Bicep workout exercises are compound muscle movements that focus on developing the biceps brachii muscles at the front section of the upper arm. These concentrated muscles include two tendons connected to the radius bone, located at the elbow, and the scapula bone, which is part of the shoulder. The biceps are essential for supporting the upper arm when performing pulling or lifting movements.
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There are many exercises that can be performed to target the biceps, these include drag curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, barbell curls, dumbbell curls, isolation curls, and cable curls. Each of these movements tones and strengthens the biceps, which improves definition. These top 10 biceps exercises are essential for aesthetics and contribute to the entire body’s appearance.
Bicep exercises offer significant advantages, such as improving your performance in various sports. Well-trained biceps improve a tennis serve game, pitch a ball in a baseball game, and improve swimming techniques. Strong, well-toned biceps provide added benefits for numerous physical activities and sports.
- Best workout for barbell beginners: Barbell curl
- The best exercise for support: Cable curl
- Best for alternating and bilateral workouts: Dumbbell curl
- Best workout for upper back, shoulder with biceps: Chin-up
- Best for building strength: Barbell row
- A great alternative to the standard bicep curl: Hammer curl
- Best for maximum strength building: Incline curl
- Most versatile bicep exercise: Row
- Best for building mass and increasing bicep size: Concentration curl
- Best for isolating biceps and upper arm strength: Preacher curl
1. Barbell Curl
The barbell curl is the first and most important technique to begin your bicep workout routine and an essential biceps workout for building mass. The movement of the barbell curl squeezes the biceps as the weight reaches the shoulders, which targets this group of muscles.
This technique is a variation on the bicep curl that involves lifting a weighted barbell, which is held and lifted at shoulder-width, with both palms facing the body. As the barbell is raised, evenly spaced, the elbows are hinged until the weights meet the chest.
This technique is performed by standing tall and maintaining a firm, straight back and chest. To perform this exercise, follow the steps below.
- Use the core to anchor while holding the barbell, which should be placed on the barbell at hip-width, with palms facing upward to grip the bar.
- Keeping the same stance and elbows tucked into the sides, lift the barbell towards the chest in a curling motion. Doing this will engage the bicep muscles, which should be squeezed for a brief pause when the bar reaches the chest.
Barbell curls have a significant effect on the appearance of the biceps and triceps due to the full-range motion this exercise provides. The barbell requires both arms to rise together, which provides an even effect on both sides. Ideally, this exercise is best to start with light weights, between two and five pounds on each side, with three sets of six to eight reps.
In addition to the biceps, barbell curls strengthen and tone the triceps, with residual benefits to the abdomen and shoulders. Common mistakes involving barbell curls include curving or bending back and forward with the barbell lifts. These movements can result in back injury and strain, which is essential to avoid.
Generally, men and women can perform this exercise with light to moderate weights. Depending on experience, men can often handle a bit more weight initially (about five to ten pounds on each side).
Women who are new to barbell exercises should start with a two-and-a-half-pound weight on each side of the barbell, with three sets of six to eight reps. Children or teens should always begin with light weights.
Beginners to barbell exercises should perform this routine at least three times weekly. This activity has great benefits for improving arm strength for all athletes. For example, swimmers benefit from having stronger biceps as it increases endurance and speed.
Bodybuilders will find barbell curls ideal for shaping their biceps and upper arms overall. Bicep development also aids runners with arms swinging, which builds upper body strength and endurance during a marathon or endurance run.
Calisthenics is an excellent variety of barbell curls, which is done with rings or a mounted bar while using the weight to develop muscles. There are some great results with calisthenics as a starting point before beginning with barbells and other bicep-building techniques. Variations of the barbell exercise include the following.
Barbell or EZ-Bar Curl Variations for Biceps Muscles
There are some distinct benefits to using the EZ-bar curl bar and the barbell for your workout. When you perform bicep curls with a straight barbell, this allows you to use a full range of motion to get the most out of this movement.
The EZ-bar bar curl is ideal for anyone who may lack wrist movement or mobility. The bar includes grooves for a comfortable grip, and it’s a more accessible option for beginners and individuals who experience pain or discomfort. This variation of the regular barbell curl includes a curved design in the bar, with two grooves on each side to be easily gripped for comfort.
EZ-bar curls are gaining in popularity. While traditional barbells are most popular, EZ bars are ideal for individuals who suffer from wrist injuries or conditions that create a challenge to lift.
Barbell and EZ-bar curls are ideal for building mass and strength, though barbells may be slightly advantageous due to their popularity and consistent effectiveness. EZ-bars remain a great alternative and can help build resilience for using barbells in the future.
Barbell curls are among the top 10 most effective bicep exercises for all levels of training. Straight bar curls are best for maximum results, as you’ll have the entire movement without any modifications.
Both the EZ-bar and straight barbell are great options for initially developing the biceps, with the possibility of switching methods as needed.
There are different types of barbell or EZ-bar Curl alternatives below:
- Standing barbell curl
- Standing EZ-bar curl
- Seated barbell curl
1. Standing Barbell Curl
Standing barbell curls are performed while standing straight, with feet close together. One foot can be shifted back slightly for more excellent stability and support. Both arms are extended, with a firm grip on the barbell, not touching the body.
- Lift the barbell evenly and slowly while keeping your elbows tucked into the sides, and your eyes focused forward. It’s crucial to avoid moving any other part of the body.
- As the barbells reach the top of your chest, squeeze your biceps and pause briefly before lowering the weights, with elbows consistently tucked in at both sides. Once you reach the starting position, repeat the number of reps required.
This type of bicep workout bodybuilding technique is ideal for beginners. This exercise has two main variations: a close grip and a wide grip. A wide grip requires placing both hands closer to the weights at each end of the barbell, whereas a tight grip places both hands closer to the center of the bar.
Wide grip barbell curls target the short head or section of the biceps, which improves the thickness of this muscle area. The close grip brings the arms closer together, less than shoulder-width apart. Close-grip barbell curls are best for targeting the top outer section of the biceps, including its peak.
Standing barbell curls should be done with a firm stance and straight back. Curving the back and leaning forward with each lift are the most common mistakes for these movements. These curls are among the most popular at the gym and for weight training routines. The best weights, to begin with, are between two and five pounds on each side, with three sets of six to eight reps.
This exercise aims to evenly enhance all the bicep muscles, with many benefits to the triceps. Standing barbell curls are best to perform ton three to four times weekly.
2. Standing EZ-Bar Curl
The EZ-bar curls follow a similar procedure to the straight barbell curls, emphasizing using the grooves in the bar. While this feature alleviates stress from the wrists, you can move your hands further inward, between the grooves, for a close grip, or move them towards the weights, for a wide grip.
Biceps curls with the standing EZ-bar curls target specific muscles in this region, including the brachioradialis and brachialis. There are also benefits to the lower arm and core muscles.
3. Seated Barbell Curl
The seated barbell curl is performed similarly to the EZ bar and straight barbell. This technique targets the brachialis and brachioradialis, which help build mass and size. The most common mistake is not maintaining a consistent stance with a straight back and firm posture during this exercise.
This technique is popular among bodybuilders and individuals who want to build mass. Seated barbell curls are best with lighter weights, starting at four or five pounds, with three sets of six to eight reps.
Sit comfortably on a bench, with your back straight, knees, and hands shoulder-width apart. Hold the barbell with palms facing up and lift the bar, curling towards your shoulders, with your elbows fixed close to your sides, and squeeze your biceps when the weight reaches the top. Slowly lower the barbell and repeat.
This technique focuses primarily on curls’ upper or top half motion, increasing the biceps’ size. It’s e of the ten best arm workouts for building muscle in the upper arms.
Barbell curls are best done with lighter weights for beginners, with a maximum of 35 pounds on either side for experienced bodybuilders. Small weights of five to ten pounds should include more reps in three sets, evenly between eight to twelve reps. As you increase the barbell weights, reps should decrease until you reach your maximum.
These curls are excellent for beginner bodybuilders and ideal for men, women, and children. Lighter weights, preferably under five pounds, are recommended for younger, less experienced individuals. These curls are ideal to combine with calisthenics and improve upper body strength that benefits swimmers and runners.
2. Cable Curl
Bicep cable curls are done with a cable machine by pulling an attached bar to exercise the upper arms. This technique works the biceps brachii muscle, which is connected between the center of the forearm and the scapula and flexes the elbow.
Another area of muscles that benefit from cable curls is the brachioradialis and brachialis, which connect to the elbow. You’ll also notice results in the shoulder and upper back area muscles.
Basic cable curls are performed by gripping the handle and pulling the weight upward with an underhand grip. It’s essential to maintain a slight bend in your elbows while keeping your arms and elbows tucked into the sides of your body.
It’s an easy exercise to perform for any level of ability, and effortless movement control, due to the cable’s attachment to the weights. The cable weights provide greater control with each rep, so you can modify the weight level and position angle while getting the most out of each set.
A few common mistakes are made with cable curls, including the following.
- Limiting the range of motion during reps
- Pushing your elbows out during each curl
While cable curls are excellent bodybuilding techniques for the biceps, limited and incorrect lifting will defeat the purpose of this exercise.
When you start these curls, it’s best, to begin with, a smaller weight of four to five pounds. Three sets of six to eight reps are a good start, quickly increasing the to ten to twelve reps. Ideally, it’s best to repeat this exercise once or twice weekly.
Cable Curl Variations for Biceps Workout Routines
Some excellent cable curl bicep exercises focus on this muscle group. Focusing on one arm at a time gives you greater control for developing mass while working on your form and determining when to increase your weight. Double arm lifting is just as effective, though it distributes the weight between two arms, which is widespread and focuses on strength.
Different Variations of cable curl exercises include the following.
- Lying down
These positions provide similar benefits, with the lying and seated versions offering more support for heavier weights. Cable bars are easy to use, either by gripping a hammer curl or palms facing up in an underhand grip.
Cable curls are excellent for supporting calisthenics, and these can be performed in a similar routine with exercise bands or belts pulled from a stationary point or machine. Bodybuilders benefit significantly from this exercise, supporting the arms for heavier lifting with other weights.
These curls are ideal for swimmers, as they build the whole bicep muscles and upper arms, which is perfect for swimming strokes and other techniques that require endurance.
Cable curls are excellent for building strength and resilience in many sports. Many people enjoy using cable curls as a popular alternative to free-weights, especially the straight-bar biceps curl and standing reverse-grip cable curls.
Squatting cable EZ-bar biceps curls are excellent for building mass and strengthening the lower body and abdomen.
Cable curl variations include using a straight bar versus an EZ bar lying, squatting, and standing. You’ll find each of these modified curls great to vary your routine, especially if you’re working toward bodybuilding.
- Cable straight-bar biceps curl
- Squatting cable EZ-bar biceps curl
- Standing reverse-grip cable curl
- Lying cable biceps curl
1. Cable Straight-Bar Biceps Curl
This isolation exercise involves using a straight-bar attachment to a cable pulley with the desired weights to lift. The straight bar is gripped with your palms facing up while standing, then lifted towards your chest while maintaining both elbows close to the sides. This exercise is famous as a bilateral movement (using both arms at once) or alternatively one arm at a time.
Cable straight-bar biceps curls are done by pulling the cable handle towards the shoulders, then pausing for a brief moment to squeeze the biceps and reverse the motion. Repeat this motion with both or one arm at a time. It’s a relatively easy technique, and it doesn’t require complete stability for effective performance and results.
One of the most common mistakes with cable, straight-bar bicep curls is going with heavier weights too quickly and performing reps too fast. Using too much weight is often done because the technique appears too easy, and the weights are attached to a cable, which keeps them stable, though this can lead to strain and pulled muscles.
Cable straight-bar bicep curls are ideal from a standing position and are best to perform slowly and consistently. It’s also crucial to squeeze your biceps when the bar reaches your shoulders, then pause briefly before lowering slowly, at the same pace as you lift.
This exercise targets the brachialis muscles in the biceps, which are situated below the bicep muscles. The brachii is another essential muscle located in the front of the upper arm, connected to the elbow, and also benefits from cable curls.
Straight-bar bicep curls are essential to perform with a firm posture without curving the back, as stabilizing the upper body is critical for success. This exercise is popular for bodybuilders, allowing for consistent movement with the cable-pulley system and increasing weights quickly.
Starting with a lightweight of five pounds on each side, do two to three sets of six to eight reps, and work towards ten to twelve reps. In slow, even-paced movements, you should perform heavier weights of ten pounds or more in two to three sets of five to six reps.
2. Squatting Cable EZ-Bar Biceps Curl
Squatting cable EZ-Bar bicep curls with an EZ bar is an excellent method for combining focused upper body exercise with lower body movement.
This technique essentially becomes a full-body workout, incorporating one of the best bicep exercises for mass. It’s an excellent exercise for targeting the brachialis and brachii areas, including the brachioradialis, as you lower the EZ-bar.
These squats and curl combinations are best performed with lower weights and higher reps, ideally eight to twelve reps and three sets. Common mistakes made during this exercise include leaning too forward or not remaining stable during each lift.
This bicep-focused curl is excellent to combine with other upper body exercises. It’s also a way to target the core muscles by using upper and lower body strength to lift at slow, even-paced intervals. You’ll find these movements necessary for challenging a few specific areas, including the biceps.
If you’re looking to add squats and combine lower body movement with your arm workout, this is one method of adding in hip mobility and squats. It’s an excellent option for all levels of exercise and is famous for bodybuilding and improving body form.
3. Standing Reverse-Grip Cable Curl
Standing reverse grip cable curls are done with your palms facing down, with your hands on either side of the bar. This is one of the easiest and best bicep-building exercises with the reverse grip motion. To perform this cable curl, stand straight with feet placed shoulder-width apart, and grip the bar with palms facing towards the floor, with an overhand grip.
Like other bicep curl techniques, it’s essential to keep your elbows firmly at your sides to maximize the benefits of this exercise.
- Lift the bar upward towards your chest. You’ll feel a growing tension in your biceps and upper arms as the bar reaches the top.
- At this stage, hold your position for a moment, then slowly return to the original position and repeat for as many sets as needed.
Reverse bicep curls are excellent for increasing your arm size while working the biceps’ forearm and brachioradialis. This technique is a popular exercise for beginner bodybuilders to include in a workout routine and allows for a variation from using the palms-facing-up curls.
Depending on what’s comfortable, there is always the option to vary the weights a bit more and start with up to eight to twelve reps and at least one or two sets.
This exercise is challenging for anyone who has injured hands or wrists, though lighter weights may work well, with careful, slow movements, until there is greater comfort for heavier weights.
This is a popular movement for beginners and anyone new to training with weights in general. It’s essential to start with light weights, around two to three weights on each arm, with three sets of six to eight reps.
Common mistakes with reverse bicep curls include using heavy weights too soon, leading to pulled muscles and strain on the wrists.
4. Lying Cable Biceps Curl
Cable curls lying down are performed while lying on your back. The surface should be steady, like a workout bench, with your feet facing the cables, flat on the ground. You’ll want to ensure there is ample room to lower your arms on either side of the bench while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
This exercise targets the entire biceps muscles and helps increase size and strength. The cables differ from regular EZ-bar and straight bar curls because they provide consistent tension for your muscles. If performed strictly, you can develop much strength with this technique, as it isolates the biceps with even intensity throughout the workout.
Lying cable biceps allows for better back stability, challenging beginners during standing or squatting bicep curls.
- Pull the bar towards your chest continuously.
- Pause to squeeze for a second before slowly reversing.
- Repeat for as many reps as needed.
Not only does this technique give you a stable position to maximize the effects of the exercise, but it’s also great for targeting the brachioradialis, brachii, and brachialis muscles.
Lying cable bicep curls are excellent for men and women of all training levels. While lighter weights are best to start with, you’ll find that lying bicep curls are more manageable with heavier weights and fewer reps within a shorter time frame. While this movement is not as widely popular among bodybuilding and other levels of training, it’s a great way to maintain a strong back and focus on the biceps and upper arm building.
This exercise is best completed in three sets of six to eight reps, two to three times each week. Start with light, five-pound weights to get comfortable with the motion, and progress gradually with heavier weights over time.
3. Dumbbell Curl
Dumbbells are versatile weights that you can use for various upper body exercises, including dumbbell curls. These movements are done standing or seated, with your palms facing inward as you lift the dumbbells to your chest.
This is an excellent technique ideal for beginners, as it’s easy and helps you learn proper form for more advanced exercises. It’s an easy curl to perform with light weights, and it’s generally safe for all ages of men, women, and children.
Bicep curls done with dumbbells focus on building the brachial section of this muscle group, which helps support a full range of motion for your elbows. You can generally perform dumbbell bicep curls at least three times weekly, with three sets of 12 reps. These curls are among the top bicep workouts because they are effortless to integrate into any workout routine.
Dumbbell curls are helpful if you’re new to bodybuilding or looking to develop bicep muscles for swimming, running, calisthenics, and other sports. You’ll want to start with smaller weights and establish your form, and stand or sit with your back straight, to prevent straining your back.
This exercise targets the brachii muscles, including variations such as the Zottman curl, which is great for bodybuilders and swimmers for building strength and endurance, the seated dumbbell curl, and the standing dumbbell curl. Men and women can begin with light to moderate weights on each arm, starting around five pounds and progressing heavier with consistent practice.
Dumbbell curls are a great way to support calisthenics, which builds the top bicep muscles and upper arms overall. Runners benefit from this technique in supporting upper arm strength and movement during a marathon or sprint.
Dumbbell curls are one of the easiest exercises for athletes to perform because they require little exertion. Additionally, light weights, such as two or three pounds, can be used to achieve many reps.
Dumbbell Curl Variations for Biceps Exercises
This technique has three main variations.
- Zottman curls
While performing dumbbell curls seated and standing are relatively similar, Zottman curls add a “twist” to the curling motion that targets all the muscles in the biceps. Standing dumbbell curls are most popular in beginner and novice-level workout classes, while seated dumbbell curls and Zottman curls are more familiar with bodybuilders.
Zottman curls are excellent for developing mass and strength. However, if you’re new to working with dumbbells, performing this motion seated or standing is generally popular and easy to start with before you try a modified style.
Dumbbell curls are great as mass-building bicep exercises and allow for many options for rotations, top-half and bottom-half curls, and other variations on this standard technique.
There are different types of dumbbell curls which are mentioned below.
- Standing dumbbell curl
- Seated dumbbell curl
- Zottman curl
1. Standing Dumbbell Curl
Standing dumbbell curls are done with your feet placed shoulder-width apart, or close to this distance, with both arms by your side, elbows tucked in.
Bilateral curls begin with lifting both arms at once, in a synchronized motion, until the dumbbells reach your shoulders, then lower the weights at the same pace until you reach your starting position. Repeat this as often as needed, starting with 12 reps in three sets.
This is one of the fundamental ways to work the biceps for individuals unfamiliar with dumbbells. It’s essential to start with lighter weights to establish proper form and posture before increasing reps and weights.
If you want to focus on each arm separately, lift each dumbbell individually, one at a time, alternating between performing the same number of reps. The alternating curls are the best biceps training method to rest each arm between reps.
Standing dumbbell curls are the most popular with beginners and bodybuilders because they allow individuals to improve form while building the upper body and biceps for visible results quickly.
These movements offer more outstanding balance and posture and build strength. The most common mistakes include the following.
- Curving the back
- Leaning forward can cause muscle strain
2. Seated Dumbbell Curl
Seated dumbbell curls are done similarly to the standing variation, with the same upper body posture. You can perform these in a bilateral or alternating fashion to build bicep muscles, though it’s essential to keep your back straight and posture upright to avoid strain.
Like standing dumbbell curls, alternating arms allow you to concentrate on each bicep. This option also allows you to rest in between reps with each arm so that you can get used to the exercise. You may consider alternating seating or standing dumbbell curls with heavier weights, which require fewer reps and sets.
This technique targets the lower biceps, or the brachioradialis and brachialis muscles, located at the front part of the arm. Seated dumbbell curls are famous for all levels of training and aim to work the arms mostly, with some support to the shoulders and abdomen. It’s a great exercise to start with five pounds, at three sets of five to six reps on each side.
It’s essential to remain stationary and avoid leaning into each curl of the movements, as this may cause injury or strain.
3. Zottman Curl
The Zottman curl is one of the best bicep workouts because it targets this section of your arm and adds a rotation towards the top of the motion when the dumbbells reach your shoulders. The Zottman curl is best performed in a standing position, with your arms on either side.
- As you lift the dumbbells, maintain the same stance, tucked-in elbows, and movement as a regular curl until you reach your shoulders.
- Once the dumbbells reach your shoulders, begin the rotational movement in a slow, controlled motion.
- Your hands gripped around the weights will twist, rotating so that your palms move from facing inward to the outside, then return with a rotation back.
- After completing this rotation, lower the weights in reverse to your starting position, and repeat.
Zottman curls take a bit of practice, mainly if you’re not accustomed to the rotation technique. You’ll want to start with light to moderate weights and move slowly, with six to eight reps. To build form and consistency, try fewer reps and stand in front of a mirror to ensure you maintain form.
It’s crucial to maintain proper posture throughout this procedure, as you may experience back strain and increased difficulty lifting each weight.
Keep the movements slow and deliberate, focusing on form, strength, and consistency. One of the most common mistakes made with the Zottman curl is a curved back, which can strain muscles and cause injury.
Zottman curls are famous for developing significant strength in the upper arms, including the full range of bicep muscles and increasing their size. The full range of muscles is successfully targeted because of the rotation of movement, which allows for a complete workout in this arm region.
This exercise is ideal for building mass and size and improves the forearms. It’s a great exercise to try twice a week with three sets of six to eight reps.
Chin-ups are one of the most challenging exercises for the upper body, and it’s a great way to build muscle in the upper back, shoulders, and biceps. Chin-ups provide stabilization while building strength in your core, making this exercise ideal for targeting a more comprehensive range of muscles and areas while focusing on the biceps.
There are several variations on performing chin-ups, which involve pulling your body up by gripping a hanging bar attached to a machine or mounted from a doorway or similar structure.
The movement requires that you feel comfortable with lifting your body weight. However, you can modify this approach with support to gain the benefits of this exercise at a calculated pace that you can gradually increase over time.
Since this exercise is one of the most challenging and requires a lot of upper body strength and stability, many people avoid it entirely. The key to performing this exercise is working slowly, using supported weights to counteract your body weight using a machine.
While it’s a challenging exercise to perform, it’s strongly recommended for developing bicep, shoulder, and back muscles. This technique also helps with posture and strengthening your spine.
The main bicep muscles targeted in chin-ups are the following.
- Latissimus dorsi
- Posterior deltoid
- Teres major.
Chin-ups and pull-ups also develop muscles around the biceps to strengthen the upper body, ideal for competitive sports, swimming, and training in other physically demanding activities. It’s also the best mass gaining exercise for the biceps.
Chin-ups are done with a mounted bar on a machine, a doorway, or a similar structure. With palms facing the body, grip the bar, shoulder-width apart, and slowly lift the body, maintaining a straight posture, both in the upper and lower body, until the chin meets the bar. This movement is best done slowly, just one or two reps at a time, by men and women.
Children may benefit from having an adult supervise chin-ups to ensure they are using proper form. This exercise is fun to try on a playground structure, which is generally easier for kids to perform, primarily because of their lighter bodyweight. Chin-ups are great for swimmers because they build the upper body and biceps, enhancing backstroke and other swimming techniques.
Chin-ups are great to include with calisthenics because this exercise utilizes the body’s weight instead of barbells and dumbbells. This movement is easy to work into a routine of three sets of two or three reps, three times weekly. Runners can similarly benefit from chin-ups because they build the core and upper body, supporting momentum and endurance.
Chin-Up Variations for Biceps Muscle Hypertrophy
There are several variations for focusing on hypertrophy and specifically building bicep muscles. The standard chin-up is typically the best for building mass and strength, though, for many people, it’s challenging and takes hours of practice to perform well. Other variations include the L-sit chin-up, machine-assisted chin-up, and band-assisted chin-up.
The standard and L-sit chin-ups are the most challenging and require practice over weeks and months. These movements are best for advanced bodybuilding and individuals with well-developed upper body strength.
Machine-assisted and band-assisted chin-ups are ideal for beginners and anyone who needs to build up upper arm and shoulder muscles. The assisted methods use a support method to slowly allow for more body weight, a popular option for beginners.
There are different types of chin-ups which are mentioned below.
- Standard chin-up
- Machine-assisted chin-up
- Band-assisted chin-up
- L-sit chin-up
1. Standard Chin-Up
Standard chin-ups are performed by lifting your arms to grip an overhead bar while keeping both arms straight and your knees slightly bent.
- Grip the bar with your palms facing towards you.
- Then, pull up your body, keeping your knees bent and in the same position during the process until your chin reaches the bar.
- It’s best to retract your shoulder blades to reduce pressure on this area of your body while engaging your core.
- Once you reach the top of the bar with your chin, pause for a moment, then lower your body at the same pace, in a controlled motion.
It’s essential to keep all movements slow and consistent, as any sudden change can strain your muscles or create discomfort. It’s also crucial to practice chin-ups regularly, even if it’s just one or two reps at a time, for one set, until you can gradually increase the number of reps.
Chin-ups are prone to mistakes, especially for people who are not familiar with this challenging exercise. Proper form and a stable upper body are required.
Without using the correct posture and form, there is a higher incidence of injury and muscle strain, which can impede future exercise. On the other hand, a correctly performed chin-up provides a lot of potential for building massive strength in greatly assisted versions.
While this exercise is popular with experienced bodybuilders and athletes, greatly assisted versions are ideal for beginners and intermediate bodybuilding. It’s essential, to begin with, a small set of two or three chin-ups for one or two sets until the process becomes more accessible and you can add more reps.
2. Machine-Assisted Chin-Up
Machine-assisted chin-ups are excellent for beginners and anyone who struggles with standard chin-ups. This exercise supports counterbalance weights, so you can set the amount of weight that works best for your ability and strength.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you can set the machine at 120 pounds, which offsets your weight by 20 pounds. This allows you to complete reps, about 4 to 6 in total, then rest. Repeat for a total of three sets.
While the machine-assisted chin-ups are easier to perform, they allow you to gradually lift more of your body weight over time as you gain strength. It’s a great way to build the same muscle groups targeted with standard and alternate chin-up procedures. Practicing and maintaining good form is also essential, as you increase the weight to gain the maximum benefits of this exercise.
Chin-ups are excellent for bulking bicep size, which works quickly with this exercise if performed correctly. Machine-assisted sit-ups are done by kneeling on a pad or bench lifted with a pulley system based on the weight level.
The weight set on the machine offsets the body weight, which can be decreased over time to use more body weight. A handlebar is at the top of the device, used to perform the chin-up while kneeling on the machine lifts the body with the counterweights.
3. Band-Assisted Chin-Up
Using a band to assist with your chin-up routine is a great way to help you reach your exercise goals. These resistance bands are typically long enough to create a loop around the bar, then pull it through the other end to clinch tightly, so it will support your knees to help hoist or lift you during this exercise.
- Grip the bar with both hands at a shoulder-width distance, and slip both your knees inside the band’s loop.
- Begin to lift or pull your body up until your collarbone reaches the bar.
- As you reach the top, push your chest out, squeezing your biceps and shoulder blades down and to the back to alleviate any stress.
While many people perform machine-assisted chin-ups at the gym, this is an alternative method to achieve similar results with support.
This technique takes a bit of practice to get used to, though it’s a meaningful way to develop and bulk up the complete set of bicep muscles without weights.
A common mistake with this technique is focusing, which can strain the back. For this reason, it’s crucial to start this exercise slowly, with a focus on posture and proper form, to avoid injury.
Band-assisted chin-ups are not as popular at the gym as the machine-assisted option, though they are excellent for moderate-level bodybuilding. This exercise is ideal for performing twice or three times weekly.
4. L-sit Chin-Up
L-sit chin-ups are ideal for advanced bodybuilding and provide a significant variation from the standard chin-up procedure. Maintaining this form requires practice while remaining steady as you lift to align your chin with the bar or rings. This pull-up movement requires that you achieve an L-sit position, where both legs are extended in front of your body, perpendicular to your upper body.
This exercise is best for individuals with well-developed core strength, upper body muscles and power, and flexibility. It’s also crucial to ensure you have no mobility limitation in the spine or shoulders so that you can achieve each chin-up without discomfort.
While all chin-up techniques provide the best bicep workout and support muscle groups around the biceps, standard and L-sit variations of this exercise are best for advanced bodybuilding and core development. In contrast, band-assisted and machine-assisted chin-ups are well suited for beginners and intermediate levels.
L-sit chin-ups are the most challenging exercise duration and require a strict form to produce the L-shape and maintain it for the exercise duration. For this reason, this isn’t the most popular movement among beginners, though it’s a favorite among professional bodybuilders. It’s essential to perform this exercise at least twice or three times weekly, in sets of two or three, with three to five reps.
5. Barbell Row
Barbell rows are great for developing and defining your biceps, lats, and the back of your shoulders. As many barbell row exercises are done standing or in various positions that require lower body stability, you’ll find that rows also help develop your core and hamstrings. You’ll find high reps easier to perform with light to moderate-level barbell weights, which you can lower with heavier weights over time.
This exercise is ideal for men and women, with the option of using light, five-pound weights for beginners. There is also the option for using the bar without weights to build momentum and proper form.
Children can perform this exercise without weights, then add two or three-pound for two or three reps for two sets, and adults can repeat three sets of six to eight. This technique is ideal for three times each week.
This exercise works the upper arm brachii muscles and the brachialis and brachioradialis in the lower arm. It’s an excellent standard workout for swimmers to build their upper body and arm strength.
Bodybuilders enhance bicep growth and appearance, and runners can gain better balance in their upper body for support. Barbell rows are excellent for calisthenics and focus on curls for all bicep muscles.
Barbell Row Types for Biceps Muscle Growth
Several excellent barbell rows include the reverse-grip barbell row, cable-seated row, and the incline dumbbell row. All techniques are ideal for increasing strength, and the underhand grip for barbell rows is preferred. Reverse-grip barbell rows require the palms facing inward and down so that the back top and lower arms rise as the weights are lifted.
Cable seated rows and incline dumbbell rows using an underhand grip allow for more consistent movement and stability while seated or standing. All row exercises are excellent for targeting the full range of bicep muscles, including building mass and strength. Cable seated rows are typically the most popular for beginners, and bodybuilders commonly practice all variations.
Barbell rows also provide a great way to build mass and allow you to lift heavier weights for a more “explosive” exercise routine.
There are different types of barbell rows which are listed below.
- Reverse-grip barbell row
- Cable seated row (underhand grip)
- Incline dumbbell row (underhand grip)
1. Reverse-Grip Barbell Row
The reverse-grip barbell row is essential for any bodybuilding workout and primarily targets the biceps, shoulders, and arms. It’s also a vital technique for strengthening the back muscles.
This exercise is performed by standing with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent into a squat.
- Grip the barbell with your palms facing upward, and lower your upper body, hinging at the hips to maintain a straight back.
- Continue to descend with the barbell until your hands reach just below your knees, then slowly reverse, bringing the barbell up to your chest.
- Keep your torso in the same position as you lift and lower the barbell, repeating this row motion for at least six to eight reps.
Three sets of four to six reps are a great way to start this technique if you’re new to this exercise. It’s one of the best bicep lifts and training for heavier rows and lifts.
These exercises focus on the brachii and brachialis regions of the biceps, supporting the elbows and improving mobility.
It’s a popular exercise for all levels of training and is critical for building full arm strength. It’s best to perform these movements at least twice or three times weekly, starting with two or three-pound weights, in three sets of six to eight reps.
2. Cable Seated Row (Underhand Grip)
Cable-seated rows are popular in many workout routines and focus on the biceps and many other upper body muscle groups. These rows target the following.
- The brachial part of the biceps
- The middle back muscles or latissimus dorsi
- The rhomboids located between the shoulder blades
- The trapezius muscles, including the upper back, neck, and shoulders
You’ll find the underhand grip cable-seated row functions similarly to the movement of a rowing machine, though in this technique, your body remains stationary.
This exercise is seated on a bench attached to a device with horizontal weights and footplates to maintain a stable position.
- Grip the handle and pull towards the center of your abdomen while keeping your back straight during every rep.
- Once the weight meets the middle of your torso, pause briefly, then return to the beginning position, moving at the same pace. It may seem beneficial to lean back slightly as you pull the weight towards you, though it’s best to remain stationary and focus on repetitions.
Cable seated rows are excellent for developing the front section of the bicep muscles. These are quickly done with ten to twelve reps in three to four sets of light to medium-level weights.
Start with five to ten pounds to get acquainted with the motion, then increase weight gradually. This exercise is excellent for beginners, intermediate bodybuilding, or anyone looking to improve upper body strength.
Some of the common mistakes performed with this exercise include the following.
- Rounding your back
- Moving too fast
- Reducing your range of motion
It’s essential to follow through with each rep evenly and consistently to get the most out of this exercise.
3. Incline Dumbbell Row (Underhand Grip)
This exercise variation involves rowing on an incline bench, which gives you the benefit of targeting a full range of bicep muscles while exercising your lower lats.
One of the significant advantages of this exercise is the bench, which keeps your upper body aligned and stationary so that you can focus on the rows. Incline dumbbell rows target the upper back, improving strength in this area, including the whole bicep muscles, shoulders, and lats.
While you can perform this exercise as an alternating exercise, it’s most famous as a bilateral exercise and an excellent option for beginners. You’ll find this technique gives you the most for minimal movement, as the incline position allows you to work against gravity to enhance the impact of the weights.
Considering all the row exercises, the incline dumbbell row is the best beginner exercise, especially for women and children new to weight training. You can quickly include the other row techniques, which are more accessible with lighter weights, especially the cable-seated rows, followed by the barbell rows.
This exercise is done by leaning back on a workout bench seat, with elbows at each side, then lifting each arm, individually or together, to complete the curl. Each curl moves towards the shoulder, considering a brief pause, then lower to the side and repeat.
A common mistake with this technique is moving forward while performing curls. This exercise is best performed with a straight back, with only the arms moving. The best weights to use are five pounds to start, for three sets of six to eight.
6. Hammer Curl
The hammer curl is similar in movement to the standard bicep curl, only with your palms facing each other, towards the front of your body, as you lift each weight. It’s a simple exercise that offers some helpful variations, and it’s a great workout to support bodybuilders, swimmers, and support calisthenics.
The hammer curls target all areas of the biceps, especially the brachii, the top part of this muscle group. It’s also an excellent exercise for the shoulders and the whole bicep muscles. It’s a popular exercise for men and women and is ideal for beginners as one of the first exercises to perform with weights.
One of the most common mistakes during the hammer curl is leaning into each curl and not keeping the back straight, which is essential to prevent injury.
Children can perform this exercise with light, five-pound weights, while adults can choose heavier options. There are many variations of the hammer curls, these include the following.
- Cable rope
- Dumbbell curl
- Preacher hammer curls
The effects are consistent with regular practice, offering solid, muscular development in the bicep and arms overall.
One of the most critical aspects of performing hammer curls successfully is to focus on the movement and bicep muscle group while keeping your body stationary, either in a seated or standing position. It’s a great exercise to support bodybuilders and heavier lifting techniques, as hammer curls enhance bicep growth.
Swimmers develop more muscular upper arms and shoulders due to strokes and other techniques. Runners benefit from enhanced upper body strength due to performing regular hammer curls.
This exercise targets two main parts of the biceps, including the brachioradialis, which are part of the forearm muscles, and the brachialis in the upper arm.
Hammer curls are widely popular for all levels of training and a great way to introduce weights to men, women, and children. Hammer curls are great for developing mass and strength. It’s a tremendous bicep-building workout that is best to start with small, two or three-pound weights, then progress to heavier dumbbells over time.
These curls are easy to add to any workout routine and can safely be performed twice or three times weekly. This is one of the best arm workout methods, which is great to practice in sets of three with eight to twelve reps.
Hammer Curl Variations for Biceps
Hammer curls are widely popular among all abilities, from beginners to bodybuilding professionals. Cable rope, dumbbell, and cable rope preacher hammer curls are variations of this exercise.
Dumbbell hammer curls are excellent for expanding size and mass, whereas cable rope hammer curls are great for building strength. Cable rope preacher hammer curls build back and shoulder muscles and strokes biceps.
The most popular and different types of hammer curls for experienced bodybuilders, and anyone looking to focus on form and movement, are dumbbell hammer curls.
- Cable rope hammer curl
- Dumbbell hammer curl
- Cable rope preacher hammer curl
1. Cable Rope Hammer Curl
Cable rope hammer curls are great for building bicep mass, and this variation works the full range of muscles in this area, including the brachial, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles. These curls are done from a standing position, with your feet positioned about shoulder-width apart, and this exercise is essential for developing strength and working the forearm flexors.
The pulley of the cable machine begins from the floor or a lower part of the machine, which connects to a rope and two handles.
- Grip both handles with your palms facing inward towards each other.
- Lift the rope with a controlled motion, from a standing position, lifting until your elbows are fully bent and locked.
- Then, lower the weights in the same movement and pace, reverse, and repeat.
This type of hammer curl is best to perform in three or four sets maximum with up to ten reps for each. The cable hammer curl exercise gives you consistency, which is beneficial if you’re not yet accustomed to working with free-weight techniques. It’s widely popular with beginners and experienced bodybuilders alike, and it’s an effective exercise for building bicep mass.
Common mistakes for this exercise include a slouched posture or leaning forward with each rep, which can strain muscles and cause injury. It’s a popular exercise for beginners and a great technique to practice three times weekly, for three sets of eight to ten reps.
2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Dumbbell hammer curls are performed similarly to the cable rope method, either standing or seated and with bilateral lifts. It’s a simple exercise for all levels of training, especially for beginners, who are working on improving form and increasing muscle size.
Seated hammer curls are best to sit on a steady bench or stool, gripping each dumbbell and positioning them so that your palms are facing inward and your elbows are tucked into your sides.
Dumbbell hammer curls are commonly done as a bilateral exercise, either seated or standing.
- Lift both arms slowly until you reach your shoulders while keeping your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
- When you reach the top, pause, squeeze your biceps, slowly lower the weights at the same pace, and then repeat.
- Continue these reps up to six to eight, in sets of three, and keep your torso and lower body stationary.
Hammer curls performed by dumbbells target the brachialis, located in the upper section of the arm, and the forearm muscles, known as the brachioradialis. It’s also a popular exercise for beginners and ideal to start with light weights, around two to three pounds on each side. Hammer curls are best with many reps, about ten to twelve, with three sets.
The most common issue with performing hammer curls is a lack of proper form or a curved back, which can strain the body, and back muscles. Fortunately, this exercise is easy to master, popular, and recommended for beginners.
3. Cable Rope Preacher Hammer Curl
The cable rope preacher hammer curl exercise focuses on the brachialis muscles and helps build bicep mass. A bench is positioned at an angle that allows you to focus on the arm movement without placing additional strain on the shoulders and the back to perform this movement. This bicep exercise is best completed in sets of 8 to 15, with two or three groups.
This technique begins by facing the angled bench, resting on the back piece, placed about from the pulley machine. The straight bar is attached to the machine and pulley with a rope.
- When you sit on the preacher bench, extend your arms to grip the bar, and pull towards the pad as your starting position.
- Pull the weight towards your shoulders, then squeeze the biceps once you reach the top and pause, then reverse the movement and repeat.
- You should do all movements slowly to ensure you gain the most out of this exercise.
Doing the exercise quickly is a technique in that you can quickly increase the heaviness of the weights as you grow comfortable with the position and method. It’s a significant variation because you can focus solely on your biceps and arms as your body rests on the preacher’s bench.
Since this technique allows for more excellent support, some beginners’ main mistake is curving the upper back. It’s essential to perform this movement with light, two or five-pound weights until momentum is established. Cable rope preacher curls are easier to increase with weights over time and in frequency, which helps build strength quickly. It’s a popular technique for bodybuilders and athletes who swim and perform other sports.
7. Incline Curl
The incline curl is done similarly to a seated hammer curl, with the bench seat set to an inclined position. In this position, with the back against the bench seat, each arm lifts a dumbbell to the shoulders while keeping the elbows close to the sides. Incline curls are best to start with lighter weights and slowly get used to this technique.
This movement allows you to work with this specific position to enhance the biceps and the surrounding muscles. It’s a relatively easy way to exercise the biceps for beginners, and you can perform most variations with a bench and a set of dumbbells.
Incline curls are ideal for fitting into your current exercise routine or starting your new weight training routine.
- To get the most out of this exercise, set the incline of your workout bench seat to an angle of between 60 and 70 degrees.
- Lift each arm, keeping elbows close to the sides, until the weight reaches the shoulders, then lower and repeat.
These curls are best to practice twice or three times each week, with three sets of five pounds or more.
Men, women, and children can benefit from incline curls. While men can start with ten pounds at the start, women can use five to ten pounds, depending on experience, and children begin with two to five pounds.
It’s an excellent exercise for supporting calisthenics, as the biceps’ full range of muscles is developed. Bodybuilders will notice visible results in repeating these exercises at least twice or three times each week.
Swimmers will gain better mobility and strength, as well as endurance. Runners benefit from increased upper body strength and mobility, providing improved momentum for marathons and runs. Posture is essential when performing incline curls to prevent injury to the back, which is a common mistake.
Incline Curl Variations for Biceps Strength
Common incline curl variations include working with the following.
- Hammer curls
- Palms-out incline curls
These techniques are great for beginners, which help build mass and strength in the upper arms and bicep muscles.
All three techniques are excellent for building mass, with palms-out incline curl being a perfect choice for strength and mass.
The palms-out incline curl is also the most prevalent variation, especially among beginners and anyone new to weight training. Incline dumbbell and hammer curls work from the bench, with a 60 to 70-degree angle, while palms-out incline curls focus on a formal sitting or standing position.
Incline hammer curls hold the weights with the palms facing inward, while dumbbell curls face upward.
Thsee are some of the different types of incline curls exercise listed below.
- Incline dumbbell curl
- Palms-out include curl
- Incline hammer curl
1. Incline Dumbbell Curl
Incline dumbbell curls on a workout bench set to an incline in a seated position. Both weights should be at your sides before you begin.
- Grip each weight in your hand and raise one at a time (alternating) or together (bilateral) at a slow, steady pace, with your palms facing up, and moving towards your shoulders.
- Pause at the top of your shoulders, then reverse at the same rate.
You’ll only need to raise your lower arms while squeezing your upper arms, including the biceps. This movement is best in three sets, for up to 15 reps.
One of the significant benefits of this workout is how stable your body remains during the exercise so that it’s great for any level of training. It’s always best to start with a lower weight, about five pounds or less, on either side so that you can become comfortable with the momentum and increase your weight.
Incline dumbbell curls target the brachii muscles and are a popular option for all levels of training, including beginners, due to the straightforward nature of this movement. It’s an important exercise to increase mobility and strength in the upper arms.
2. Palms-Out Incline Curl
This variation closely follows the incline dumbbell curl, only with your palms facing outward. This position and change in palm positioning can maximize the impact of developing the inner top section of the bicep muscles.
With your palms facing out, this dumbbell curl allows you to target better the peak or top of the biceps, which is ideal for sharpening and defining these muscles.
Palms-out incline curls are performed in the same position as the regular incline dumbbell curls, either as alternating or bilateral movements.
This exercise is ideal for working the full range of bicep muscles, including the forearms and elbows. It’s a popular workout for beginners and anyone building visual mass and bulk in the upper arms. It’s an easy technique to fit into a workout routine three times a week with three sets of six to eight reps.
3. Incline Hammer Curl
The incline hammer curl is performed on an inclined workout bench in the same seated position. You begin with each weight by your sides and your arms straight. Both feet should be positioned on either side of the bench to steady your position while you lift each dumbbell towards your shoulders, with your palms facing inward.
As the dumbbells reach your shoulders, squeeze your biceps, and keep your upper arm still, moving only your lower arms for this exercise.
You can start this technique with alternating reps, about 8 to 12, and switch to bilateral movements once you feel comfortable with the selected weight level. This exercise is excellent for anyone starting a new training routine, with the option of increasing weights and reps once you get accustomed to the style of this technique.
This exercise targets the long head of the biceps, a part of the brachii muscles, and allows for quicker muscle building, which makes this technique popular for bodybuilders. It’s a great routine two or three times a week, with twelve reps in three sets. Posture is critical to maintaining while performing this exercise, as curving the back can lead to injury and strain.
Rowing is a popular technique that integrates well into any weight-training exercise routine, and it’s a great movement that supports swimmers, bodybuilding, and calisthenics.
Rows work the upper body, either through the use of a rowing machine that uses resistance, and weights, either with a cable-pulley or free weights. These rowing exercises are excellent for working multiple muscle groups, including the full biceps, upper arms, and supporting shoulders and abdominals.
In addition to working the whole arm muscles, including the biceps, rowing is an effective way to lose weight quickly while training for rowing on the water or similar sports that require strength and endurance. You’ll find that your biceps will show results after regular rowing techniques with weights.
Row Variations for Biceps Pump
There are some significant row variations that build your biceps. These techniques are essential to creating the best bicep routine for many workout goals, from building mass and strength to losing weight.
Some of the most common, popular row methods include Birddog rows, RDL rows, dead stop rows, and half-kneeling lat-pulldowns. These techniques are variations on “pulling” a weight towards the body, maintaining while squeezing the biceps, supports, and holding the elbows tucked at the sides.
Deadstop rows are done pulling up, while Birddog and RDL rows pull up with the elbow pulling further back to bring the weight to the shoulders.
These exercises are great for building balance and strength. A half-kneeling lat pulldown is one of the more effortless movements, as it keeps the body steady on one knee while pulling the weight from an upward angle down to the shoulders. This workout is ideal for strength training and is popular for beginners.
These are some of the different types of row exercises on can perform in the gym.
- Deadstop row
- Half kneeling lat pulldown
- RDL row
- Birddog row
1. Deadstop Row
Deadstop rows are performed by lifting a weight upward, using one arm at a time, while supporting your body with one hand and knee on a workout bench. This movement begins with the weight on the floor, where you grab the dumbbell with your free hand.
- Slowly, pull the dumbbell upward towards your chest and pause for a moment, squeezing your biceps before lowering the weight to the ground.
- Complete as many reps as needed, up to 15 with lighter weights of five pounds or less, and up to 8 with heavier weights of fifteen or twenty pounds.
This exercise is ideal for increasing weight over time and stabilizing the bench to focus on one side. It’s essential to keep your elbow at your sides to avoid straining any muscles. Also, keep your back straight, without any rounding, to prevent injury.
In addition to the biceps, this exercise works the following muscles.
- Back center
Not only is this one of the best bicep workouts, but it’s also a great upper body exercise that allows you to engage your core muscles. This bending-over row variation supports and builds the brachii bicep muscles, positively impacting the shoulders and back muscles.
Deadstop rows are popular among bodybuilders and intermediate weight training, allowing great visual focus on movement. These are great to perform in three sets of four to six reps, with light to moderate weights of five to ten pounds. It’s crucial to maintain a straight back and a stable position to avoid injury, as this is a common mistake during this exercise.
2. Half Kneeling Lat Pulldown
Half Kneeling Lat Pulldown is similar to a standard pulldown, with the addition of using one knee to steady your posture and position. This technique targets the biceps and the core, arms, and back while improving balance in the lower body. It’s a great exercise to incorporate into a full-body workout, emphasizing your biceps and arms.
- Start with one knee on the ground and one positioned at a 90-degree angle, with your foot flat on the ground so that you’re lifting one knee. This creates a stable beginning before you start your exercise.
- You can adjust your knees to be broader or narrower, though it’s essential to maintain the 90-degree angle for both.
- Grip the weight on the rope attached to the pulley, and pull down as you exhale, slowly, towards your chest.
- Return to the starting position with a slow movement, inhale, then repeat.
You may want to begin this exercise with lighter weights to get used to the movement and form. Ensure that your back remains straight and breathing even, as this is a long movement that requires stability and several muscle groups in the upper and lower body.
The Half Kneeling Lat Pulldown exercise targets the top portion of the bicep muscles, known as the brachii, and the shoulders, to improve upper-body mobility and strength.
Common mistakes performed during this technique include moving or bending from one side to the other instead of remaining stationary. This exercise is ideal for six to eight reps in three sets, with light weights of ten pounds to start.
3. RDL Row
The RDL row, the Romanian deadlift row, requires some balance from your lower body while lifting and lowering the weight with the opposite arm. While this exercise works the biceps and upper arms, it’s also excellent for isolating the hamstrings and improving balance.
- To perform this technique, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hinge at the hips with your back straight.
- Grip an EZ-bar or barbell with light or medium weights, and pull the bar to your lower abdomen, keeping your elbows tucked at the sides.
- Once you reach the top, pause to squeeze your muscles, lower slowly, and repeat.
The RDL Row exercise is excellent for anyone who wants to improve upper body strength and posture. It’s crucial to avoid curving your back during this movement and keep each rep consistent and slow.
This technique improves all the bicep muscles and is ideal for all levels of training. It’s common to bend or curve the back during this exercise, which you should avoid to prevent injury. Three sets of six to eight reps are ideal for performing three times weekly.
4. Birddog Row
The Birddog Row exercise is a great full-body workout that focuses on the biceps and allows you to work on your balance. The exercise is done on a bench or mat, positioned on both your hands and knees, with your back straight.
- In one arm, you grip and raise the weight to your shoulder, from your mat, or just below the bench, bending your elbow and keeping it close to your body.
- At the same time, the opposite leg is lifted, then lowered as you reverse the row.
Birddog rows take some practice due to the balance requirements and good form. You can work towards eight reps on either side and two sets. Begin with light weights, at about two or three pounds, and work your way to heavier weights as you become comfortable with this technique.
One of the most critical aspects of performing Birddog rows is keeping your body stable and engaging your core. It’s a great workout that targets numerous areas of the body while focusing on your biceps primarily.
Birddog rows target the whole bicep muscles while supporting and strengthening the back and shoulders. It’s a popular exercise in gym classes for beginners and intermediate training levels.
Birddog curls are best to perform as a part of your routine, about three times a week, in sets of three with six to eight reps. It’s essential to maintain a straight back, as curving or slouching can lead to injury and strain, which is familiar with this exercise.
9. Concentration Curl
Concentration curls focus on technique and fo and building bicep muscles. This exercise is a bit varied from the traditional curl in that it primarily focuses on one area of your body: the bicep muscles.
This technique is performed by sitting on a bench with your upper arm resting on your inner thigh so that you can use the full range of this arm to lift a dumbbell. This is a great bicep workout for isolating this group of muscles and works well in conjunction with other techniques, including drag curls.
Concentration curls are ideal for targeting all parts of the biceps and the triceps and forearms. It’s essential to maintain a steady, straight back to remain stationary during each rep, as the most common mistake is curving the back, which can strain muscles.
Developing the biceps is ideal for swimming techniques, which require entire upper body movement and endurance. Bodybuilders find this technique a favorite due to its visible focus on the biceps and triceps. It’s also an excellent exercise for calisthenics and runners, supporting building the upper body during athletic runs and sports.
Men and women can focus on creating leaner, strong biceps with concentration curls, while children can learn how to maintain a safe, proper form and enhance muscular growth with lighter weights. This exercise is ideal for performing three times a week, with three sets of eight to ten reps.
Concentration Curl Variations for Biceps Pump
There are several variations to this concentration curl, including performing seated or standing with a band, cable, or close grip. Each option is excellent for building strength and mass in and around the bicep muscles and allows you to focus on this area solely, so you can squeeze the muscles and work at your own pace.
Concentration curls and cable concentration curls are popular for beginners and can help advance and develop biceps quickly for heavier weights. Concentration curls and close-grip concentration curls work with free weights, while cable curls and band curls allow for support with a machine and exercise bands, which are popular for new trainers.
These are some of the different types of concentration curls.
- Concentration curl
- Close-grip concentration curl
- Cable concentration curl
- Band concentration curl
1. Concentration Curl
To complete a standing concentration curl, you’ll need to position your body in a wide stance, with your feet firmly on the floor, more than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend forward with your back straight, and grip one dumbbell.
- Ensure that you’re bending at the waist to avoid curving your back.
- Rest the back of your upper arm against your thigh and perform as many curls as needed.
These concentration curls are an essential part of good bicep workouts, which may accelerate the growth of these muscles in size and mass. It’s a popular workout for athletes and bodybuilders to build visually appealing biceps.
Concentration curls develop the entire bicep muscles, including the triceps and forearms. It’s important to sit or stand straight with this technique, to maximize the benefit of the exercise and prevent back strain.
Concentration curls can be done two to three times weekly, with three sets of eight to ten reps.
2. Close-Grip Concentration Curl
Close-grip concentration curls work both biceps with these full curls. You’ll find this technique offers a solid focus on your upper arms and is performed by sitting on a bench, with your legs on either side and feet flat on the floor, so you can use the center of the apparatus to grip and lift your EZ-bar or barbell.
- To perform this concentration curl, bring both hands to the center of the barbell or EZ-bar, and grab with your palms facing upward.
- Sit with your back hinged at the hip, maintaining a straight back and bent position.
- With your elbows and upper arms supported on the bench, begin to raise the bar, using your elbows to keep your position stable.
- Once the bar reaches your shoulders, briefly pause and squeeze your biceps, then slowly lower the weight.
- Repeat as many times as needed.
The close grip curls target the outer top part of the biceps, which includes the peak of this muscle group. This exercise is excellent for anyone who wants to sculpt the biceps and upper arms in general.
This technique is best to start at two to three pounds and increase with experience. It’s a popular workout for bodybuilders because it targets all bicep muscles. This technique is ideal three times weekly with three sets of six to eight reps.
3. Cable Concentration Curl
The cable concentration variation of the concentration curl is done with a cable and pulley, which keeps the movement consistent and promotes peak area growth on your biceps. Cable concentration curls are performed by standing tall, bending the knees, or squatting. Stand at least two feet from the machine and grip the handle to pull it towards your chest.
One of the most significant advantages of this exercise is the ability to vary the angle of pulling the weight. You can drag the handle from behind while facing away from the machine. Facing the device, you can curl, pull the cable from the bottom of the machine, towards the top, or sit at a specific level. Cable curls allow you to customize the angle from where you pull the weight to adjust which method best fits your routine.
This exercise is popular among all levels of training as it provides consistent momentum and the ability to increase weights quickly. It’s crucial to maintain a steady position, avoid the common mistake of back injury, and set the weight to five pounds to start, with three sets of six to eight reps.
4. Band Concentration Curl
Another significant variation of the concentration curl involves using resistance bands. These are performed by attaching the loop at one end of the band to your foot, then pulling to stretch the band as you curl your arm. The higher you pull the handle, the more resistance and weight you’ll experience, which allows you to adjust the length and height of the movement.
If you’re new to this routine, you’ll want to try this technique seated on a bench, slightly bent forward, to test how far you prefer to extend the band. These band concentration curls are ideal for building your triceps, shoulders, and biceps.
Assisted pull-up resistance bands give you the ability to increase your strength and work towards using barbells, dumbbells, and increasing weights.
Band concentration curls are an excellent alternative for beginners or anyone new to starting weights. It’s popular for all levels of training and can easily fit into a workout twice or three times weekly. This exercise works all the bicep muscles and should be done with a straight back to prevent lower back pain and muscle strain.
10. Preacher Curl
The preacher curl is ideal for toning your arms overall, with a strong focus on the biceps. It’s an important exercise that’s powerful in building your biceps and upper body’s strength and mass. Preacher curls focus on the whole bicep muscles while targeting the forearms and triceps.
This movement is done by sitting or standing with weights facing a machine or cable pulley. The handles are gripped with both hands, palms facing up, then pulling the handles upward, with elbows tucked to the sides, until the handles reach the shoulders. Then, the weights are lowered slowly and repeated.
The preacher curl exercise is excellent for calisthenics, as it builds stamina and endurance for a full-body workout, including the arms and shoulders. It’s a wonderful way for bodybuilders to build mass in the biceps, enhancing their appearance.
Swimmers will find preacher curls improve upper arm, shoulder, and back strength for endurance and swimming techniques. Runners also experience improved endurance and arms support for swinging and supporting the lower body during a run.
Preacher curls are ideal for men who want to increase mass and bicep size and women looking to build muscle while toning arms and the upper body.
Children can benefit from lighter weights, about two to five pounds, and men and women can begin with ten pounds until this weight can be improved with an improved experience. Three sets of six to eight reps are beneficial for great results three times a week.
Preacher Curl Variations for Biceps Pumps
Several variations of the preacher curl are different from the standard bicep curls. These include cable, EZ-bar, and dumbbell preacher curls. Spider curls and machine preacher curls are also great techniques centered around the biceps and upper arms.
Dumbbell preacher curls and spider curls are most popular in intermediate to advanced training levels. All preacher curl variations contribute to excellent strength and mass, especially dumbbell curls, focusing on building size.
Cable and machine preacher curls offer a consistent pace and increase weights due to their easier use. Dumbbell preacher curls, spider curls, and EZ-bar preacher curls are performed with free weights, which may require more practice for beginners.
Here are some of the different types of preacher curls listed below.
- Cable preacher curl
- EZ-bar preacher curl
- Dumbbell preacher curl
- Spider curl
- Machine preacher curl
1. Cable Preacher Curl
Cable preacher curls are done with a pulley machine with a rope attached to weights and a handle. Like other bicep exercises that use this system, you’ll find the movements consistent and accessible to use heavier weights once you become comfortable with this exercise. There are several ways to perform this curl, including hammer grip or underhand.
These curls are done seated on a bench, facing the machine, with the handle gripped by both hands.
Pull the bar towards your chest, either by pulling with a hammer grip or pulling upward into a curl with your palms facing upward.
Both variations of these cable preacher curls are excellent for fitting into your biceps workout. These exercises are great for beginners who want to maximize bicep and upper arm mass quickly, starting with lighter weights and moving to heavier sets with progress.
One of the most common mistakes with the cable preacher curl is slouching forward or leaning into each rep, which can cause strain and muscle injury. It’s a popular workout for professional bodybuilding and is an excellent technique to practice three times a week, in three sets of eight to ten reps.
2. EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
EZ-bar preacher curls are like cable curls, with the option of using a wider grip in the grooves of the bar. This exercise is done with the same position as the cable preacher curls, with an EZ bar.
With the same form and motion as the cable preacher curls, lift the bar and move towards your chest, then pause briefly to squeeze your upper arm muscles, then lower slowly lower the bar and repeat.
3. Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Dumbbell preacher curls are the most versatile option for this technique, with lifting with a hammer curl, bilateral movements, and single-arm lifts.
These DB preacher curls are performed on a preacher bench with your palms facing upward or inward (for a hammer curl), gripping the dumbbells. Lift one or both weights at a time, squeezing at the top of the curl to work the bicep muscles, and pause briefly before lowering to the starting position.
The dumbbell preacher curl exercise builds mass in the biceps and works the full range of muscles. It’s ideal for performing in sets of three, for six to eight reps, three times each week.
This is a popular option with bodybuilders and a great way to enhance muscle growth and development for beginners in the biceps and upper arms. It’s crucial to maintain a stationary position, to avoid muscle strain with this exercise. Start with three to five pounds, and increase with experience.
4. Spider Curl
Spider curls are done over a bench or box, or you can position your body on a preacher curl bench in reverse. The barbell, EZ-bar, or dumbbell is gripped in front of the bench, so you’re facing forward and over the seat. Pull the weight towards your shoulders, then pause to hold them in this position, before reversing the movement, then repeat.
You can quickly perform a spider curl exercise with the following equipment.
- EZ bar
It’s best to perform at least twice weekly, with three to five sets of up to eight reps.
The spider curl exercise is ideal for starting with three pounds and increasing with strength and experience. It’s common to bend or move with this lift, though it’s vital to remain stationary to avoid injury. This exercise targets all bicep muscles and is popular for bodybuilders.
5. Machine Preacher Curl
The machine preacher curl is a great way to build mass in the biceps while remaining stationary, and it’s the perfect method of getting acquainted with this type of movement before trying free weights.
You can also increase the heaviness of the weights with the machine while remaining stable. Some machines offer the option of using the single-arm or alternating arms, or you can choose the bilateral method, which evenly distributes the weight to both arms during each rep.
To perform machine preacher curls, sit on the machine’s bench, typically next to the weights, and connect with a pulley handle. There’s a convenient bench for your arms to rest, facing your palms up as you grip the bar.
- Pull the bar slowly, keeping your upper arms in place while your lower arms bend at the elbows, lifting the bar towards your chest and shoulders.
- Hold this position briefly, then lower and repeat.
Machine Preacher curls allow you to increase weight while avoiding pressure on your back and spine while working on this technique. This can be done with eight to ten reps with each set and practiced in three groups.
These exercises are great to perform three times a week, as a part of the workout routine, for three sets of six to eight reps. All biceps areas are developed with the machine preacher curls, which are excellent for the entire arm and upper body strength.
A common mistake for many people is to lean forward or curve the back, which can cause strain on the back muscles. This is a popular exercise at the gym and among training of all levels. Ten pounds is a good weight to start at, as there is consistent control with these movements.
11. Drag Curl
Drag curls are excellent exercises for increasing the size of your biceps and also help improve your posture and form. This technique focuses on bringing the barbell to your chest without swinging or moving the weights away from the body. You’ll find this exercise targets all your bicep muscles and helps sharpen the peak of these muscles.
This technique begins with the bar at your upper thigh and palms facing outside while lifting or curling the weight. As the barbell reaches your chest, move your elbows back slightly while ensuring that the bar stays close to your body. You’re essentially lifting or dragging the bar to your torso, then lowering the weights at the same pace.
This movement targets the brachii or top portion of the biceps. This section is made of two parts, called the short head and the long head, which function together for better mobility.
Drag Curl Variations for Biceps Pump
Bicep exercises improve considerably when adding a few drag curl reps into your workout. You’ll find this helps pump the size of your biceps, including increasing the mass. This exercise is easy to perform with barbells, dumbbells, or a weight machine.
The barbell drag curl is ideal for a consistent approach to this technique, while the Smith machine offers a more supportive option. These variations work on biceps, upper arms, and upper shoulder strength. Dumbbell drag curls are ideal for building mass and strength, either by using one arm at a time, in an alternating fashion, or through bilateral movement.
Here are some of the different types of drag curls one can attempt.
- Barbell drag curl
- Smith machine drag curl
- Dumbbell drag curl
1. Barbell Drag Curl
The barbell drag curl is one of the best variations because it keeps your lift consistent on both sides as you raise the weights. It’s also easier to keep the bar closer to your body as you increase the weights to your torso. If you’re considering other methods of drag curls, such as dumbbells, this technique is ideal for practicing.
The barbell drag curl exercise is done by gripping the barbell, palms facing outward, then dragging or pulling up along the body, keeping elbows close to the sides. To pull the weights to a curl, keep them close to the body, lower slowly, at the same pace, and repeat.
Barbell drag curls are most popular with bodybuilders and experienced trainers who want to add a bit of a challenge to their workout routine.
These curls are best to perform with light weights to start, such as five pounds on each side, for three sets of three to five reps.
2. Smith Machine Drag Curl
The Smith machine drag curl is a great way to isolate the bicep muscles while increasing your mass. If you’re new to using this machine at your gym, you may want to consider using lifting gloves for a comfortable grip. It’s an excellent exercise for beginners who want to see visible results in the biceps.
- To perform these biceps, drag curls, position the Smith bar to knee height, and pull your shoulder blades back in a slight squatting position while looking straight ahead.
- Grab the bar with your hands placed shoulder-width apart, and raise the bar while rotating your wrists so that you can lift it from the hook and rest it against your thighs.
- Drag the bar up to your torso, and squeeze your biceps at the top before reversing the movement and returning your weights to the original position.
The Smith Machine bent over row exercise is excellent to perform with light or no weights attached to the bar so that you can get used to the momentum of this technique. Ideally, you can practice this exercise in sets of two or three and up to 10 reps.
The Smith machine curls the brachii muscles in the biceps and is a popular variation for bodybuilding. It’s a great exercise to start with no weight, get used to the machine, and gradually increase by adding five pounds over time.
This drag curl technique is excellent for three times a week and six to eight reps for three sets.
3. Dumbbell Drag Curl
Like the barbell drag curl, dumbbells make a great alternative if you want to practice alternating arms or to continue with the same bilateral movement.
Dumbbell drag curls exercise is done similarly to the barbells, with palms facing outward and elbows moving slightly back as you raise the weights to your torso. It’s essential to avoid swinging the weights or creating additional rotations, as the drag motion means you’ll want to keep this curl close to your body.
These dumbbell drag curls are one of the best techniques for building your bicep size. You may notice results sooner with this option than standard dumbbell curls or raises.
This technique focuses on the brachii or the top part of the biceps. It’s a popular bodybuilding exercise and ideal to start with five pounds and repeat three times weekly with three sets of five to six reps.
Best Biceps Workout Exercises for Muscle Growth
Biceps are the most prominent, visible muscles you’ll notice as you progress through your workout. The top ten arm exercises for muscle growth include:
- Best for flexibility in training: Bilateral and alternating barbell curls
- The best option for supporting wrist and arms: EZ-bar preacher curls
- Best for versatility: Hammer curls
- Best for beginners: Cable curls
- Suitable for building muscle mass: Incline dumbbell curl
- Most challenging, and best for overall results: Chin-ups
- Best for visible focus: Incline curls
- The best many curls, and its next-step challenge from regular curls: Drag curls
- Best for full bicep workout: Zottman curls
- Best for building mass: Bent-over rows
1. Hard and Heavy Biceps Workout
The best exercises for a heavy bicep workout, Zottman curls, drag curls, and concentration curls, are essential to include in your routine as the most effective bicep exercises. It’s necessary to vary your routine and rotate between these techniques to get the most out of these results.
- Zottman curls – three sets, ten to twelve reps
- Concentration curls – three sets, ten to sixteen reps
- Drag curls – three sets, ten to twelve reps
2. Biceps Workout for Beginners
If you’re new to working with weights and getting familiar with bodybuilding techniques, you’ll want to start with simple, practical exercises for your biceps.
The best options for beginners are dumbbell curls, seated incline dumbbell curls, EZ-bar curls, cable curls, preacher curls, and hammer curls. You’ll want to try various types of curls and equipment to determine which works best for you and how to increase the weights over time gradually.
- EZ-bar curls – three sets, eight to ten reps
- Preacher curls – three sets, eight to ten reps
- Cable curls – three sets, six to ten reps
3. Machine Pump Biceps Workout
Machine workouts are ideal for getting consistent movements and excellent results. Some of the best techniques to practice at the gym include lat pull-downs, assisted pull-ups, bicep curls, and cable curls.
When you complete your workout using machines, you can focus on your form and ensure that your position and back are not strained or rounded, impacting the quality of your workout.
- Assisted pull-ups – three sets, eight to ten reps
- Bicep curls – three sets, eight to ten reps
- Cable curls – three sets, eight to ten reps
Biceps Exercise Routines for Different Genders and Ages
Biceps exercises are essential for bodybuilding. Anyone can perform them, whether you’re a beginner starting with the lightest dumbbells or barbells or looking to sharpen this specific group of muscles.
It’s essential to consider your age, demographics, experience, and abilities before you begin exercising to ensure you prevent injury and unnecessary muscle strain.
Bicep exercises offer many benefits for men, women, and children. Men will notice a significant increase in size and mass with regular movements, while women will notice leaner, more toned arms. Children will benefit from more muscular arms for sports, swimming, and overall development and growth.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Men?
Men’s most effective bicep workout focuses on building mass and strength simultaneously. These include a combination of hammer curls (both seated and standing), incline dumbbell curls, Zottman curls, standing cable and barbell curls, and standing reverse barbell curls.
Concentration bicep curls are also a top way to increase bicep size by sharpening the appearance of this muscle group while improving strength.
These bicep exercises are ideal for men because they build and expand muscle to increase mass and size, which is a goal for bodybuilding. It’s also a great way to sharpen these muscle groups for competitive sports.
- Zottman curls
- Standing cable curls
- Barbell curls
1. Zottman Curls
These curls offer a full range of bicep development due to the rotation of each arm. This is an excellent workout for bodybuilding.
2. Standing Cable Curls
Standing cable curls target the top bicep muscles while building shoulder and back strength.
3. Barbell Curls
Barbell curls build mass and size for biceps and overall upper arm strength.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Women?
Women can benefit from many of the same bicep exercises performed by men to develop a toned, muscular appearance while improving strength.
These techniques include hammer curls, bicep curls, standing concentration curls, preacher curls, dumbbell side raises, and single-arm (or alternating) arm curls.
Many of these techniques, and similar variations, can be performed with a machine or free-weights. Combining squats and lunges with curls is also a great way to incorporate a full-body workout into your bicep exercises, contributing to overall toning and building strength.
- Preacher curls
- Concentration curls
- Dumbbell side arm raises
1. Preacher Curls
This intense curl motion is excellent for developing shoulder, upper arm, and bicep strength while targeting the abdominals.
2. Concentration Curls
Concentration curls allow for better focus on toning and strengthening the full range of bicep muscles.
3. Dumbbell Side Arm Raises
This exercise increases bicep growth and strength while toning the appearance of the upper arms.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Children?
Children can benefit from bicep exercises using lighter weights, starting between one and five pounds.
Simple hammer curls, lateral raises, and bicep curls are great beginner exercises. Alternatives to weights, kids can also benefit from practicing push-ups and planks to increase muscles in the biceps, arms, and upper body, including the core.
These exercises will give them the support they need to handle more intense workouts as they grow older and become more accustomed to heavier weights and more reps.
- Hammer curls
- Bicep curls
1. Hammer Curls
These are easy exercises for kids to perform using one or two-pound weights, and they help train for proper form best many and more weights later.
2. Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are great for beginners, including children, as you can customize them for any lightweight and amount of reps that work best.
This excellent exercise helps kids develop solid upper arms in preparation for weights while developing biceps.
Is There a Difference between Biceps Exercises for Different Athletes?
There are a few different types of bicep exercises to use, depending on the type of athlete you are. You may think that every exercise can benefit every athlete.
Although exercise is good for anyone, some more specific and fine-tuned exercises for your biceps can really give you the extra edge you need, depending on the type of athlete you are.
Let’s take a look at some of the specialized exercises for three types of athletes and their benefits.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Calisthenics?
The best bicep exercises for calisthenics include push-ups, chin-ups, and inverted rows. These exercises focus on maximizing the most of the whole body while targeting the biceps.
- Inverted rows
Chin-ups are the quickest ways to build mass and bulk in the biceps for calisthenics. It’s a great exercise to perform with an assisted option, such as with a machine or a band.
Push-ups are challenging for most beginners, though it’s an important exercise to perform in preparation for weight training and calisthenics. This technique targets the full range of the upper arms, which includes the biceps.
3. Inverted Rows
The inverted row is great with bands, cable weights, or free weights. These rows offer a full bicep workout.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Swimmers?
Swimming is an excellent way to build arm muscles, including the biceps. Some significant movements support swimmers, including the following.
- Barbell bicep curls
- Seated rows
- Preacher curls
1. Barbell Bicep Curls
Bicep exercises with barbells are ideal for building full upper arm strength, including the biceps and triceps. These movements are easy to perform slowly by squeezing the biceps at the top when the weights reach the chest.
2. Seated Rows
Seated rows are essential for increasing upper body strength by focusing on the latissimus dorsi, including the rhomboids in the upper back and lower back muscles. This system benefits significantly from seated rows, making swimming stronger and longer less strenuous.
3. Preacher Curls
These strengthen this muscle group and the range of motion in the upper body, which is crucial for backstroke, butterfly stroke, and other swimming techniques.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises for Runners?
An essential reason for training your biceps for running is improving your swing and gaining more momentum and increased speed.
Building upper body strength may be overlooked by beginners who focus too much on the lower body, though including a full-body workout is essential for greater endurance and balance. The best bicep exercises for runners include the following.
- Dumbbell curls
- Preacher curls
- Inverted rows
1. Dumbbell Curls
Dumbbell curls build strength in the upper arms, which is excellent for swinging during a sprint or a longer, endurance run.
2. Preacher Curls
Preacher curls build mass and strength in the biceps while building back muscles, supporting the core and lower body.
3. Inverted Rows
Inverted rows offer a complete upper body workout that targets the core and abdominal muscles. All bicep muscles benefit from this exercise, which supports balance and endurance during a run.
Can Bicep Exercises Be Performed With Triceps Exercises?
Yes, you can exercise the triceps with the biceps because they are close together. Many bicep exercises also work the triceps, as these muscle groups are located in the upper arm.
While they belong to different groups of muscles in the same area, with one section, it’s common to work triceps and biceps on the same day and within the same workout routine.
Exercises that target the shoulders and chest are ideal for working these two muscle groups. You’ll find it easy to integrate techniques that exercise the full upper arms into your regular workout. You can start a program with the best triceps workout exercises.
What Are the Best Muscle-Building Exercises for Other Body Parts?
When you work on your biceps, it’s essential to include a balanced exercise routine with other parts of your body, to maintain even development and results as you progress to meet your goals.
When you prepare a beginner outline for your workout routine, it’s essential to include a full range of movements and techniques, including the following.
- Wrist curls to exercise the forearms.
- Overhead press and lifts for shoulder development.
- Deadlifts, chin-ups, and pull-ups for back muscles. Machine assist pull-ups are also a great option for beginners.
- Core exercises, such as squats, pull-ups, and sit-ups.
- Dips and bench press for chest development.
If you include a full range of exercises, you’re sure to get the most out of your workout.