23 Bicep Workouts to Make Your Arms Explode
Go straight to the type of bicep workouts you are looking for
Doing the same bicep workouts can get old quickly, especially if you are doing them twice a week. Some people train biceps on Tuesday with back and then again on Friday with shoulders. This is actually one of the more common routines. When you add biceps to the backend up a core lift day such as back or biceps, it can be easy to go through the motions. You put all your might into deadlift, bent over rows, shoulder press, and shrugs at the beginning of the workout, and by the time you get to your biceps you are just ready for it to be over. Sometimes you might skip your biceps altogether due to lack of motivation, physical exhaustion, or because you are tired of doing the same exercises. Redundancy can be discouraging, so changing up your exercises might be just what you need to keep your energy levels up. Here are 23 bicep workouts to help propel you over your plateaus and through the end of your workout.
4 Bicep Workouts Using a Barbell
Doing curls with a barbell is one of the best ways to gain strength and size in your biceps. The barbell forces your arms to be in a supinated position which is best for muscle contraction. Since the bar is longer you can grip it as wide as you choose. Most people do barbell curls when they are standing, but you can still do them seated or using a preacher bench.
Barbell Curls are More Convenient in a Home Gym
If you plan to train at home, barbell bicep workouts will also be more convenient because you will probably want to invest in the most universal pieces of equipment possible. The barbell can be used to train every muscle with full efficiency. The best weight plates for home gym bicep exercises will most likely be cast iron since they are denser and won’t take as much space.
Grip the barbell about shoulder-width apart. Begin by holding the bar slightly above your knees with a slight bend in your arms. Bring the bar up to shoulder height and squeeze your biceps at the top of the rep. Try as hard as you can to keep your elbows in the same position. If you have too much weight on the bar or you start getting tired, you might want to start swinging the barbell. Instead, simply reduce the weight so you can do a good rep.
Close-Grip Barbell Curl
This exercise is performed the same way as a regular barbell curl. The only difference is your grip. Instead of holding the bar at shoulder-width, you will bring your hands closer together. This will cause your arms to turn in at an angle that will engage the outer head of your biceps developing the peak.
Wide-Grip Barbell Curl
This is another variant of the barbell curl. Instead of gripping the bar at shoulder-width, go a little bit wider. You will notice that holding the bar this way will allow you to lift more weight. This grip works the inner head of the biceps which develops the thickness of the upper part of your arm.
Barbell Preacher Curl
This is the ultimate bicep workout for going heavy. The preacher bench will keep your form locked in and make you do the negative movement that you can often avoid when doing standard curls. You can’t just drop the bar and only work when lifting it back up. This particular exercise isolates your biceps and prevents you from swinging the bar or using your legs to gain momentum on the way up.
7 Bicep Workouts Using Dumbbells
Dumbbells are the most used piece of equipment for performing curls. You can do all different types of exercises and hit your biceps from many different angles using a dumbbell. They are also smaller and are easier to keep at home where you may not have as much room. They are easy to use and don’t require you to constantly take weight plates on and off all the time.
The dumbbell curl is probably the most popular bicep workout people do. To do this exercise, grip the dumbbell with your palm facing up. Lower the dumbbell so that your arm is extended just below your waist. Lift the dumbbell up to shoulder height and squeeze your muscle for a tight contraction at the end of the rep.
Dumbbell Alternating Curl
This exercise is done the same way as the regular dumbbell curl except for you only do one arm at a time. Whichever arm you choose to do a rep with the first, the other arm stays in the extended position. To make this workout more intense, you can hold the arm that isn’t performing a rep at a 90 degree angle. This way there will constant tension on your biceps throughout the set.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Hammer curls are done the same as any two-handed curl exercises. The only difference is you hold the dumbells like a hammer with your palms facing inward. Hammer curls work entire upper arm and are one of the best bicep workouts for building big arms. You can do this lift with both arms performing reps at the same time or you can alternate them.
Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Dumbell preacher curls can be done in a lot of different ways. You can do two-handed standard, reverse, or hammer curls. You can also do all the same exercises while alternating or just using one dumbbell at a time. Concentration curls are also a great workout using the preacher bench because it helps you isolate your bicep so much.
Dumbbell Rotation Curls
Rotation curls are where the dumbbell is initially being gripped in the hammer position but as you come up toward your shoulders you rotate the dumbbell outward. This is a great bicep workout for getting a killer contraction at the top of the rep. You can do this exercise standing, sitting, on a preacher bench, or using an incline bench.
Dumbbell Incline Curl
The incline curl is one of the best bicep workouts you can do because it forces you to engage the long head of your muscle more. Since you are sitting back, your arms are a little bit behind you. This is what causes the long head of you bicep to stretch. To do this exercise, simply sit back on the incline bench and curl the dumbbell. Regular, hammer, or rotational curls are all effective in this position.
Dumbbell Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is one of the best bicep workouts for fully isolating your muscle. This exercise will add size to your arms and should be included in any plan that involves building massive arms. It is very hard to cheat reps with these. The key to performing them correctly is making sure your elbow is locked into the back of your inner thigh. Since the dumbbell is on one side of your arm and your thigh is on the other, you will be extremely stable allowing for perfect reps.
5 Bicep Workouts Using an E-Z Bar
The E-Z Bar is also commonly known as a curl bar. One of the main reasons why people tend to use the E-Z Bar instead of an Olympic style barbell is it isn’t as hard on your wrists. It is also smaller and more compact making it easier to do various exercises with. Barbells are a little over 7 feet long and the E-Z Bar is less than 4 feet long. The E-Z Bar is one of the best pieces of equipment for a home gym under 500$. You can use it in your house and it can hold up to 300 lbs of weight. You probably won’t need that much weight capacity to do curls though.
E-Z Bar Curl
E-Z Bar curls are performed just like barbell curls. The difference is the curve in the bar keeps your palms from being as supinated. This means you won’t get as much activation in your biceps. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the E-Z Bar however. You can lift more weight with this bar and it isn’t as hard on your wrists. You can also do more exercises because the bar isn’t as big.
E-Z Bar Close-Grip Curl
Close-Grip E-Z bar curls are great for developing the peak of your biceps. Not only will your grip be closer but the curve of the bar will cause a very strong contraction when you squeeze at the top of the rep. This is one of the best bicep workouts for building big arms. You can do standing, seated, or on a preacher bench.
E-Z Bar Wide-Grip Curl
Another great exercise for biceps involves using the E-Z Bar with a wide grip. This is especially effective on a preacher bench because you can lift heavier weight and really isolate your biceps. You can of course do this exercise standing or seated as with most bicep workouts.
E-Z Bar Preacher Curl
One of the most common bicep workouts is the E-Z Bar preacher curl. It is common if for no other reason than because you can lift a lot of weight doing it. You can get a very good contraction at the top of your reps with this exercise and your grip is a little more supinated because your elbows are locked into the bench.
E-Z Bar Spider Curl
Spider curls make it possible for you to maintain a constant level of tension on the upper portion of your bicep. You do this exercise by leaning over an incline bench to perform curls with the E-Z Bar. You can do various grips with this bicep workout but if you have enough weight on the bar you will be able to focus on working the upper bicep without needing to change angles.
7 Bicep Workouts Using Pulley Cables
Cable pulleys are another tool you can use to work multiple parts of your biceps. You can hit almost any angle on your muscles. With standard free weights, you are in a constant battle against gravity. Every exercise is designed to push or pull in an upward motion. Pulleys make it possible to operate on a different plain letting you go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal with the same level of resistance. Pulleys also increase time under tension because your muscles are working at all times. This versatility of the cables allows for many different bicep workouts.
Low Pulley Curl
To do a low pulley curl, attach the tool you are going to curl with to the cable machine near the bottom of the pole. There are a lot of slots that you can use to adjust the angle, you want to be on the very bottom. From here, you just pull up toward your shoulder doing a curl as you would with a dumbbell or a bar. You can also adjust the angle by moving closer or father away from the pulley machine.
Low Pulley V-Bar Curl
This exercise is performed the same way the regular curl with a different attachment. The V-Bar allows your palms to face inward more. Squeeze hard at the top of the rep for a great muscle contraction. This is one of the better pulley bicep workouts to help you gain some size on your arms.
Low Pulley Standing E-Z Bar Curl
The Low-Pulley E-Z Bar curl is essentially the same as a regular E-Z bar curl, it is just attached to the pulley machine. You can adjust the angle easily by adjusting the positioning of the cable or by moving closer or farther away from the machine. You can also use a preacher bench if you don’t mind hogging it for 10-15 minutes.
Low Pulley Seated E-Z Bar Curl
This is very similar to the spider curl. The seated E-Z Bar pulley curl creates a lot of constant tension, especially if you lean over to create the same angle. It is a little harder to get a full extension of the arms because you are already sitting close to the ground so it s important you are sitting far enough away from the machine to get a good rep.
Low Pulley Straight Bar Curl
The Low Pulley Straight Bar curl is the cable version of the barbell curl. The straight bar keeps your arms in the supinated position so you can get the best contraction at the top of each rep. If you really focus on squeezing at the top you can develop your biceps very well with this exercise.
Low Pulley Rope Curl
Ropes are one of the few tools you can use on a cable machine to simulate a hammer curl. The ropes also give you the ability to do rotational curls which are really good for bicep growth. Ropes allow you to do every type of curl possible without having to switch attachments. You can also do single-arm curls with ropes if you like.
High Pulley Cable Curl
High pulleys are great for building the thickness of your bicep. You can stand directly in line with the cables or you can move backward so you are curling at more of a 45-degree angle. You can do this exercise with two arms or just one.
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