Bicep Exercises: The Best Workouts To Tone Them

Bicep Exercises: The Best Workouts To Tone Them

Biceps exercises target the major muscle groups in the arm, which play a significant role in upper limb movement.

Your arms are more on display than most other parts of the body, and while our inclination to want stronger arms is completely natural, many of us try to get it ineffectively, i.e. by repeating the same exercises every week, without increase volume and intensity.

Having said that, we just have to discover the best biceps exercises, how to perform them correctly and some training examples

What are biceps for and where are they located?

The upper arm is located between the shoulder joint and the elbow joint, and contains three muscles located in the anterior compartment namely:

  • Brachial biceps.
  • brachial.
  • Coracobrachiale.
  • The biceps, short for biceps brachii, is a muscle located on the front of the upper arm.

    It is so called because it is made up of two distinct heads: a longer outer head and a shorter inner head. Both originate from the scapula, and insert onto the radial tuberosity, which is a small bony protrusion just beyond the elbow.

    Functions of the biceps include:

    • Flexion of the elbow joint; this involves bringing the forearm towards the body.
    • Forearm supination: means turning the palm of the hand up.
    • Shoulder elevation: i.e. raise the arm.

    Biceps exercises: why and how to train them?

    Training the biceps is essential for having toned and strong arms, also because these muscles are mainly used in all those movements that require traction.

    Including bicep exercises is a great finisher during an upper body workout; you can combine the exercises to create an explosive arm superset.

    If you are interested in the topic, discover our arm workout.

    Biceps exercises: tips to train them at their best

    • Train your biceps up to three non-consecutive days a week. This means at least one day of rest between bicep workouts.
    • If your goal is to gain muscle mass, lift heavier weights and do 6 to 8 reps. The last couple of reps should be hard. If not, you need to increase the load. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets. Repeat for three to four sets.
    • If endurance and muscle mass are your goal, use a lighter weight and perform one to three sets of 12 to 16 repetitions with at least one rest day in between.
    • For maximum results, change up your workouts. Don’t do the exact same exercises in every session.

    Regardless of whether you’re training for muscle mass or endurance, the last few reps should feel harder. If not, you need to gain weight.

    Biceps Exercises: How many times a week should you train your biceps and when within a workout?

    Training volume—how much you should train a particular muscle group—is a vital part of any fitness routine.

    There’s a fine line between how much is enough and how much is too much, especially when it comes to muscles like your chest or arms. Larger muscles like your chest, back, and shoulders can handle more loads due to their size (and the number of smaller muscles that make them up), but when it comes to your arms, less might be more. It’s the quality of the reps that ultimately counts.

    Within your weekly training plan, we advise you to train your biceps at least 3 times a week, always changing the exercises in order to stimulate the muscle in a different way each time.

    To talk numbers, we can tell you that if you’ve been training for less than a year, 8-12 total sets of biceps curls, performed at least twice a week, are sufficient. If you’ve been exercising regularly for more than a year, we suggest doing 10-14 sets two to three times a week.

    What are the training techniques that make the biceps pump up first?

    While it’s impossible to isolate individual heads of your biceps, you can engage them with specific movements. For example, classic curls target the short head effectively, while concentration curls are more effective at targeting the long head.

    If you’re wondering how to pump up your biceps first, know that when planning your workout it’s a good idea to aim to involve different parts of these muscle groups on different days. This approach can help ensure adequate recovery and, more importantly, massive growth of the arm muscles.

    The best biceps exercises

    At this point it is good to know which are the best bicep exercises to do both at home and in the gym.

    Biceps exercises with dumbbells

    1 – Concentration curl

    Sit on the bench and rest your right arm on your right leg, letting the weight hang down. From here, contract your bicep and bring the dumbbell towards your chest. Repeat with the other arm at least 3 sets of 12 reps.

    2 – Twisting curl con manubri

    Grab a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other.

    Perform a curl alternately bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulders. She slowly lower the dumbbells to her side and repeat.

    Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

    3 – Incline bench dumbbell curl

    Sit on an incline bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows tucked in. Contract your biceps until the dumbbell reaches your shoulder, then lower it back to your side and repeat.

    This position isolates the biceps and prevents other muscles from sharing the load.

    You can work the entire muscle by slightly rotating your wrists and keeping your elbows pointed toward the floor throughout the rep, a range of motion not available in other arm exercises.

    Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

    5 – Spider curl

    in the prone position on an incline bench, the shoulder blades are in a neutral position. Your arms are perpendicular to the floor and you have two dumbbells in your hands.

    At this point, perform a bicep contraction, keeping your elbows tucked into your torso. In the spider curl, you target the short ends of your biceps, as you keep your arms in front of your body.

    In addition to the biceps, this exercise also helps work the brachialis (the flexor in the elbow, forearm, and triceps). It is also great for increasing grip strength.

    Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

    Biceps exercises with barbell

    1 – Barbell Bicep Curl

    Grab a barbell with a shoulder-width grip, and let it hang in front of your thighs. He engages his core as you bring the bar up to his chest, keeping his elbows locked at the waist.

    Return to the starting position. This is the king of arm exercises, where you can isolate your biceps. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

    2 – Reverse curl with barbell

    Start standing and grab a barbell shoulder-width apart with an overhand grip. She bends her elbows and rotates the barbell up, using only her forearms, until her palms face outward and the barbell is in line with her shoulders.

    Bring it back slowly and repeat. This exercise is often overlooked because it works the brachialis, an invisible muscle in the lower arm, but it’s essential for bigger biceps.

    If you train it right, the brachialis can push the bicep muscle higher, creating a bigger flexion and bigger looking arms.

    Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

    3 – Drag curl

    Start by grabbing a barbell with a shoulder-level grip and palms facing up and the barbell on your thighs.

    Keep your chest up, shoulders down, and look straight ahead. Pull your elbows back to contract your biceps and “drag” the bar across your body toward your shoulders. Stop at lower chest level, pause, then slowly lower the bar to the starting position.

    Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

    Bodyweight biceps exercise

    Horizontal tractions

    This exercise is also referred to as the Australian pull up or body row. This movement involves different muscle groups, from biceps to triceps, but also latissimus dorsi, deltoid, rhomboid and trapezius.

    To perform, stand in front of a bar and pull the body towards it, keeping the body in a horizontal line and the elbows close to the body.

    Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

    The workout to tone the biceps

    Below you will find a simple biceps toning workout suitable for experienced athletes and beginners.

    The first exercise is the iconic dumbbell curl, which targets the muscles in the front of your upper arms: the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. Perform 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

    For the second exercise, we’ll go back to hitting the biceps by doing alternating arm dumbbell curls or twisting curls. In addition to adding strength to the outside of the upper arm, this exercise also strengthens the brachioradialis (forearm), increasing wrist stability and grip strength. Perform 3 sets for 8 reps.

    The third exercise, on the other hand, is the reverse curl with a barbell to be performed with an adequate load in order to train the brachialis muscle, located in the lower part of the arm, and essential for having bigger biceps. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

    Biceps exercises: mistakes not to be made

    One of the most common mistakes is training too hard. To build muscle, you have to move heavy weights, that’s clear, but there’s…