5 Effective Biceps Exercises

Barbell Curl

The barbell curl allows you to place the most amount of stress of all the biceps exercises. When doing the exercise, the primary thing to focus on is that you’re not cutting the movement pattern short at all, and that you’re not allowing momentum to cause you to lean backward as you hoist the weight upwards.

The standing barbell curl is the cornerstone of many bicep building routines. Grasp a barbell or Olympic bar at around shoulder width apart using an underhand grip (palms facing up).Stand straight up, feet together, back straight, and with your arms fully extended. The bar should not be touching your body. Keeping your eyes facing forwards, elbows tucked in at your sides, and your body completely still, slowly curls the bar up. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower it back to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

This puts an extra challenge on the long head of your biceps brachii because you’re working from a deficit — meaning, you’re starting the movement at a point where you have less leverage than normal. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie with your back against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms.

Dumbbell Concentration Curls

No exercise puts on the peak like dumbbell concentration curls. Sit at the end of a bench and lean forward to place the back of your arm against the inside of the same-side thigh. Start with your arm extended and curl the dumbbell toward your opposite-side pec.

Squeeze your biceps as hard as possible in the top position before slowly returning the dumbbell back to the start and repeating for reps. Perform all reps on one side and then repeat with the other arm. You can also do this exercise while standing and bending forward from the hips to let the dumbbell hang straight down. Because you turn your arm in toward your body when you do concentration curls, it helps to place more focus on the long head of the biceps, which makes up the mass of the biceps peak.

Close Grip Chin-up

The close-grip chin-up is a basic bodyweight exercise that increases strength in the back and biceps. The close-grip positioning targets the middle back, and the underhand grip places increased resistance on the biceps and forearms.

Grab a pull-up bar with your palms facing your body and your hands three to five inches apart. Allow your arms to hang in a fully extended position. Keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears, pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar. Pause, and then slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The Dumbbell hammer curl is one of the most important dumbbell exercises for biceps and has many variations. Grab one dumbbell in each hand along the sides of your body, palms facing your body. Raise both dumbbells by curling your elbows and lower them down after a short pause. Keep your upper arms still throughout.