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The Best 6 Exercises for Increasing Biceps

When it comes to arm training, one muscle in particular always seems to hog the spotlight. The biceps brachii is the large two-headed muscle that makes up much of your upper arm, but it doesn’t work alone.

The brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, which help flex the elbow joint, also add size and shape to the pipes, though it takes a little extra manipulation to get them to grow. The brachioradialis makes up a good part of your forearm as well and will complete your arm development by adding a Popeye-like lower arm to that bulging biceps. In other words, biceps training isn’t just about training the biceps.

The Standing Barbell Curl

If you have any interest in building your biceps up in order to look like a tank, the standard barbell bicep curl is the best all-inclusive bicep exercise. Regardless of the amount of weight, your body will use all of the bicep muscles and some forearm muscles to raise the weight as you flex the arm closed. The standard curl forces the arm to work in relative isolation from the back and shoulders, but on one condition – you can’t cheat.

The Alternating Dumbbell Curl

The alternating dumbbell curl is a simple exercise that functions as a cross between a hammer curl and a standard curl. Instead of curling one weight using both biceps, or simultaneously curling with two separate weights, the alternating curl lets you focus the intensity of the workout in each bicep separately.

Cheat Curl

Sets: 3 Reps: see below Rest: 60 sec.
Choose the heaviest dumbbells you think you can curl, and perform as you did the conventional dumbbell curl, but use momentum from your hips to power through the sticking point (halfway up, when the weights are most difficult to lift). Do not lean back as you lift, but get into a rhythm where you rock your torso forward and then extend your hips to complete each rep. Stop each set one rep shy of total failure.

Reverse Cable Curls

Just like a normal cable curl but with an over hand grip!

Once again you will not be able to go super heavy on this exercise because the slow eccentrics will really fry and fatigue your muscles.

It is critical that you follow the slow eccentrics though if you want to see significant muscle gains as this is how you stimulate the brachialis;

The brachialis is a muscle in between your bicep and triceps on the outside of your arm – if you flex your arm you might see a little bump appear.

The brachialis actually runs underneath the bicep and by training it and forcing it to grow you will actually push your bicep upwards.

This is a bit of a sneaky way to add some extra size to your arm and therefore it’s crucial that you perform this movement with slow eccentrics as this is what the brachialis responds best to.

Supinated Bent Rows

Resistance breeds muscle gain, and more weight equals more resistance. You can sack more weight into a bicep workout using rowing. Bent over straight bar rows can let you work double the weight over your standard curling or straight bar curls.

Preacher Curl

This exercise works the long head of the biceps and is responsible for building the peak of the biceps which will create the illusion of the arms appearing much bigger.

Performing with correct form is incredibly important – at first you will need to use fairly light-moderate weight as the Preacher curl is not an exercise you can expect to be lifting the heaviest weight with.

Really focus on pulling the weight up with your biceps whilst squeezing at the top.

Can be performed with dumbbells, cable pulley or if you want to use a barbell or EZ curl bar, use a wide grip to emphasise the short head or a narrow grip for more emphasis on the long head.

Perform on a Preacher Curl bench, however if you do not have access to one then you can still put a normal bench on a steep incline and use it to the same effect.