When it comes to building eye-popping arms, it is important not to neglect the biceps. The biceps allow you to flex your elbow; they’re not the biggest arm muscles but they can be built up to look incredible. Try these five bicep workouts and in no time, you’ll be eager to show off your guns.
Try starting with three sets of five reps; if you’re trying to build mass, heavier weights and fewer reps is recommended. For endurance, lower the weight and increase the reps. It’s not necessary to do all of the exercises at once; feel free to incorporate as few or as many as you like into your weightlifting routine.
The barbell curl is one of the most widely-practiced bicep exercises — and for good reason. It is effective and simple to perform. What’s more, when performed properly, the barbell curl achieves noticeable results. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell with an underhand grip. Curl the barbell up and then lower it to complete one rep. Just be careful not to give in to momentum; barbell curls should be done slowly for maximum effect.
The hammer curl is another highly effective bicep exercise; this seated lift works the brachialis and engages the elbow flexors. Try doing this exercise on a preacher bench to maximize its effects and prevent unintentional “cheating.” Holding dumbbells in the neutral or hammer position while bent slightly forward, raise them to your shoulders then lower them slowly to complete one rep.
Incline Barbell Curl
Another great exercise for building the biceps is the incline curl. As its name suggests, this exercise is done on an incline bench. Experiment with different incline levels to see what works best for you. Holding a dumbbell in each hand while seated on the incline bench, perform “classic curls,” raising and lowering the dumbbells slowly.
Standing Cable Curl
The cable is one of your best friends when it comes to building bigger biceps. Cable curls not only work every inch of the biceps but also the surrounding muscles. The reason this standing exercise is so effective is because it takes serious effort to stabilize your movements when curling the cable, as opposed to a barbell or dumbbell. This exercise can be done with both arms at once, or one arm at a time. The cable curl is performed much like a traditional standing bicep curl — the only major difference is the cable itself.
Seated Concentration Curl
The seated concentration curl is ideal for finishing your biceps workout — momentum is minimized to ensure the biceps receive a maximum workout. Sit on a bench with legs apart; holding a dumbbell, bend forward slightly so that the upper arm is touching the upper thigh. From this position, perform dumbbell curls. The slower you curl, the more effectively the muscles will be worked.
All of the above exercises can be performed several times per week as part of a strength training routine. To maximize results, mix up cardio and strength training sessions three to five times weekly. While it’s tempting to work out every day, give your body at least one day each week to recover.