Biceps have always been one of the most popularized body parts of a bodybuilder and it's no wonder, they are fun to train and for most men it's where they will notice gains early. In addition to this the pump you get from a good bicep workout is amazing.
This article is going to cover 4 great bicep building exercises. As with any exercise it's very important to do them correctly and to focus your mind on the muscle.
1.The Barbell Curl
The king of the bicep builders, and the archetypal exercise we see bodybuilders training arms.
There is a reason barbell curls are so popular, because they work.
Barbell Curls are nice because you can vary your grip widths, which allows you to target different parts of the biceps. By reversing your grip you can train the brachiallias and forearms.
The EZ Curl Bar is a nice tool for those just starting out to help them get the spacing on the bar correctly, and the angled grips will take some of the stress off the elbow joints and wrists if you have problems with these at all.
As for performing the barbell curl there are a couple schools of thought on this, those that are super strict, those that cheat the weight and those that fall somewhere in between. I think its important to practice strict form for lighter weights and then to use a slight bit of momentum for heavier weights to assist getting the weight past the first portion of the movement where the biceps aren't being used as much.
Performing the barbell curl (With a slight cheat)
To start, make sure you are standing shoulder width apart, gripping the bar with hands equidistant. Have your arms slightly bent, and then with a small amount of hip movement bring the weight up in an arc towards your chin. Your elbows should stay locked in position (imagine a broomstick running through them). When the weight reaches the apex, bring it back down in the same arc in a controlled fashion, and do not straighten your arms at the bottom.
2. Dumbbell Curls
Dumbbell curls are another important exercise because of the isolation factor (the weaker arm cannot be assisted by the stronger) and they hit your biceps in a unique way. Because the dumbbell curls allow you to supinate your wrist through the exercise arc you will be hitting the brachiallis extra hard. Different grips like hammer curls also add a different dimension to the movement.
Dumbbell curls require you to supinate your wrists when performing them. This hits the brachiallis hard too.
Performing the dumbbell curl
Dumbbell curls are pretty easy to do, but the potential for bad form is pretty high. It's easy to start swinging to much or looking down at the bicep as each arm comes up.
Dumbbell curls start much the same way as barbell curls, except with your feet about shoulder width apart, and your back straight and core stable. You should alternate hands – so start with one arm by bringing it up with the elbow locked in position, and begin supinating (turning) the wrist as soon as you are able (generally starts when it clears the thigh). Continue to supinate until you can supinate no further. If you timed this correctly, full wrist supination should occur at the top of the motion. For extra fiber contraction squeeze the bicep at the top.
As with all exercises remember to breath throughout the motions, and especially with dumbbell curls as the alternating motion means the set lasts longer and as a result there is more lactic acid build up.
3. Incline Curls
The incline curl is an exercise that is really going to stretch those biceps, and is good to do after you have completed compound exercise or two. Be warned though, you should definitely be warmed up before attempting this exercise as the stretch and stress on the biceps can lead to muscle pulls or even tears if you aren't careful.
One of the nice things about this exercise aside from its unique effect on the biceps, is that you can easily adjust the angle of the incline you perform them at, which is recommended.
Performing the incline curl
Start by setting up an incline bench to about 60-70 degrees, you can vary this later.
Sitting on the bench, hold the dumbbells in both hands with wrists fully supinated, and arms hanging. Curl both dumbbells up keeping your elbows in the same position and then with control lower the weights again. At the bottom of the repetition make sure not to lock out completely, stop the weight short of completely straightened arms.
4. Concentration Curls
Of the four exercises in this article, this exercise is the only isolation exercise, but can be extremely effective if done properly. Concentration curls are what I call a finishing exercise, and by this I mean they are always done at the end of a workout to "finish" off whatever muscle fibers you have left.
Because these are an isolation exercise your weights will be considerably less, but the impact that these have on muscle activation is well worth it.
Stand with your feet at just outside shoulder width apart. Bend your upper body over to roughly 90 degrees, holding one arm out in front of you to hold the weight and the other to hold on to something and stabilize yourself.
Performing the concentration curl
Sitting at the end of a flat bench place the weight in one hand and your elbow against the inside of your knee for stability (you can also do these free standing without the stability of the knee). Curl the weight upwards using only the biceps, keep the motion controlled and deliberate.
So with these four exercises in your arsenal you can start on your road to massive biceps! Remember that you can't build muscle without adequate nutrition and rest!