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Biceps exercises


Biceps exercises
This is my list of biceps exercises which includes some of the most popular and best exercise that will fully develop your biceps, allowing you to build both size and shape into a popular muscle group. The list includes exercises that will also hit the forearm muscles.

Introduction to your biceps and forearm muscles

Biceps and forearm anatomyThe biceps along with the chest muscles are one on the most popular worked muscle groups. The biceps are normally made up of two heads, which are the brachii and brachialis and are attached to the shoulder and the upper forearm. The bicep helps flex and rotate the forearm. The forearm is attached to the elbow and wrist and is made up of many muscles which help twist, flex and extend the hand and also help move the fingers of the hand.

My biceps and forearm exercise list:

Barbell Curls

Type: Compound
Function: Works the entire biceps area with some work to the forearms as well.
Form: While standing take hold of a barbell or an EZ bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up and thumbs wrapped around the bar) and hands spaced around shoulder width apart. Allow the bar to rest just in front of your thighs. Take a deep breath then curl the bar up towards your chest while breathing out and stop when your forearm is around 45 degrees from your chest to maintain tension on your biceps. Slowly lower the weight back to the start position while breathing in. Repeat for required reps and sets.
Tips: Do not be tempted to use such a heavy weight that you cheat the weight up by swinging with your body, keep your body reasonably upright and straight, however you can assist the last one or two reps in your last set in this manner if needed. Concentrate on fighting the weight on the way down. Keep your elbows in and not flared out and also pointed down as much as possible, so you are flexing the biceps, not swing your elbows forward and up to help get the weight up. If you suffer from any wrist issues, then either try using an EZ bar or another exercise. To keep balance you can have a slight bend at the knees.
Key notes: The barbell curl is possibly one of the best biceps mass builder exercises you can do.
Variations: This exercise can also be done using a low cable pulley and various bar attachments.

Click on images below, the last one is a GIF animation:

Barbell curl side view

Barbell curl Barbell curl Barbell curl gif

Barbell curl front view

Barbell curl Barbell curl Barbell curl gif

Dumbbell Curls

Type: Compound or Isolation
Function: Works the entire biceps area with some work to the forearms as well.
Form:  Standing, take hold of a pair of dumbbells held by your sides (thumbs wrapped around handle). You can either hold the dumbbells palms facing forward or start with them in a neutral position palms facing inwards towards each other. Take a deep breath and then as you breathe out raise both the dumbbells up towards your shoulders bending at the elbows only and keeping your elbows pointed down. If you are starting with the dumbbells in the neutral position, you will need to twist the dumbbells as you lift them so that your palms are facing your shoulders. Slowly lower the weight back to the start position while breathing in. Repeat for required reps and sets.
Tips: Your elbows are best kept close by your sides, don’t flared them out to the sides. You should only be moving the forearms and not swinging the weight up, just use the biceps muscle to move the weight. Keep your wrists straight and aligned. Keep your torso straight and don’t lean back or forward. If you want to feel an extra squeeze and contraction at the top of the movement, you can move your elbows back as you lift the weight up (known as a drag curl)
Key notes: Despite the fact that some suggest having your palms facing you or facing away from you at the beginning of the exercise, in my opinion it makes very little difference to the overall effectiveness of the exercise.
Variations: You can also do this exercise with alternating dumbbells by lifting and lowering one dumbbell at a time. It can also be done seated or even seated on an incline bench with you leaning back up to 45%.

Click on images below, the last one is a GIF animation:

Dumbbell curl side view

Dumbbell Curl Dumbbell Curl Dumbbell Curl gif

Dumbbell curl front view

Dumbbell curl Dumbbell curl Dumbbell curl gif

Hammer Curl

Type: Compound
Function: Works the entire biceps with strong stimulus to the brachioradialis muscle of the forearms.
Form: Take hold of a pair of dumbbells by your side, hold them with a neutral grip (palms facing each other and thumbs wrapped around the handle). Take a deep breath and then bending at the elbows only, bring the dumbbells up towards your shoulders while breathing out. Keep your hands in the neutral position thumbs up position. Slowly lower the weight back to the start position while breathing in. Repeat for required reps and sets.
Tips: Keep your wrists straight throughout the exercises. Keep your elbows pointing down towards the floor and by your sides. Stand upright and don’t use momentum to help get the weight up.
Key notes: Great exercise for those that like arm wrestling.
Variations: Can also be done seated. You can also do this exercise as an alternating exercise, bringing one arm up and back down at a time. Another alternating variant is to bring the dumbbell inwards towards your chest as you lift them (known as Pinwheel curls). If you have a neutral bar or triceps bar you can also use these for a two handed version.

Click on images below, the last one is a GIF animation:

Hammer curl side view

Hammer curl Hammer curl Hammer curl gif

Hammer curl front view

Hammer curl Hammer curl Hammer curl gif

Reverse Curls

Type: Compound
Function: Works the biceps with strong stimulus to the brachialis and the brachioradialis muscles of the forearms.
Form: Take hold of a barbell shoulder width apart with an overhand grip (palms facing down and thumbs wrapped around the bar) and the bar resting in front of your thighs. Take a deep breath and while breathing out, bring the weight up until your arms are pointing up around 45 degrees from parallel. Slowly lower back to the start position while breathing in. Repeat for required reps and sets.
Tips: Keep your wrists straight throughout the exercises. Keep your elbows pointing down towards the floor and by your sides. Stand upright and don’t use momentum to help get the weight up.
Key notes: This is essentially the same as the barbell curl in action, apart from the use of an overhand grip, however if you suffer from wrist or elbow issues then be careful with this exercise, as it can be a little less forgiving on these areas if they are already inflamed. The amount of weight you can use on this exercise will be considerably less than with the barbell curl due to the way the strong biceps muscles are positioned during this lift.

Click on images below, the last one is a GIF animation:

Reverse curl side view

Reverse curl  Reverse curl  Reverse curl gif

Reverse curl front view

Reverse curl  Reverse curl  Reverse curl gif

My final thoughts on biceps and forearms exercising
Often uncovered in a t-shirt or other short/sleeveless top, the arms are therefore one of the most noticeable and hence most popular part of the human body when it comes to being exercised. Just don’t over do it, I personally find it weird that some people will only train their arms. Make sure you create a balanced physique.