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While building your biceps can be a daunting task, it can also be oh-so rewarding. After all, it’s difficult to ignore a man in a crisp white t-shirt who is effortlessly flaunting his toned torso and sculpted arms. If you’ve been following a solid workout regime, you will already know that working on your arms and building those biceps and triceps is essential.  

It’s also a myth that you need to be into hardcore gyming and lifting unfathomable amounts of weights to get toned biceps. Just being regular and consistent with your bicep workouts, and focusing on your form, is enough.

So, if you are interested in developing upper body strength, we can be of help. Here are some easy bicep exercises to focus on and add that extra muscle mass that will, eventually, help you lift heavier loads with ease. If you are a beginner, here is some vital information about building biceps and the proper exercises to include in your workout regime. 

How to plan your biceps workouts? 

Planning your biceps workouts involves selecting the right exercises, determining the right sets and reps, and ensuring that you target the proper muscles. Not to mention, ensuring your form is correct is of VITAL importance.

Like all other workouts, the first step involves choosing the correct exercises. Some of the most effective bicep exercises include bicep curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, concentration curls and chin-ups. You can select any two to three of these exercises to include in your workout. The second step involves deciding the number of sets and reps to do. It’s important to factor in the amount of weight you are planning on lifting. Many people tend to lift heavy weights and do lesser reps, many times till they reach a point of failure. This is also known as training to failure. However, if you are a beginner, you should focus on lifting lighter weights and doing more reps. Not to mention, by doing so, you can also focus on your form.

You can also adjust the number of sets and reps you do (along with the weights you lift) based on your progress and updated fitness goals. A good starting point for sets and reps however is 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise.

Biceps Workout
Image credit: Unsplash/Anastase Maragos

As mentioned above, it’s absolutely vital to maintain the proper form. When performing bicep exercises, maintaining the proper form will help you avoid injury, while also ensuring that your workouts are effective. Keep your elbows tight to your body, engage your core, and avoid swinging your arms or using momentum to lift the weight. To ensure you are targeting the biceps from different angles, consider including both compound and isolation exercises as well. Compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups, while isolation exercises focus on a single muscle group. A good workout routine should ideally include a mixture of both.

Additionally, allow your biceps to recover between workouts by giving them at least 48 hours of rest. This will help prevent injuries and ensure that your muscles have time to rebuild and grow.

7 bicep exercises to add to your fitness routine

Now that we are done with all of the guidelines, it’s time to get to business. From bicep curls to hammer curls, these solid bicep exercises will help you pop out those arm muscles and help you achieve your fitness goals and resolutions.

1. Biceps Curl

Arguably the most popular exercise to do, biceps curls target your biceps while also working on your forearms and shoulders. When doing this exercise, you need to stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing forward. Keep your elbows close to your body, and your upper arms still as you slowly curl the weights towards your shoulders. Keep your wrists straight and make sure your grip is firm (this is important!). Repeat the exercise according to your desired number of reps and sets.

2. High Cable Curl

The high cable curl is an exercise that targets the biceps muscles and helps build your arm’s strength and size. To do this exercise, you first need to set the cable pulley to the highest position, attach a straight bar or rope handle to the cable, stand facing the cable machine and grab the bar or handle with an underhand grip. Then, keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms still as you curl the bar or handle towards your shoulders. When performing the high cable curl, it’s important to keep your back straight to avoid injuries and an improper form.

3. Chin-Up

Another great exercise for building biceps is chin-ups. It will help build the strength and size of your biceps (notice a pattern?), back and shoulders. Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio or dynamic stretching to warm up your muscles. After that, perform three sets of as many reps as possible without compromising on your form. If you are unable to perform a full chin-up, or if you see that your form is faltering, you can also take the assistance of a resistance band.

4. Hammer Curl

Hammer curls are for targeting your biceps and forearm muscles. To do them, you need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other. Now slowly curl the weights towards your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms still. You can also use different types of equipment such as a barbell or kettlebell for hammer curls. For the best results, it’s important to have the proper form. So start with weights that you can comfortably lift for the desired number of reps.

5. Inclined dumbbell Curl

Incline dumbbell curls are a variation of bicep curls that targets your muscles in a slightly different way as the incline position puts a greater emphasis on your biceps. To do this exercise, adjust an incline bench to a 45-degree angle and sit on it with a dumbbell in each hand. Now let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms facing forward and slowly curl the weights towards your shoulders. Inhale as you lift the weights and pause for a bit at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position while exhaling.

6. Zottman Curl

A Zottman curl targets all three muscles that build up the biceps – the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis. Like a bicep curl, to do this exercise you first need to hold a dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip while slowly curling the weights towards your shoulders. Once the weights are at shoulder level, rotate your wrists so that your palms are now facing down. Now bring down your arms to complete the rep.

7. EZ Bar Curl

The EZ bar curl is a bicep curl variation that is performed using an EZ bar. For those not aware of the term, an EZ bar is a barbell with angled grips that is easier on the wrists than a straight barbell. Like the rest of the biceps workouts mentioned on our list, this too is a relatively easy exercise to do. Start first by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now hold the EZ bar with your palms facing up. Slowly curl the bar towards your shoulders and exhale as you lift the bar. At the top of the movement, pause for a bit and then lower the bar back to the starting position to complete the exercise.

(Hero and feature image credit: Courtesy Pexels and Unsplash/Andres Ayrton and Gordan Cowie) 

This story first appeared here.