If you want to build big biceps fast you came to the holy grail because you are about to learn 20 incredible bicep exercises that will hit every fiber!
First it is important to understand the anatomy of the biceps. There is the long head of the biceps which is responsible for the bicep peak, or the “height” of the bicep. Next up we have the short head of the biceps which gives the bicep its thickness/width. Lastly we have the brachialis which pushes the bicep peak up and is a very important muscle group for bigger arms. Let’s start with the bicep peak – everybody’s favorite!
First thing is first – how do we target the bicep peak during our workout so we grow taller biceps? When it comes to building your bicep peak you need to choose exercises that target the long head of the bicep anatomy. Most lifters have a huge focus on building the elusive bicep peak but they are making a huge mistake by mostly targeting the short head with common bicep movements like the hammer curl and barbell curl.
Do you have lagging bicep Peaks? Join the Club!
As a tall skinny kid I always struggled to grow my bicep peaks. This information is the stuff I wish I had when I was 18, as it took me until my late 20’s to finally develop a prominent bicep peak I could be proud of as a natural lifter.
The biggest sign that you have well developed biceps is when your arms look full and big even when they aren’t flexed. Make sure to bookmark these exercises and stay consistent and you will have some incredible progress in growing bigger biceps.
As you can see a few switches to your bicep exercise selection and mind-muscle connection can make all the difference.
Bicep Peak Anatomy
The bicep muscle has a unique anatomy as it is comprised of the short head and the long head. For the sake of the bicep peak we want to target the long head through our exercise selection. The short head is what makes up the width and thickness and if you are interested in making your biceps wider head over to this article next as I cover 5 exercises for this. The bicep peak however is responsible for making your biceps “taller” hence the word peak.
There are a few training tips we want to utilize to target the long head of the biceps and increase activation in the bicep peak.
Supination of your wrist
You want to have a supinated grip on the dumbbell if you are performing a traditional curl for example. While both heads are responsible for supinating the wrist it is important to note that in a study by Miller and Colleagues, it was stated that “the long head is the more efficient supinator when the forearm is in an already supinated position. The key is you want to start in a supinated position from the beginning and then supinate your wrists so that your pinky pinky points up to the sky and you slightly twist it to the outside of your body.
2. Elbows Behind Body
Research indicates that keeping your elbows behind the body is a great way to increase activation in the bicep peak. For example look at the position of the elbows on the drag curl movement above.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at my 5 favorite moves for growing a bigger bicep peak.
Make sure you check out the list of the best triceps exercises after adding these into your bicep workout.
Bicep Peak Exercise 1 – Long Head Rope Curls
Bicep Peak Exercise 2 – Db Bicep Peak Curls
Bicep Peak Exercise 3 – Barbell Drag Curls
Bicep Peak Exercise 4 – Outside to Inside Curls
Bicep Peak Exercise 5 – Concentration Curls
5 Bicep Exerises For WIDER Biceps
The reason most don’t have bigger looking arms when facing the front is they don’t train the brachialis enough. The brachialis muscle is responsible for the bicep mass on the outer arm, and anatomically pushes up the long head of the biceps.
This helps your arms look wider and thicker from the front, even when your biceps are completely un-flexed and in a t-shirt. How to get bigger biceps starts with the right approach to hitting not only your bicep peak and outer bicep head, but your brachialis every single week.
Exercise 1/5: Iso Lean Hammer Curl
Exercise 2/5: db across the body curl
Exercise 3/5: pronated spider curls (dropset)
Exercise 4/5: pronated db curls
Exercise 5/5: Wide grip parallel grip pull-ups
Thought we were done? Here are 10 more Bicep Exercises for bigger arms!
Watch the video above to see all 10 bicep exercises in action and go through each one to target a different section of your bicep anatomy. Remember that you need to have a fully developed long head, short head and brachialis to reach 100% of your genetic potential in your biceps.
Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls
The Supinated dumbbell bicep curl is a fantastic way to challenge your bicep muscles and is the classic that many guys already know and use. To get more from this exercise however, think of turning the wrists out as you perform the movement, feeling your pinky come towards you and that bicep muscle contract as hard as possible.
You want to lock the elbows into place at the sides as well to prevent momentum from carrying you through the exercise and reducing the stress on the muscle tissues.
The supinated dumbbell bicep curl is perfect for hitting the long head of the bicep muscle and will help add some serious size when done regularly. Alternate arms as you go so you can put full emphasis on that one side of the body.
Bicep Blaster Curls
Bicep blaster curls are going to work every single muscle fiber in your biceps muscle, so if you’re short on time and looking for something to get the job done quickly, it’s a fantastic go-to.
For this exercise you’re going to be alternating between three different bicep exercises in a row, hammer curls, supinated curls, and cross body curls, all while wearing a bicep blaster.
The bicep blaster is going to help to ensure full focus is placed on the bicep muscle and by going from one exercise to the next, you’re going to maximally fatigue the muscle tissues with this triset, ensuring massive gains.
Be sure to use a relatively slow and controlled movement pattern while doing this. When fatigue runs high, most guys will speed up the exercise to just get through the reps and you want to keep challenging yourself and force yourself to maintain tempo. It’ll burn but that’s how you know it’s really working.
Blood Flow Restriction Curls
Blood flow restriction is an interesting concept that many guys aren’t making good use of it. It’s a perfect technique however for challenging the muscles without having to place as much total stress on them. This makes it an ideal option for anyone who may be injured or who just wants to take a break from the heavy weights. You won’t need to lift nearly as much to get great results when doing this type of training.
You’ll hit the entire bicep muscle with this move as well and it’s great for enhancing the metabolic stress placed on the muscle, leading to greater growth than ever.
To do this, simply place the blood flow restriction bands around the arms and then grab a pre-weighted EZ barbell. Using an supinated relatively close grip, begin performing your curls. Next set, consider using an alternative grip pattern so you’re hitting the biceps from all angles.
Barbell curls are another classic standby that will always be good to have in your program plan. When doing your barbell curls, the key thing is to note that your grip will really impact how the biceps are worked. Place the hands outside the shoulders if you want to target the inner head of the bicep muscle and inside the shoulders if you want to hit your bicep peak instead.
You’ll typically find that you can lift more weight on barbell curls than dumbbell curls, so don’t be afraid to up to the next level. This is a great strength and mass builder if you are focused on challenging yourself enough.
Close Grip Preacher Curls
Close grip preacher curls are a perfect move if you really want to get that peak showing as maximally as possible. This exercise is going to target your long head, which is what forms that peak when you flex. To perform it properly, you’ll want to switch to an outside grip, which helps to hit this muscle from a better angle and think of squeezing the muscle at the top of the movement with each and every rep.
With bicep training, no matter what exercise you’re doing you never want to just run through the exercises. You need the mind-muscle connection that will ensure you are forcing the muscle fibers you’re targeting to be pushing their limits.
The nice thing about the preacher curl is because your arms are stationed against the bench pad, you won’t have to ever worry about momentum carrying you through the exercise. If you typically struggle with that – keeping your elbows and body stationary, this is a good exercise to be using on a regular basis.
Close Grip Spider Curls
Close grip spider curls are another fun move that will help to work the bicep peak and can be done to really finish off your muscles at the end of your workout session if you wish.
While many bicep curl exercises look like the movement pattern is very similar and they should be all working the body in the same manner, a big difference you can make is the position of the rest of the body in relation to the biceps. In this exercise for instance, you’re going to be leaning over, which is going to change the range of motion and the nature of the stress on the biceps, therefore challenging the biceps in a new manner.
Dumbbell Incline Curls
Likewise, with this one you’ll go from being in a leaning over position to a laid back position as you plant yourself on an incline bench reclined to around 45 degrees. By doing so, you force the biceps to work through a range of motion you don’t normally hit with a standing upright bicep curl, maximizing your ‘weakest link’ so to speak.
By having this full stretch on the bicep, you’ll get maximum activation on the long head, which will lead to superior growth and strength gains.
Don’t be surprised if you do feel slightly weaker on this exercise – it’s normal. Be prepared to lighten your load somewhat in order to accommodate to this.
Iso Hammer Curl
The iso hammer curl exercise is a great move for hitting the inner head of the biceps as well as the brachialis. This muscle must not be forgotten about because it’ll help to add that thickness to the biceps and give you that full look you’re going for.
To help get the most from this move, you’ll want to rotate your shoulders back and squeeze your pinky against the dumbbell. This will evoke maximum muscle contraction, ensuring every single muscle fiber in your biceps is working.
Slow Way Down Curls
The slow way down curls are a killer and will have you feeling it for sure, so are a nice addition when you really want to push the barrier. This move is going to help build your bicep peak, while also improving overall muscle endurance and stamina.
When doing this exercise, you want to stop at least five times on the way down from every rep. The focus here is on the eccentric portion of the exercise rather than the concentric portion, so this is the point of difference that makes it unique.
You’ll realize higher overall muscle damage when you focus on the concentric portion (and also find you get more sore!), so it can be a great exercise that leads to impressive gains.
Pronated Dumbbell Curls
Finally, consider adding some pronated dumbbell curls to your workout routine. These are good for hitting the short head as well as the brachialis, and will feel like an entirely new movement pattern almost. A simple change in hand position can make a big difference on how this exercise feels so always do keep that in mind.
Using this pronated grip is one of the best ways to widen your arms, creating a fuller look.
Be sure to use the rull range of motion with this one so you don’t cheat yourself out of potential results.
Did you enjoy these bicep exercises? Check out our full database of muscle exercises.
Links to Research Studies used to make this video:
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
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