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If you want to build big biceps but you hesitate on your bicep exercises selection, you came to the holy grail of bicep gains.

You are about to learn 20 incredible bicep exercises that will hit both the long head and short head of the biceps.

This specific exercise selection will properly activate every zone and muscle fiber to grant maximum growth!

Biceps anatomy

biceps anatomy

Before you do any specific exercises, it is important to understand the anatomy and functions of the biceps and its synergistic muscle groups.

The word “Biceps” is derived from the Latin “Bi”, meaning “Two” and “Ceps” meaning “Head”.

This two-headed muscle is made up of two parts – The long head and the short head.

The long head is located on the outer portion of the arm and accounts for that peaky look of the arm.

On the flipside, we have the short head, which is located on the inner portion of the arm and grants thickness and width, if properly developed.

Last but not least, we have the brachialis & brachioradialis.

The first one is right between the biceps and the triceps and “pushes” the bicep peak up, making it one of the most important muscles for overall bicep development.

The latter (brachioradialis) is on the top of the forearm and it has a main function of elbow flexion, as well as pronation and supination (Explained in a bit).

Now that we have basic anatomy in check, let’s get to the exercises, starting off with the PEAK!

How to select bicep exercises for the PEAK

We now know that if our main goal is developing PEAKY arms, we must choose exercises that target the LONG head of the biceps.

A common mistake among trainees is poor exercise selection.

The classic exercises like hammer and barbell curls mostly target the short head of the biceps, meaning we get little to none peak work.

Do you have lagging bicep Peaks? Welcome to the Club!

For me personally, back when I was a tall, skinny kid, growing my peaks was ALWAYS a struggle.

Over the years however, I found out what works and what doesn’t.

In this article, I’ve gathered ALL the information & exercises I wish I had when I was 18.

This is the information that helped me develop a prominent bicep peak that I can be proud of, as a natural lifter.

For me this was in the late 20’s, but I want YOU to get those peaks as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so, if you want to have juicy arms that look big and full even when they are relaxed, make sure to bookmark these exercises.

Of course, knowing what you’re doing before you start doing it, is just the first step.

Do stay consistent with these exercises and I promise you, incredible bicep progress will be visible in NO TIME!

A few adjustments to your bicep exercise selection and mind-muscle connection can make all the difference.

Bicep training tips

Before we get into the sauce and actual exercises, let’s take a look at some of the most viable tips for bicep training.

Rest assured, these are minor adjustments that make ALL the difference.

Here are a couple of training tips we want to utilize to target the long head of the biceps and increase activation in the bicep peak.

  1. Supination of your wrist

supination bicep curls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the position of your wrist makes all the difference in the world when it comes to bicep activation. 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7570586

Both the short and the long head are supinators (Rotate the wrist outwards), HOWEVER, the long head is the more efficient supinator, given that the forearm is in an already supinated position.

Rest assured this isn’t just hypothesis – This was concluded by Miller and Colleagues in a biomechanical analysis of the upper arm muscles. 2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21813298

How can we apply the information from this study? Pretty simple.

You want to start in a supinated position right off the bat, then further supinate your wrists to MASSIVELY activate that long head. 3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8404567

2. Elbows Behind Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve tried this technique, you’d know that keeping your elbows behind the body is a great way to increase activation in the bicep peak.

This little actionable tip can be applied on many exercises, such as the drag curl movement which we showcase 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

long head rope curls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sets: 3

Reps: 8-10

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

This is one of the exercises that you don’t see people do all that often.

Though highly underrated, this is a move that emphasizes the long head of the biceps.

The best part? It positions your elbow behind your body and allows you to get a full stretch of the biceps.

Execution:

  1. Set up a rope on the lower pulley
  2. Bend over and grab the rope with a hammer grip (Between supination and pronation)
  3. Stand up straight and balanced
  4. Keep elbows behind the body
  5. Pull the rope up, contracting the biceps and forearms
  6. Hold peak flexion briefly, then go down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: Even though supination is key for long head activation, this is one of the movements that will DEMOLISH your peaks with a neutral (hammer) grip. Try it.

Video showcase:

Bicep Peak Exercise 2 – Dumbbell peak Curl

bicep peak exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sets: 2

Reps: 8-10

Rest times: ~60 seconds between sets

This exercise will TREMENDOUSLY maximize the activation of your bicep peaks.

On top of that, it will allow you to almost completely eliminate forearm activation.

What this simply means is that nearly ALL the tension will go to the targeted area – The long head.

Notes: Keep the palms up for maximum possible supination and keep a short range of motion to maintain time under tension.

Execution:

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands underneath the upper plate
  2. Stand up straight and balanced, keeping the upper arms close to the body
  3. Curl the dumbbell up, keeping the wrists facing up for maximum activation and supination
  4. Hold peak flexion briefly and let the dumbbell go down, but not completely – Partial range of motion here!

Note that it is important to avoid forward motions with your elbow – You don’t want any swinging! Instead, keep maximum possible tension on the biceps, with no inertial movements.

Video showcase:

Bicep Peak Exercise 3 – Barbell Drag Curls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sets: 2

Reps: 10

Rest times: ~90 seconds between sets

We gave this exercise as an example for keeping the elbows behind the body.

Keep in mind this is a relatively heavy movement, so don’t be afraid to up the intensity on this one.

Now let’s take an in-depth look at it and see why it is so good for bicep peak development.

Execution:

  1. Grab the barbell with a shoulder-width, underhand grip
  2. Stand up straight and place feet in a balanced way
  3. Look up and avoid slouching your shoulders
  4. Place the elbows behind the body
  5. Keep the bar close to your body
  6. Curl up, contracting the biceps up top
  7. After briefly holding the peak flexion, return down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: Maintain a static position of the wrists – If you flex the wrists too much, a LOT of the tension will go to the forearms!

Video showcase:

Bicep Peak Exercise 4 – Outside to Inside Curls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sets: 2

Reps: 30 seconds TUT

Rest times: ~60 seconds between sets

With the previous exercises, we were mainly utilizing the second bicep training tip – Keeping the elbows behind the back.

Now let’s see how we can play around with the supination & wrist position.

This specific exercise focuses exactly on a prominent supination, hence putting a massive amount of tension on the bicep peak.

Execution:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand up straight and balanced
  2. Keep the arms open slightly out with palms facing forward
  3. Curl both dumbbells up simultaneously until they are just below the lower chest line
  4. Make sure to further supinate the wrists at peak contraction
  5. Return down slowly on the eccentric phase

Note that the initial wrist position at the bottom can be alternated between open (supinated) and hammer (half pronated) grips.

The upper arms remain in a static position and the elbows do not move forward.

Make sure that your pinkies are pointing up at the peak level of contraction.

Video showcase:

Bicep Peak Exercise 5 – Concentration Curls

concentration curl

Sets: 2

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

If there’s one dumbbell exercise that the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger used to develop prominent bicep peaks, it would be this one.

When it comes to isolated exercises that activate the long head of the biceps, it doesn’t really get better than concentrated curls.

Execution

  1. Grab a dumbbell and sit down on the side of a bench
  2. Rest your arm on the inside of your upper leg
  3. Keep the back straight but torso slightly bent over
  4. Rest your other arm on the opposite leg for balance
  5. Look down and curl the dumbbell up, prominently supinating the wrist up top
  6. Hold peak flexion briefly and go down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: Your wrist is supinated in the initial position at the bottom and gets further supinated up top upon peak flexion.

Video showcase:

5 Bicep Exerises For WIDER Biceps

As we mentioned earlier, the brachialis is the muscle between the biceps and the triceps and it gives a push to the biceps peak.

This is the muscle that will make your arms stand out, when you’re hitting a front double biceps

Knowing how to get a bigger biceps isn’t just about the development of the bicep itself.

It’s also a matter of having well-developed, bulky brachialis, you see.

Now let’s see the top 5 exercises that will give MASSIVE width to your arms.

Exercise 1/5: Iso Lean Hammer Curl

Sets: 2

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

If you’ve done other unilateral, leaning movements like one arm lateral raises, you’d know how good they are for massive pumps.

For this second workout, we’ll start with a neutral grip, one-arm hammer curl, using a wall to lean on.

Rest assured, this will pump your ENTIRE upper arm, especially if you apply a tricep contraction at the bottom of the movement.

Execution:

  1. Grab a dumbbell and stand against a wall
  2. With the opposite arm, lean on the wall
  3. Keep the dumbbell by your side with a neutral (Hammer) grip
  4. Curl the dumbbell up with no supination in the wrist
  5. Hold peak flexion, return down slowly
  6. Contract the triceps at the bottom

NOTE: Keep the elbow close to the body and avoid having it move forward. The upper arm is at a 90-degree angle and remains in a static position throughout the whole movement.

PRO TIP: Rotate the shoulder slightly back and grip the dumbbell as hard as possible for maximum activation and contraction.

Video showcase:

Exercise 2/5: db across the body curl

Sets: 2

Reps: 8-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

Let’s move on to another variation of the hammer curl, this time the arm goes across the body for maximum contraction.

It is important to keep the elbow locked to the side and keep a moderate pace for the entire range of motion.

Execution:

  1. Grab a dumbbell and stand up straight stably
  2. Keep the wrist pronated and the elbow locked to the side of the body
  3. Hammer the dumbbell up and across the body, contracting the arm as hard as possible
  4. Return slowly down on the eccentric phase

NOTE: Avoid lifting the dumbbell above your chest. Optimal contraction occurs at around lower chest level.

Video showcase:

Exercise 3/5: pronated spider curls (dropset)

Sets: 2

Reps: 8-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

You often see people doing traditional curling movements and reverse grip movements, but for this one, we’ll make a tweak.

In this exercise, we’ll use an almost completely pronated grip and chest support from the bench press for maximum arm tension.

Trust us, this one will blast your upper arms on fire if you do it correctly.

Execution:

  1. Set up an incline bench to a 45-degree angle
  2. Grab an EZ-bar with a pronated grip at shoulder width
  3. Set yourself up on the incline bench, leaning on your chest
  4. Step on your feet stably
  5. Curl the bar up, contracting the upper arm fully
  6. Go down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: Keep the arms at shoulder width.

PRO TIP: When you’re nearing failure, start pumping out half-reps – These are pure GOLD for the brachialis.

Video showcase:

Exercise 4/5: pronated db curls

Sets: 2

Reps: 8-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

Feel like doing a classic curl, but want to target the brachialis more? Say no more.

The pronated DB curls are one of the best alternatives of regular curls, which will allow you to emphasize on the brachialis.

A tweak we’re doing to this is also the full biceps stretch & triceps contraction at the bottom!

Execution:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a half-pronated (reverse) grip
  2. Stand with your feet at shoulder width and knees slightly bent for balance
  3. Bend over slightly, keeping the arms at shoulder width
  4. Curl the dumbbells up, maintaining pronated grip
  5. Briefly hold peak flexion, then go down slowly on the negative phase of the movement
  6. Contract the triceps and stretch the biceps fully at the bottom

Video showcase:

Exercise 5/5: Wide grip parallel grip pull-ups

Sets: 2

Reps: 8-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

Remember our article on bicep peaks?

On there we mentioned a study that concluded that chin-ups and wide-grip parallel pull-ups are the very BEST activators of the biceps & brachialis.

If your biceps are lagging overall, then including this exercise in your routine will lead to DRASTIC changes.

Execution:

  1. Hang on the pull-up bar with a wide parallel (hammer) grip
  2. Keep feet together and look slightly up
  3. Pull yourself up, until you feel peak flexion at the biceps
  4. Go down slowly, maintaining tension on the biceps

PRO TIP: If your arms are really behind, include up to 10 sets of these pull-ups weekly. Make sure to have adequate recovery times of at least 72 hours between biceps training sessions.

Video showcase:

Thought we were done? Here are 8 more Bicep Exercises for bigger arms!

Two workouts are good, but third time’s a charm. To finish this off, we have prepared 10 more bicep blasting exercises for you.

Below, we have visual showcase with written execution steps, however, you can feel free to check out the video above, where all 10 exercises are showcased.

Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 12-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

The Supinated dumbbell bicep curl is a fantastic way to challenge your bicep muscles and is the classic exercise that many guys already know and use.

Note that we are focusing on a prominent supination to allow for maximum long head activation at the peak flexion of the movement.

To further optimize the movement, we lock the elbows to the sides and avoid inertial movements to help us on the way up.

Remember – The more tension and activation to the biceps, the better.

Execution:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep them by your sides
  • Start in a supinated position and keep torso straight and stable
  • Curl one of the dumbbells up, further supinating the wrist and contracting the biceps prominently
  • Go down slowly on the eccentric phase and contract the triceps at the bottom while stretching the biceps
  • Repeat the same thing on the opposite side

Note that you must not use inertial movements, nor should your elbow move forward. Go for maximum tension on the biceps.

Video showcase:

Bicep Blaster Curls

Bicep Blaster Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 12-10 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

This is one of the exercises that will grant extra support and in turn massively activate every zone and fiber of your biceps.

If you don’t have much time and are looking to get as much tension as possible in the workout, do include this in your bicep exercises arsenal.

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.

Execution:

  • Place the bicep blaster comfortably & grab a pair of dumbbells
  • Stand up straight and tuck your arms to the pads of the bicep blaster
  • Keep torso straight and wrists supinated at the bottom
  • Curl up and further supinate the wrists to emphasize on the long head
  • Go down slowly

Note that we do 1 set of each variation (Supinated, hammer and cross-body curls).

The execution for the latter two is basically the same, with the only difference being the grip position.

Video showcase:

Blood Flow Restriction Curls

Blood Flow Restriction Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

If you’ve followed some of our previous posts, you’d know there are 3 rules for maximum hypertrophy – Mechanical tension, metabolic stress & muscle damage.

Now, blood flow restriction training, also known as “Occlusion training” is a method that MAXIMIZES the second law of growth – Metabolic stress.

In essence, with BFR, we wrap a band or wrap at the top of the working limb, to restrict the blood flow to it, as the name suggests.

What this does, is it keeps the metabolites and blood accumulated during intense work, for LONGER.

The end result? Maximum metabolic stress and hence, massive gains, if you apply this to your bicep exercises.

Execution:

  1. Wrap bands at the top of the biceps (Tight, but not too tight)
  2. Pick an EZ bar, loaded with a relatively heavy weight (~80% of what you’d normally use for this exercise)
  3. Grab the EZ bar at around shoulder width, where the grip is slightly pronated
  4. Curl the bar up, contracting the biceps up top
  5. Hold the peak flexion for half a second & let go slowly on the eccentric phase

Pro tip: Alternate between pronated and supinated grips for maximum tension on all zones of the biceps.

Video showcase:

Barbell Curls

Barbell Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – If you want REAL gains, it doesn’t get better than heavy, compound bicep exercises.

The barbell curls offer just that, as they are an exercise that is worth including, if your goal is having bigger arms.

However, it is also a move that is commonly done wrong.

What you want to do is have a grip, slightly wider than shoulder width and keep the upper arm static.

That is, if you want to target the short head. If however, you want to gain some peaks, go for a more narrow grip.

Execution:

  1. Load the barbell and grab it slightly wider than shoulder width
  2. Stand up straight and look forward
  3. Curl the barbell up, without letting the elbows go forward
  4. Squeeze the biceps up top and slowly return down on the negative phase

NOTE: Don’t curl all the way up to the shoulders, as that will take away from the biceps’ tension. Instead, stop around mid-chest level and hold the peak flexion there.

Video showcase:

Close Grip Preacher Curls

Close Grip Preacher Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

Did you know that the preacher curls were originally referred to as “Scott curls”, as they were invented by Larry Scott himself?

Check out Larry Scott’s bicep peaks – This is EXACTLY what this exercise targets.

If you want maximum long head activation in your bicep exercises, it doesn’t really get better than preacher curls.

The best thing about this exercise? It pretty much isolates the biceps, as we are using the support of a pad.

No inertial movements are possible here, unless you are really trying to cheat.

Execution:

  1. Grab a bar with a grip closer than shoulder width
  2. Sit down on the preacher and place your arms on the pad
  3. Make sure your armpits are tucked tight on to the pad
  4. Curl the barbell up, contracting the biceps up top
  5. Let go down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: If you curl all the way to your face, the biceps will relax. That’s why we recommend you to utilize the “Partial reps” principle and maintain constant tension on the biceps!

Video showcase:

Close Grip Spider Curls

Close Grip Spider Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

Conventional bicep exercises like dumbbell and barbell curls are good for overload and high intensity.

However, it is exercises like this one that will target the outskirts of your biceps crossectional area and grant MAXIMUM development, overall.

The close grip spider curls are a fun move that will target the peak.

This is an exercise that can be done as a bicep finisher.

The specific positioning during this exercise, will change up the range of motion and the peak contraction point will become easier.

Execution:

  1. Set up an incline bench to a 45-degree angle
  2. Grab a loaded EZ-Bar with a grip more narrow than shoulder width
  3. Face front the bench and set yourself up with a comfortable chest support
  4. Look down, then curl the bar up, contracting the biceps up top
  5. Hold the peak flexion for half a second and return down slowly, maintaining tension on the biceps

Video showcase:

Dumbbell Incline Curls

Dumbbell Incline Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

One of the best things you can do to really place tension on the biceps is stretch it entirely at the bottom of the movement & contract the triceps.

As the triceps are the opposing group of the biceps (Antagonistic pairs), the working biceps will receive a relaxation & stretch signal, upon triceps contraction.

This will grant you the ability to pump out a couple extra repetitions and massively optimize long head activation.

And this is EXACTLY what the incline bench curls allow you to do.

The end result? Massive peaks in the long term.

Execution:

  1. Set up an incline bench, preferably at a 45-degree angle or one step higher
  2. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit down on the bench
  3. Rest the back and head on the pad, keep arms extended at the initial position
  4. Keep wrists supinated (palms open)
  5. Curl the dumbbells up, contracting the biceps and further supinating the wrists
  6. Hold the peak contraction for a second and go down slowly on the eccentric phase

NOTE: As mentioned, we highly recommend applying a triceps contraction at the bottom to maximize eccentric tension.

Video showcase:

Slow Way Down Curls

Slow Way Down Curls Bicep Exercises

Sets: 3

Reps: 10-12 repetitions

Rest times: ~75 seconds between sets

We’ve mentioned in the past that mechanical tension can be applied both on the concentric and eccentric phases of the movements.

This is one of the best bicep exercises, as it allows you to maximize tension on both parts of the movement.

Furthermore, the execution itself will allow you to develop strength endurance and stamina.

Note that we focus here on the eccentric phase of the movement.

Execution:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand up straight
  2. Open your arms out in a supinated position
  3. Look up slightly and curl the dumbbells up
  4. Hold the peak flexion for maximum concentric tension
  5. Go down VERY slowly on the eccentric phase and hold down for 1-2 seconds before the next rep

Video showcase:

Did you enjoy these bicep exercises? Check out our full database of muscle exercises.

 

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