The best biceps exercises

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Building big and strong biceps is most people’s dream when they start weightlifting. The biceps may not be the biggest muscles in the body, but there’s no doubt that they’re the ones that cause the most impact at first sight. In every culture, a well-defined biceps is synonym for virility. Besides the aesthetic factor, the biceps are the most used muscles in our daily chores, so you should give them special attention.

biceps anatomy

As the name suggests, the brachial biceps is composed by two parallel muscles that connect two different parts of the shoulder’s joint: the long head and the short head. The short head is placed in the inner arm, next to the chest, and contributes to the arm’s thickness. The long head is placed over the length of the arm, but on the outside, and is responsible for creating a peak when the arm is flexed.

The five most efficient exercises:

– Dumbbell curls, sitting, with medium weights, negative phase until you break (it means lifting a load that 20-30% heavier than the one you normally use – with the help of the hand that’s free, you only use the strength you need to raise the dumbbell, and after that lower it slowly using only the arm that you’re working out).
– Scott Curl, with the bar.
– Machine Curl, with a bar.
– Bar Curl, standing, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
– Scott Curl with dumbbell, unilateral, support with 60% of inclination.

Tip1: To develop your strength, you need to hold the bar with your palms up, because the bigger the pronation degree is (palms down), the more the biceps’ tendons move around the radius bone, reducing the maximum development of strength.

Tip2: Vary your biceps exercises and work them through different angles and with different holding positions, in such a way that you can give different growth stimuli every time you go to the gym.

READ ALSO: 7 mistakes in Bicep Workouts

Follow the three examples we suggest.

Exercise 1

Dumbbell curls

Works your biceps with more emphasis.
Secundary Muscles: brachial, brachioradialis, forearm muscles

How to perform?

Sit on a bench and hold the dumbbell with your arm extended. Support the arm on the inner part of the thigh and raise the dumbbell towards the shoulder, flexing your elbow. Get back to the initial position and repeat the movement.
Do 10 reps, with moderate weights, repeating the movement ‘till you break.

concentration curl

Exercise 2

Scott curl

Works your biceps with more emphasis.
Secundary Muscles: brachial, brachioradialis, deltoids and forearm muscles

How to perform?

Hold the bar with supination and the arms extended. After that, raise the bar towards your shoulders, flexing your elbows. Get back to the initial position and repeat the movement.

Note: If your arms are separated from each other, you’ll be working the internal part of the biceps (short head). If they’re together, you’ll be focusing your effort on the external part (long head).

Perform 6 to 8 reps, with heavy loads.

barbell curl

Exercício 3

Scott curl with the bar

Works your biceps with more emphasis.
Secundary Muscles: brachial, brachioradialis, forearm muscles

How to perform?

Sitting, with your arms shoulder-width and on the bench, hold the bar with supination (palms up). The resting of the arms on the bench stops the shoulder movement, helping to isolate the biceps. Raise the bar towards the shoulders, flexing the elbows. Calmly, get back to the initial position and repeat the movement.

Note: If your arms are separated from each other, you’ll be working the internal part of the biceps (short head). If they’re together, you’ll be focusing your effort on the external part (long head).
Perform 8 to 10 reps, with moderate weights.

scott curls

It is really important that you use a controlled and correct execution technique, because the main goal is to contract the muscles with the highest intensity possible so you can get the best results.

READ ALSO:

3 powerful exercises for tricep hypertrophy
3 strength exercises with the Kettlebell to build more muscle
4 exercises to work out the back

References:

Fernando Ribeiro, Os melhores exercícios para bíceps | Análises EMG, August 2012, translation and adaptation of the original version
Jim Vaglica, Two Heads Are Better Than One: 5 Moves For Balanced Biceps, February 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version

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