Want to build bigger biceps? Finding yourself hitting a plateau? Curling the same old dumbbell will only get you so far, even if you do pile on the weight and keep up with the progressive overload.
Eventually, you need to start getting more adventurous and finding new ways to train the biceps. In this post, we’ll have a look at some of the more challenging and useful moves out there.
Awesome Exercises for Awesome Biceps!
One of the best moves for building the biceps by far is the isolation curl. This is a favorite of Arnold Schwarzenegger and one look at his bicep peaks in his prime will let you know what kind of a testimony that is!
The isolation curl involves sitting on a bench and resting your upper arm on your knee. You then pivot at the elbow and focus purely on moving the weight with your biceps, which will create microtears and lots of pump.
Another great move for really locking the upper arm in place and fully focusing the effort on the bicep is the preacher curl. This involves resting the upper arms on a pad that is at an angle. This has the advantage of being something you can do with a barbell or EZCurl, meaning it can go bilateral and thus take half the time.
21s are not an exercise but rather a protocol. These involve performing 7 reps of partials focusing on the lower portion of the movement, 7 reps in the mid range and 7 reps in the upper range. Not only does this act like a rest pause – forcing you to stop the weight dead and start again with no momentum – but it also allows you to focus different portions of the biceps resulting in a longer muscle head.
Incline Bicep Curl
Sit on a bench and then lean back as though you’re going to do an incline press. Instead of doing that though, you’re going to instead let your arms hang down vertically and then curl dumbbells up through a complete range of motion. This angle is perfect for using the longer heads of the biceps and once again for isolating the muscles.
Underhand Chin Up
So, a chin up is a pull up with an underhand grip. This places the emphasis on the biceps more than the lats (whereas a chin up is more lat-oriented). You could do this even better by making it a one-armed chin up, except most people can’t do that.
So instead, hold on with both hands but then pull harder on one side than the other. This is essentially like performing a one-armed chin up while using your second arm just to stabilize yourself.
Finally, don’t forget the hammer curl. These are great for building the biceps from a different angle and they’re also much comfier than a regular curl in some ways. You can even use these as part of a mechanical drop set: perform ‘regular’ curls to failure and then switch immediately to hammer curls!