If you are working out, then you want bigger biceps. You may not think you are that shallow, but I’m telling you that you are.
Think about this way, if somebody asks you to flex your muscles, which muscle do you show them? Of course, it’s your bicep. If it’s not impressive, do you think you are succeeding?
You see, that’s the thing, you can be doing nothing at all, but if you can flex your biceps and show an impressive rise that toned and hard, then it makes you think you are making progress.
But what I’m going to do here is not talk you through the vanity of it all, I’m not going to talk to you about becoming an Olympian, I’m going to tell you how to develop your biceps not only for their look, but for how they can push the rest of your bodybuilding routine forward far more rapidly.
So What Are The Best Biceps Exercises To Use?
Known as the biceps brachii, when people talk about the biceps, they are talking about two groups, known as heads. You have a short head on the outer biceps, and the long head on the inner biceps. Together, they make up the area of the upper arm which is taking (literally) the heavy lifting when moving hand towards the shoulder at the elbow.
But that’s not all. On the sides of the upper arm you also have the brachialis and brachioradialis. Sure, I know, catchy names.
Situated between triceps and biceps, they connect the main muscle to the forearm at these points.
So to get the best bicep results, you’re going to have to train all four of these muscle groups. Not only is doing this deliver greater upper arm strength, but it will increase your overall upper arm size, from every angle.
What I found through years of training and research is that certain exercises are better than others, and some of the obvious ones don’t work as well as people think. Because they are easier to do, they go with them.
Mass building exercises of the best for bicep development. Basically, exercises that provide the greatest strain on the muscles across the four muscle groups.
Thankfully for you guys, this narrows it down to a handful of exercises. It may surprise you, but isolation exercises are not part of this. Although good for tone and definition, they are not good for developing strength and mass in the biceps.
Therefore, this entire routine is built around only five exercises. One of those is in two variations. That’s the hammer curl. It’s the exercise that I’ve found delivers the best results in the short space of time, which is why I lean on it heavily.
Here Are My Top Five Exercises For Bigger Biceps
Let’s dive in right now and talk you through the top five exercises for bigger biceps that I’ve fused together to make an easy to use routine.
Each of these, do six sets of eight reps. Take a couple of reps off in the beginning if you can’t manage it.
Make sure after you’ve done this, that you have a two-day rest before you do it again. Within two weeks you should be noticing a difference.
Please make sure you maintain proper form throughout. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back, don’t lean forward, don’t use your back to produce the momentum, it must calm purely from the biceps to succeed.
Also, make sure that you are not exhausting yourself so that you don’t get the full range and motion.
In addition, another great tip is the squeeze at the top. When you get to the top of the exercise you are doing hold and squeeze your bicep as hard as you can for a couple of seconds. That really can work wonders if done consistently.
1. Barbell Curl
The first exercise we are going to use to increase the size of our biceps as rapidly as possible is the basic barbell curl.
It can be performed a number of ways as you may know, standing, sitting with one of your arms resting on your thigh (like a concentration curl), or even variations like the preacher curl.
Because the natural movement of the bicep is straight up from the elbow, it makes sense to use exercises which work best with that natural motion.
So what we’re going to do is a standing barbell curl. That’s the classic variation, and it’s certainly the strongest bicep exercise you can do on its own.
To perform this exercise, you are going to hold the barbell at shoulder width. Your arms will be straight down towards the floor, with your elbows about an inch from your side. Don’t lock your elbows straight, make sure that they are ever so slightly bent.
Then it’s a simple matter of keeping your back straight, and pulling your shoulders back. That will give you good form to ensure that you are using your biceps for the exercise, and not moving your body or using your back (the dreaded rocking motion) to generate lift.
Curl the barbell up towards the chest by driving up explosively and stopping an inch away. Make sure you squeeze on contract the biceps when you reach the top and hold for a couple of seconds.
Then, use the resistance on the way down to slowly lower the barbell back to its starting position.
2. One Armed Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Second on our list is the one armed dumbbell preacher curl. This is another classic bicep crunching exercise.
You should think about it is an isolation exercise because of how much it focuses the stress of the exercise on the peak. I’ll just say here that this is found on the short head of the bicep, and how large it is and where it is, well, that’s genetic.
To do the dumbbell preacher curl, you going to use a standard preacher bench. You’ll hold a dumbbell with an underhand grip.
Then you’ll lock the elbow firmly in place. Slowly, lift the dumbbell up in a smooth curl. Make sure you try and touch the shoulder of the arm that you are working on at the time. Also make sure you hold the exercise and squeeze.
3. Hammer Curls
Next up are hammer curls. Another fantastic exercise for strengthening and increasing the size of your biceps.
I’ll be straight though; the hammer curl isn’t actually strictly a bicep exercise. However, we talked earlier about the complementing muscles in the upper arm, and this will work the brachialis hard. It’s the strongest flexor of the elbow. It runs from there all the way along the side of the upper arm. And it’s this you can see in the lower areas of your biceps.
By developing this muscle group, you will help to lift the biceps up. That will increase the peak and fullness, which is obviously crucial to having those impressive biceps.
To do the classic hammer curl, you will start with your elbows at the side of your body, palms resting in a neutral position. Also make sure that your elbows are slightly in front of your hips.
You’ll then curl the dumbbells upwards in a smooth motion, focusing on getting your breathing right.
Breathe out on your way up, and on the way down and make sure as you breathe in that you lower the dumbbells slowly, so that you keep the resistance of the movement on your arms the whole way up and the whole way down.
4. Incline Dumbbell Curl
Next up is the incline dumbbell curl. This is another classic which put together with the others I talked about so far can be put together to create a classic bicep developing routine.
It’s also a fantastic overall mass building exercise. You can get full range of motion with this, and it will allow you to get the maximum stretch possible when you reach the bottom of the movement.
To do this, you’re going to lay on your back on an incline bench. Your arms will be laying in a neutral position horizontally, holding the dumbbells. Make sure they aren’t locked, so that when you lift, all the pressure isn’t generated through the elbows.
Lift the dumbbells sharply upwards until they reach your pectorals and then squeeze your biceps hard for a couple of seconds.
Make sure that you release the dumbbells downward slowly to keep the resistance on the muscle groups.
5. Hammer Curl Variation
I’ll finish here with a hammer curl variation as it’s perfect for building biceps and deserves to be in this group of exercise for building fantastic biceps.
To be honest, there’s really not much difference between it and the hammer curl I’ve just described to you.
However, the key differences you going to do one arm at a time. You’ll need to make sure you keep good form in balance with this, because all the weight will be on one side of your body and then the other. You don’t want to rock and be unbalanced.
But by doing it one arm at a time you can focus more on getting the full power, range and motion, into each arm at a time, potentially giving a more measured and powerful exercise.