5 best biceps exercises for men’s arm workout

In this article we introduce 5 good biceps exercises and explain why they are effective, if you know the basics of how biceps muscles work.
11.04.2020

5 best biceps exercises for men’s arm workout

Popeye lied to you, if you want big biceps, eating a can of spinach won’t be enough. Every man wants to grow their arms, being these one of the most trained body parts. It’s recommended to train biceps two or three times a week, together with other body parts for a more complete targeting of the muscles. But how to achieve this? We give you the recommendations you need.

How to train properly your biceps?

What is biceps, what is its function?

The biceps is a large muscle tissue on the front of the upper arm between your shoulder and your elbow. Your bicep is comprised of two heads (which explains the “bi” in the name), the long head and short head.

The biceps works across three joints and the most important of its functions is to supinate the forearm and flex the elbow, meaning it is essential for you to be able to move your arms.

How do you recommend building up a training plan for arms?

Besides the two heads on your biceps, there’s also an elbow-flexing muscle called the brachialis, which shouldn’t be forgotten in your training plan if your goal is to pump up your biceps.

There is not such thing as a training plan dedicated to arms. Or there shouldn’t. A well-designed training plan should also focus on building strength in the rest of your body parts, as you don’t want to create any muscle imbalances or risks of injury, while at the same time, a small torso with bulky arms is not a look you want to show at the beach.

However, for a couple of weeks you can indeed give extra focus to your arms and that is what we’ll help you with in this article.

Why is it good to do triceps exercises on the same training?

Both the biceps and the triceps are part of your upper arms, however, they are located in different and opposite areas; and while for your workouts you could consider them one muscle muscle group to train, when it comes to anatomy they belong to different muscle groups: one posterior and one anterior.

This difference is important because, when you think about your gym routines, it is recommended to give at least 48 hours for a muscle group to recover before training it again; but as the biceps and triceps are anatomically two different muscle groups, it is not a problem to train them together or within 48 hours from each other.

What are the most common biceps workout mistakes at the gym?

Elbows: Not lockinging them to your sides and failing to extend them

When you move your arms away from your body you activate the shoulders, which takes strain off the biceps. Focus on straight up and down movements and make sure your elbows are locked on their position next to you. If needed, go with a very lightweight to begin, wrapping a band around your body so that you can perfect the form. Also, don’t forget to extend and get full range of motion, your arm should almost form a 180-degree angle at the bottom, where your arms are almost fully extended.

Grip: Always using the same width

Don’t get stuck at the same EZ Bar curls, just switching to a barbell and changing your grip on your curls can have a very positive effect on your biceps. If you want to hit the short (inner) head more strongly, use external rotation, which is when you use a wider than shoulder-width grip so your arms turn out at the shoulder joints. Careful! Do not do this with excessive weight or you can cause damage to your shoulder joints. In contrast, grabbing the bar with a narrower than shoulder-width grip, will result in your arms being turned in, known as internal rotation, and you’ll activate the outer (long) head to a greater degree.

Angles: Not mixing up enough

Increasing weight is not the only way to grow your biceps; neither is using the same exercises forever. Depending on the angle that you’re using with the weight, it is going to work different parts of your muscle, which is very important for developing symmetry, shocking the body and including variety to your workout, which will not only make your muscles look better, but will also help you bring up a weakness or focus on a particular area that needs development.

To give you some examples, this is how different angles change your hammer curls:

  • Standard angle: Works both heads, and the brachialis.
  • Externally rotating the shoulders: Brings tension to the inner bicep head and the brachialis.
  • Internally rotating shoulders: Brings tension to the outer bicep head and the brachialis.

Overtraining: Doing too much

This applies both for the weight used to train and the amount of exercises in your biceps workout. When you compare your biceps to other bigger body parts like your lats or quadriceps, your biceps are a very small muscle, and putting as many sets for your biceps as you put for your back will more likely result in overtraining. In addition, if you are determined to grow your arms, it is common to try to increase the weight as soon as possible, but this will only cause injuries and keep you from executing the exercises with proper form. You should always use a challeging weight but without sacrificing your form.

Balance: Swinging

And speakin of proper form and using too much weight, a sum of previous mistakes can result in your body constantly swinging to do the exercise, which is basically cheating. To avoid this from happening, make sure to lock your elbows, tighten your core and focus moving with your arms without having to carry the weight load by pushing with your hips or your back.

Watch: 4 Biceps Curl Mistakes You Didn't Know You're Making (How To Fix Them)

5 best biceps workout exercises

5 best biceps workout exercises

1. Standing barbell curl: A well known biceps exercise that can be done with a variety of grip widths, tempos, loads, and ranges. One of the best general strength and mass building movements as it allows you to lift significant amounts of weight, is easily performed anywhere with just a barbell, and requires little technical knowledge. When done correctly this exercise targets the biceps and can add serious size and strength to the entire muscle.

2. Standing cable curl: Can also be done with a variety of attachments for lots of exercises such as EZ bars, reverse straight bar curls, rope hammer curls, and more. The importance of this type of curls is that the cable challenges the muscle with tension at every moment of the movement, meaning the cable machine keeps a more steady and constant load on the biceps for longer time, which may bring more growth.

3. Overhead cable curl: A biceps-focused exercise performed between two cable stacks, using a pair of handles. The arms and elbows are held at shoulder height throughout the movement, and both hands curl in towards the ears. This position is designed to eliminate shoulder involvement and momentum, while targeting the biceps peak. It is also an option to perform this exercise with only one cable rack and focusing on each arm separately on each set.

4. Concentration curl: This is one of the most common exercises; you’ve seen it in any gym or even as part of every single fitness commercial. You simply need a dumbell and a bench. Rest your elbow on the leg on the same side, just next to the knee, making sure to keep your torso straight and stable. Curl the weight up, focusing on squeezing the bicep, pause at the top, and then go back down.

5. Scott preacher curl: A preacher bench helps isolate your biceps by taking your other upper-body muscles out of the equation, which is perfect to let your biceps do the work without assistance at their weakest point. Using an EZ bar, rest your upper arms on the pad and hold the bar in front of you with your elbows slightly bent, and the back of your upper arm properly positioned on the pad. Take the bar towards your shoulders and then go back to initial position without lifting your upper arms from the pad.

Biceps and triceps workout plan

Biceps and triceps workout plan

Biceps:

  • 1x20 Straight-bar bicep curl
  • 12, 10, 8, 8, 15 EZ bar bicep curl
  • 4x12 Double arm cable bicep curl
  • 3x15 Standing double arm overhead cable curl

Triceps:

  • 1x20 Cable bar triceps extension
  • 12, 10, 8, 8, 15 Overhead cable rope triceps extension
  • 4x12 Lying cross chest-tricep extension
  • 3x15 Bench dips

Have a happy and safe workout! J


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