The Best Bicep Exercises: Muscle-Building Variations and the Common Mistakes

Updated: 20 hours ago


The Best Bicep Exercises

Building muscle mass is a common goal for many people. The biceps are one of the most visible muscles in the human body and are often a target for those looking to add size and definition. In this article, we will discuss the best bicep exercises and provide variations to help you achieve your desired results. We will also focus on the common mistakes people make when working out their biceps. Let's get started!


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:



The Anatomy of the Bicep Muscle

The biceps muscle is located in the front of the upper arm. It is made up of two heads: the long head and the short head. The bicep muscle is responsible for flexing the elbow and supinating the forearm. Aesthetically, the bicep muscle is responsible for giving the upper arm that "capped" look. Bicep insertion points are located at the radius bone in the forearm and the tuberosity of the humerus in the upper arm.


Now that we have a basic understanding of bicep anatomy, let's move on to discussing the best exercises for building muscle mass.



The Best Bicep Exercises for Muscle Building


Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is a staple exercise in any bicep routine. It is an effective exercise for building muscle mass and can be done with a variety of grip widths. To perform the barbell curl, start by gripping the barbell with your desired grip width. From here, curl the weight up to shoulder level while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Barbell Curl

  • The barbell curl allows you to use a heavy weight, which is beneficial for building muscle mass.

  • This exercise can stimulate both the long head and the short head of the biceps muscle.

  • Other muscles are worked including the brachioradialis (a forearm muscle) and the brachialis (an upper arm muscle).


Dumbbell Curl

The dumbbell curl is a variation of the barbell curl that can be done with one arm or both arms at the same time. This exercise is also effective for building muscle mass and can be done with a variety of grip widths. To perform the dumbbell curl, start by gripping the dumbbells with your desired grip width. From here, curl the weights up to shoulder level while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Dumbbell Curl

  • You can also perform this exercise with one arm at a time, which helps to isolate each side.

  • The target muscle (biceps) is worked through a greater range of motion compared to the barbell curl.


Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is a variation of the dumbbell curl that targets the bicep and brachialis muscles. To perform the hammer curl, start by gripping the dumbbells with your palms facing your sides. From here, curl the weights up to shoulder level while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Hammer Curl

  • The angle of the grip also helps to target the brachialis muscle, which is located on the outer side of the bicep.


Standing Resistance Band Hammer Curls

The standing resistance band hammer curl is a variation of the dumbbell curl that can be done with or without weights. To perform this exercise, start by looping a resistance band around a sturdy object. From here, grip the ends of the band with your palms facing your sides. Curl your hands toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower your hands back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Standing Resistance Band Hammer Curl

  • This exercise is a great option if you don't have access to dumbbells or weights.

  • It is also a great exercise for beginners because it can be done with little to no weight.


Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is an exercise that targets the bicep muscle. It can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or E-Z curl bar. To perform the preacher curl, start by gripping the weight with your desired grip width. From here, curl the weight up to shoulder level while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Preacher Curl

  • The preacher curl also helps to isolate the biceps muscle.

  • Constant tension is placed on the biceps muscle, which can lead to muscle growth.


Reverse Grip Bent Over Row

The reverse grip bent-over row is an exercise that targets the biceps and back muscles. To perform the reverse grip bent over row, start by gripping the barbell with your palms facing your body. From here, bend at the waist and lower your torso until it is parallel to the ground. From this position, row the weight up to your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Reverse Grip Bent Over Row

  • This exercise also targets the biceps muscle through a greater range of motion.

  • The back muscles are also targeted with this exercise, which can lead to increased strength and stability


Cable rope Supinating Curl

The cable rope supinating curl is an exercise that targets the biceps muscle. To perform the cable rope supinating curl, start by attaching a rope attachment to a low pulley. From here, grip the rope with your palms facing up and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. From this position, curl the weight up to your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Cable Rope Supinating Curl

  • The supinated grip (palms up) puts more emphasis on the biceps muscle compared to a pronated grip (palms down).

  • You can also use a variety of grip widths to target the biceps muscle in different ways.


Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls

The seated alternating dumbbell curl is an exercise that targets the biceps muscle. To perform the seated alternating dumbbell curl, start by sitting on a bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, grip a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang at arm's length by your sides. From this position, alternately curl one dumbbell up to your shoulder while keeping your elbow stationary. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat with the other arm. Continue alternating until you have completed the desired number of reps.


Benefits of the Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl

  • The seated position helps to keep your body stable during the exercise. This allows you to better focus on isolating the biceps muscle.


Incline Dumbbell Curls

The incline dumbbell curl is an exercise that targets the biceps muscle. To perform the incline dumbbell curl, start by sitting on an incline bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, grip a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang at arm's length by your sides. From this position, curl the weights up to your shoulders while keeping your elbows stationary. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Incline Dumbbell Curl

  • The incline bench helps to keep your body steady while you work out. You'll be able to concentrate better on isolating the biceps muscle as a result of this.

  • The incline position also allows you to change the angle of the curl, which can target the biceps muscle in different ways.


Concentration Curls

The concentration curl is an exercise that targets the biceps muscle. To perform the concentration curl, start by sitting on a bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, grip a dumbbell in your right hand and let it hang at arm's length by your side. From this position, curl the weight up to your shoulder while keeping your elbow stationary. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Concentration Curl

  • The concentration curl is a great exercise for isolating the biceps muscle.


Chin-Ups

The chin-up is an exercise that targets the biceps muscle. To perform the chin-up, start by grabbing a pull-up bar with your palms facing towards you. From this position, hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground. From here, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.


Benefits of the Chin-Up

  • The chin-up is a compound exercise that not only works the biceps muscle but also the back and forearm muscles.

  • The chin-up is a great exercise for building upper body strength.

  • The chin-up can improve posture by strengthening the muscles in the upper back.



Common Mistakes

Using momentum when performing bicep exercises is one of the most frequent blunders that people make. This entails swinging the weights to raise them. This is an issue because it means that other muscles are doing the work, not just the biceps. The result is that you won't get an optimal bicep workout and you might even risk injury.


Another common mistake is not using a full range of motion. This occurs when people only raise the weights part of the way before lowering them back down. This limits the amount of work the biceps muscle can do and thus, hampers muscle growth.


Not contracting the biceps muscle at the top of the curl is another frequent mistake. This means that you're not fully engaging the muscle, which means it won't get the maximum benefit from the exercise. Make sure to squeeze your biceps tightly at the top of the curl for maximum muscle growth.


Finally, using too much weight is a mistake that can lead to injury. If you're using too much weight, your form will suffer and this can cause joint pain or other issues. Make sure to use a weight that you can handle with good form.


Summary

In this article, we have covered the best bicep exercises. We have prioritized the muscle-building aspects of the exercises. Lastly, we focused on the exercise variations and common mistakes people make. Remember to use good form when performing any of these exercises and to focus on contracting the biceps muscle. If you can do all of these things, you'll be well on your way to building bigger, stronger biceps.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


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