I’d highly recommend incorporating it at least once a week into you routine. Below is another brief video on how you can perform this exercise.
The Hammer Curl:
The Hammer Curl is a great exercise that develops both the front portion of your arms and the sides. Focus on doing 3 sets of these and again stick to the 8-12 rep range. Again, make sure you practice control and stay steady. Because of the movement, you’ll get a little bit of work through your back and your traps. Doing these consistently will add volume to your biceps and widen them out. Make sure you focus on the full range of motion. Below is a brief video of how to execute the hammer curl.
The Preacher Curl:
Preacher Curls are awesome for making sure you are targeting the full range of your biceps muscle. The exercise requires a little more hardware because you need exercise equipment that allows you to assume the preacher curl positioning. If you are going to a gym regularly, this isn’t a problem. If you are working out at home, this might be a little more problematic and you might want to skip this exercise. If performed in a slow methodical fashion, it’s a great exercise that will help you develop a very well rounded bicep. Below is another video showing you proper execution of the Preacher curl.
Reverse Barbell Curls:
Can you say forearms? Reverse Barbell Curls are fantastic for not only biceps development, but for expanding the size of your forearms. This is a very simple exercise and one that produces great results if done consistently. I usually sub these in at the end of my biceps workout routine in order to really exhaust my arms and make sure I have pushed my forearm muscles to the limit. See the video below for a great example on how to perform this exercise.
Seated Concentration Curls:
It’s hard to not want to do a classic. I’m listing them here because these are a staple exercise for most bodybuilders. The problem I have with them is time. Because you have to really slowly focus on every rep and every set, it takes more time to perform this exercise than it does your barbell or other dumbbell exercises. I always like to maximize my time when I’m in the gym, so if time is of no consequence to you, seated concentration curls are a great way to go. See the video below for a great walk through on how to do this exercise.
All of these are great exercises and probably worth subbing in if you find yourself getting tired of your routine or hitting a plateau. Making sure you are actively planning your fitness routine to incorporate the best biceps workouts and exercises is only going to help you in the long run. I would not sacrifice strength training or compound exercises on one of your main lift days in order to fit them in. At the same time, if you want to build your self confidence and improve your physique aesthetically, then finding a way to fit these exercises in will put you in the right direction. As always, nutrition is 70% of the equation, so make sure you focus on mapping out a nutrition and supplementation regimen.