Bicep Building Workout

Biceps are probably the most worked muscle in the gym. The two most obvious reasons that this particular muscle gets such extensive training is 1) it is usually the most visible muscle on a man’s body and 2) because it is often the easiest muscle to show results. In many cases, bicep building is what brings a lot of people to the gym in the first place. Knowing how to maximize your bicep training will produce even faster results. We have listed some of the most popular bicep exercises below, as always, take the time to try them out and choose the ones that work the best for your particular training program.

Recommended Sets and Reps
Training Level
# of exercises and sets
# of repetitions
3 exercises/3 sets ea.
10-15 per set
3 exercises/4 sets ea.
7-12 per set
3-4 exercises/3-4 sets
5-10 per set

Important Tips for Effective Bicep Training

To get the maximime benefit from your bicep training, it is important to remember to:

  • Keep the weight under control on both the lift and the negative movement of the exercise. Make sure you have enough control to avoid swinging the weights.
  • Hold the count to at least two and to make sure you’re fullly contracting the muscle at the top of each repetition.
  • Use enough weight that your last repetition is difficult but not impossible.
  • Warm up with a light cardiovascular exercise and make sure you’re doing some stretching in between your repetitions.
  • Work your biceps every other day. If you’re lifting an extremely heavy amount of weight, 2-3 days is suggested.
  • Vary your workout by simply substituting exercises.
  • Avoid shifting elbows outward and resting weight on the joint and long bones of forearm.
  • Avoid resting at the top and bottom of the movement.
  • Avoid using the muscles in your back to make the lift.

Following are several bicep exercises to use in the program illustrated above. Refer to the chart for the number of exercises, sets and repetitions. As with all bodybuilding techniques, remember to switch your exercises occassionally.

Bicep Training Exercises

Standing Straight Bar Curls Grab the outer grips on the curl bar with a relaxed grip. Make sure your arms are fully extended at the start with the bar at or a little bit below your waist. Keeping your grip relaxed throughout the movement, gently bring the weight back up to the start position as if you were dragging it up. Make sure you are flexing your bicep at the top. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Preacher Curls Grab the outer grips of the curl bar and make sure your seat position is such that your shoulders are not draped over the pad on the preacher bench. With a relaxed grip, slowly lower the weight as far down as you can without fully locking out the elbow. Slowly bring the weight back up to the start making sure you’ve reached full contraction of the bicep. Make sure you are maintaining control throughout the positive and negative parts of the movement. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Dumbbell Concentration Curls Rest the elbow of the arm you intend to start the exercise with against the inner thigh of the corresponding leg. You can place the hand of the other arm right behind the elbow for extra support. Your start position should be with the weight as far down as possible without fully locking out the elbow. Slowly drag the weight up until you’ve fully contracted the bicep muscle. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Standing Barbell Curls Choose the appropriate barbell weight. Placing your hands on the barbell about 4-6 inches wider than your shoulder, bring the barbell to the starting position. Standing erect, with the barbell pressed against your upper thighs and upper arms pressed against your torso, slowly bend your elbows bringing the barbell up to a position just under your chin. As you slowly bring the bar up, avoid swinging your body. Slowly bring the bar down to the starting position.
Hammer Curl Complete this exercise the same way you would a normal curl except hold the dumbbell like you would a hammer with the bar vertical.
Hangover Barbell Curls Kneel on an inclined bench, with your chest leaning against the back rest and your arms hanging over the other side. Hold a barbell a little less than shoulder-width apart, making sure that your arms form a 90° angle with your chest at all times, and curl the bar 8 to 12 times.
Supinating Dumbbell Curls on Ball Sit on an exercise ball, holding dumbbells in each hand and with your arms by your sides, palms facing inward. Curl both arms at the same time, turning your palms up about halfway through the movement, so that you complete the curl with your palms facing upward.
Overhead Cable Curls Attach the stirrup attachment to two overhead cable pulleys. Stand between them and grasp the handles with an underhand grip. Hold your arms straight out to your sides so your body is forming a “T” and put your hands at about the same height as your head. With your elbows staying in the same place, curl your hands toward your shoulders. Your elbows should not go up or down, and they should not go forward! Squeeze for a moment and return to the starting position.
Dumbbell Bicep Curls Stand straight up, with your head up and your legs straight. Start with the dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing in. Curl dumbbells up at the same time, twising your wrists on the way up. Your palms should be facing up when you are at the end of the movement. Do NOT swing and do NOT move your elbows. They should stay in the same place during the whole movement. Keep your arms close to your side.

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