Have you tried every workout you can think of to build your arms but still not seeing the gains you would hope for? Well these 10 different exercises will help to not only build a bigger arm muscles but also make it look fuller and more rounded.
We all want bigger biceps. They look great in well-fitted white t-shirt, look even better out of them, and help compliment a well-defined torso.
Yes, some people will say exercising your biceps is stupid. But some days we just long for the pump. And there's no shame in that.
And do you want to know the best bit? Building bigger biceps doesn't have to be difficult. It's just that you're probably doing it wrong. You see, there is more to bicep exercises than the dumbbell curl. Yes, we couldn't believe it at first, either. In fact, there are loads of bicep exercises, more than enough to make all of your training sessions unique, and we're going to show you the most effective ones.
Standing Dumbbell Curl
Why: We can’t start any bicep exercise list without including this classic; it’s a fan favourite for a reason. Nothing targets your biceps more than the curl. But it’s important to manage your weights accordingly. Wildly swinging and arching your back in order to lift the dumbbell is a waste of time, and could cause injury. Keep is slow, keep it controlled and focus on squeezing your bicep as you lift.
- Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides.
- Ensure your elbows are close to your torso and your palms facing forward.
- Keeping your arms stationary, exhale as you curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.
Why: The difference is in the detail, specifically the way you hold the dumbbell. By flipping the dumbbell on its side helps transfer more of the work from your biceps brachii to your brachialis – that’s the muscle that makes your arms look thicker.
Progress: Cable Rope Hammer Curl
Why: The cable machine keeps a more steady and constant load on the biceps for longer which will elicit more growth.
- Let a pair of dumbbells hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing your thighs.
- Don’t move your arms. Instead, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as possible.
- Pause at the top – remember to squeeze – before slowly lowering the weight back to the starting position.
Incline dumbbell curl
Why: Setting the bench to incline puts more pressure on the long head of your biceps brachii because you’re now working from a deficit. In other words, you’re starting from point where you have less leverage than normal. Note: as this exercise requires more effort, you will need to lighten the load.
- Start by lying with your back against a bench that is set to a 45-degree incline.
- Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can.
- Next, lower the weight (slowly) back to your starting position, ensuring you completely straighten your arms.
Why: There aren’t many exercises that target the three major muscles that make up the biceps – the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. By rotating from an underhand to an overhand grip halfway through the move, the zottman curl hits all areas of your bicep.
- With your dumbbells hanging by your side, turn your arms so your palms face forward.
- Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells towards your shoulder.
- Pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward before slowly returning back to your starting position.
Decline Dumbbell Curl
Why: Lying down on your chest will help isolate your biceps as you have no weight running through your legs and core muscles. Change up your grip to help target different parts of your bicep.
- Lie chest down against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Bend your elbows – don’t move your upper arms – and curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
- Pause, then lower back to the start position.
Hit All Angles: The Road to Bigger Biceps
One of the main reasons people's biceps don't grow as big (or as quick) as they would like them to, is that they fail to recognise that the bicep is actually broken down into three parts: the biceps brachii – the part that makes up the main bump on the arm; the brachialis – the muscle that actually sits under the bicep; and the brachioradialis – the muscle than runs along the forearm.
Most guys tend to only focus on the brachii. But if you want thicker, fuller looking arms, you need to work all areas of the bicep.
Why: According to research, your muscles, specifically your biceps are most active when they are pulling. As the row requires many muscles to perform, you’ll be able to use a much heavier weight than you would curling while still maintaining good form and function.
- With slightly flexed knees, hinge over from the hips.
- Maintain a neutral spine with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Think about pulling your elbows behind you and hold for one second before controlling the load back down.
- Ensure the line of the pull is into the belly button not into the sternum.
Why: Not the easiest move to master but definitely one of the most effective. Do it properly, and, along with your arms, your shoulders and back will get a serious workout, too.
- Grab the bar with your palms facing towards you and a grip that is narrows than shoulder width.
- Pull yourself up until your head is above the bar. Slowly lower back to the start position.
Regular EZ Bar Curl
Why: The bar allows you to load more weight than you would with a curl while still maintaining good form and without putting too much pressure through your elbows and forearms.
- Hold the EZ bar in front of your thighs with an underhand, shoulder-width grip.
- As you breathe in, curl the bar until your hands are at your shoulders.
- Squeeze your bicep then lower under control.
Underhand Seated Row
Why: By sitting down and rowing, your biceps are in the direct line of the pull so they work extra hard during each rep. Do it properly and watch your biceps and your back grow.
- Bend your knees and hold the bar with an underhand grip, shoulder-width apart.
- Lean slightly, keeping your back straight, then use your back to muscle to drive the bar towards your belly button.
- Return the bar to the starting position.
Reverse Curl Straight Bar
Why: Often neglected because it works the brachialis, an invisible muscle lower down your upper arm — but one essential for bigger biceps. Train it well and the brachialis pushes the peak of your bicep muscle up higher, making for a more impressive flex and bigger looking arms.
- Stand and grip a barbell at shoulder width with an overhand grip.
- Flex the elbows and rotate the barbell upwards, only using your forearms, until your palms face out and the barbell is in line with your shoulders.
- Return it back down slowly and repeat.
How to Get More from Your Bicep Exercises
Follow these top tips to ensure you are maximising every rep and set. After all, if you're going to work your biceps, you might as do them properly.
Build Bigger Biceps Rule 1: Warm Up
It sounds boring, but patience is a virtue, and besides, it’s bloody important. A warmed muscle is a more pliable one. In other words, it’ll work better. The increase in temperature will help reduce the risk of rips and tears and deliver more red blood cells – and therefore oxygen and nutrients – to the muscle while it is working.