Better Biceps Workout Tips
Biceps, as you would guess from their name, are a two-headed muscle. The outer head is also known as the long head and the one that fills up the expanse of your outer arm when flexing. All body types are different, but there are a lot of guys that have an easy time getting definition and size of the inner muscle of the bicep but have difficulty getting these same results on the outer head.
This article will highlight exercises that target this outside area of the bicep so that you can really isolate this weak point and develop it properly.
Straight Barbell Curls
There are few exercises that are better for the biceps than the straight barbell curl. The barbell also gives the added advantage of allowing a variety of close and wide grips which can be very beneficial in targeting specific areas of the bicep. By gripping the barbell closer than shoulder width apart there will be extra intensity placed on the outer part of the bicep.
The grip only needs to be slightly inside of your shoulder width but you should try a few different positions and see which grip hits this outer bicep the best for you. I recommend performing hammer curls in a seated position. Hammer curls are a close cousin to dumbbell curls. Grab a few dumbbells and turn the palm of your hands so they’re facing each other and keep this position throughout the entire range of motion.
The outer head of the bicep is isolated throughout the full rep. You can move the elbow forward a bit as the muscle contracts at the top of the movement. You’ve probably seen guys at the gym performing this slight alternative to barbell curls. For reverse curls, you’ll change up how you are holding the bar with an overhand grip.
You’ll also want to make sure your hands are a bit wider than your shoulders. This exercise is great for the top of your forearms as well as the outer head of your biceps. Also, you can switch up this exercise with an easy curl bar or with cables rather than the straight barbell. It’s good to change things up like this in small ways – it will keep your muscles guessing and offer much better results.
A Few Points On Form
- As with all bicep exercises make sure to not sway or rock back and forth. You want those biceps isolated and doing all of the work – not your shoulders or back. Leaning against a wall for standing curls is a great way to isolate the bicep muscle.
- Keep an eye on your elbows! Make sure that your elbows do not go backward at the beginning of each rep. Imagine that your elbows are pushed up against a wall and they can’t move backward. Many times I will stand in front of a mirror and turn sideways so that I can keep an eye on my elbow position. It’s okay if they move slightly forward at the top of the range of motion, but definitely shouldn’t be moving backward from their starting position.
- Don’t finish at the top of the curl with a 90-degree angle that is perpendicular to the floor. This is a position that allows the bicep to rest. It’s better to finish at 75 degrees at the top of the arch and then slowly lower the weight back down.
- Don’t finish the bottom of the curl with your elbows locked out, this is also a resting position. Finish at a 5 to 10-degree angle rather than a 0-degree angle that is perpendicular to the floor.
- By not going from an area of rest at the bottom or the top of each rep the bicep will get worked out faster and this will require less weight than you’re probably used to using for each set. Remember, the idea isn’t to lift as much weight as possible, the goal is to get the maximum workout for the muscle group with the least amount of injury possible. If you can get in a great workout with less weight through a more taxing technique or range of motion – you have a recipe for success.