Best 5 Exercises for Building Bicep Size & Strength
With so many different bicep exercises out there and new ones being created every day, we did the research, put in the work and are here to simplify things with the top 5 exercises for your biceps for ultimate strength, size and functionality.
Dumbbell Concentration Curls
- Set a bench at an appropriate height and sit on it with your knees bent exactly at a 90° angle. Make sure to sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Take a dumbbell in your right hand and press the back of your upper right arm on your right inner thigh.
- Extend your arms completely holding the weight above the floor.
- Moving only your forearms, slowly curl the weight upwards, supporting your upper arm on the thighs to keep it still. Take the weight upwards till you reach your chest level.
- Once you curl it up, take the weight downwards slowly to reach your initial position. Do not touch the floor while curling the weight downwards.
- Keep breathing in and out while curling the weight up and down.
- After completing the sets on the right side, repeat the same on your left side. Remember to complete all the sets on one side first and then move on to the other side.
2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions on each side.
Dumbbell Concentration Curls typically work to improve the front portion of your upper arms. It helps in developing your muscle strength by breaking down your muscle fibers, which are then gradually rebuilt through protein synthesis to gain size and strength.
2. Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Adjust your workout bench at a 45° angle preferably. However, you can also set it up at a 60° angle as per your need.
- Carrying the dumbbells in your right hand, sit up straight on the bench with your abdominal muscles tightened. Keep your shoulders fixed to the bench and do not lean forward.
- Flex your triceps and tighten your wrists to hold the dumbbell firm.
- Lift up the dumbbell in a curling motion and roll it up with till you reach your shoulder level. Remember to keep your upper arms tight while lifting the weight.
- After you roll the dumbbells up, curl them down to your initial lower position slowly at a controlled pace. Doing it in a rapid motion will limit results.
- After completing one set on the right side, switch to the left hand and repeat the same.
3 sets of 15 repetitions on each side.
Incline Dumbbell Curls allow for your arms to have a greater range of motion, which helps in activating your bicep muscles. By targeting these specific muscles in an isolated manner, it also gives your inner biceps more flexibility and better activation..
4. Dumbbell Hammer Curls
- Stand straight on the floor with your back aligned to your hips. Keep your feet flat, with a few inches in between them.
- Hold the dumbbells in both hands with your elbows slightly bent and a bit in front of your hips. This helps your biceps be better engaged.
- Only moving your forearms, lift the dumbbells in both hands together to reach a height just past 90° angle. Do not slack or move your elbows forward.
- After you lift it up, hold the position for a moment and squeeze your dumbbell to flex your biceps.
- Lower your forearms to their initial position in a rhythmic motion and continue to keep your back straight.
- Continue this process, by breathing out while lifting the dumbbell up and breathing in while going down.
2-3 sets of 12 repetitions.
As Dumbbell Hammer Curls engage the three biggest muscles of your front upper arms, your biceps will gain strength and appear ‘fuller’ in size. As it also trains your wrist and finger flexors, your grip strength will improve.
4. Barbell Curls
- Stand straight on the floor with your feet flat and a few inches gap in between them. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.
- With a firm grip, hold a barbell with your hands, putting the load on your shoulders.
- While holding the barbell, your palms should be facing forward and your elbows should be close to your body.
- Breathe out and curl the barbell up to your shoulder level, while contracting your bicep muscles. Do not move your upper arms while raising the barbell.
- Hold the barbell firmly and stay in the position for a moment.
- Breathe in and slowly lower down the barbell back to your starting position.
- Straighten your arms completely to build tension on your muscles.
2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
The Barbell Curl is an isolation exercise that creates muscle tension primarily in the upper front arms.
5. Cable Curls
- Fix the cable with the appropriate weight and adjust the machine so that you can hold it comfortably. Keep your hands stretched out completely while holding the cable.
- Stand at a straight position with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and tight, and engage your abdominal muscles.
- Breathing out, curl the cable weight upwards till you reach your chest level. Only move your forearm to pull the cable up, and keep your elbows fixed.
- Hold the position for a second and contract your bicep muscles.
- Breathing in, lower your forearms to bring the cable weight to the initial position. Stop before the cable weights reach the complete bottom level, to increase the tension in the cable.
- Keep repeating the same motion at a slow and controlled speed.
3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Cable Curls target the large biceps brachii muscle that lies at the upper front portion of your arms. By creating tension that persists from the beginning till the end, it helps in isolating your bicep muscles by hitting them from all angles.