Best biceps building exercises


Have you ever wondered what the single most, best biceps building exercises are? Or maybe what the top three are? What if I told you that building biceps, or as far as that goes, any muscle group, was a lot like putting a puzzle together.

In order to see the full picture, you have to include every piece of the puzzle. Often if someone isn’t seeing the results that they want in the gym, it’s because they are not including every piece of the puzzle to develop the full picture.

Often people think that in order to build huge biceps, they need to be using the right exercise, which is true to a point. We will cover that a little further in this post.

I think that it’s important to reflect on the full picture first, so you know that you are making the most of all the tools required.

Next we will be taking a look at what is involved in building a solid foundation with the right tools and getting a feel for the full picture behind building the rock solid body that will get heads turning.

Getting the full picture

As you can see, there are many important things to consider for building big muscles. Choosing the right exercises is an important part of building muscle, we will be looking at that shortly, but there are many important parts that come together to create the full picture.

If you are leaving anyone of these important parts out, it will have a major impact on your results.

The reason I am bringing up the importance of the full picture when this post is about the best exercises to use, is because if I give you my perspective on what the best exercises are and you are not seeing any results, it’s probably because you are leaving out one or more of the other key components.

Top three exercises for building big biceps

There are many great exercises for building big biceps, and you should put as many of them to practice as possible, but there are a few that stand out as the top mass building exercises that do an exceptional job for building big biceps, especially when you follow by all the other principles that I have laid out for you above.

The best way to gauge what type of exercises work best for building muscle other than using maximal weight for best muscle size results is to incorporate exercises that involve your elbows being in three different positions to stimulate muscle growth in your biceps.

There are your standard biceps exercises that include barbell curls, hammer curls and alternate dumbbell curls. All of these exercises involve being in an upright position, whether you are standing or seated. But they all involve you having your elbows fixed at your sides and are an excellent way to build biceps, but incorporating exercises where you have your elbows either in back of you or in front of you will stimulate muscle growth to a further extent.

What area are you targeting?

Diagram of the long and short biceps heads.
This diagram depicts the placement of the long and short biceps heads. Long heads in red and short heads in green.
Brachilis underlying bicep head
Brachilis underlying head does not show prominently, but attributes to 50% of muscle strength.

The brachialis is the prime mover of the elbow. While the biceps brachii appears as a large anterior bulge on the arm and is of considerable interest among bodybuilders, the brachialis underlying it actually generates about 50% more power and is thus the prime mover of elbow flexion.

Exercises that target the brachilis underlying

I have gathered a list of exercises that work great for targeting the brachialis underlying as shown in blue in the diagram above.

Next we are going to examine what bicep exercises stimulate your biceps to the best effect when you are incorporating one exercise for each of the different elbow positions that I have pointed out above.

Barbell curls

Many bodybuilders have always relied on the old standard for building big biceps. Barbell curls are a great way to achieve overall muscular development for the biceps and have been relied on by any bodybuilder and strength trainer that I know of ever since the dawn of bodybuilding.

One of the reasons why barbell curls are such a great exercise for muscular development is because you can load up the bar and squeeze out more weight than you can with other exercises such as dumbbells or cables.

Weight machines are a great way to incorporate more of a variety in your bicep training, but weight machines don’t give you the ability to build up the muscles the same way as performing exercises with free weights because free weights allow you to incorporate the stabilizer muscles which account for balance.

Barbell curls can work both the long and short heads of the biceps, it basically depends on what grip you are using when curling.

The wide grip works the short head as shown in green in the diagram above, and the narrow grip works the long head as shown in red in the diagram above. Shoulder width grip works the whole biceps brachii.

Preacher curls

Preacher curls, otherwise known as (Scott curls) are another excellent way to develop your biceps and add size to your biceps. Other than what is shown in the picture above where this bodybuilder is doing preacher curls with an EZ curl bar, you can also add variety by using a straight bar, as well as dumbbells.

A great advantage when performing the preacher curls, is you will be forced to use good form without swinging or cheating the weight up, which cheating the weight up can be a benefit if you are purposely performing cheat curls, but in order to stimulate good muscle growth in your biceps, it is necessary to perform good strict form which is a necessity when doing the preacher curls.

Preacher curls specifically target the brachilis muscle as shown in blue in the diagram above which is a muscle found in the lower part of your biceps.

Aiding in the flexion of your elbow, this muscle is targeted whether performing the preacher curl standing or seated, or whether you’re using a dumbbell or barbell.

Incline dumbbell curls

Last but not least on this list of great biceps builders is none other than the incline dumbbell curls. Incline dumbbell curls are a great way to build muscle in your biceps when following the principle I mentioned earlier about performing an exercise in your routine where your elbows are extended out in back of you.

Another exercise that you can include where your elbows are extended in back of you and you can also use more weight are the body drag curls. The only problem with performing this exercise is it may be a little more difficult to squeeze your biceps at the top of this move as you normally would with the incline dumbbell curls.

Incline dumbbell curls you will not be able to lift as much weight with this exercise, but it is a great way to stimulate your biceps while keeping your elbows in back of you, and this exercise will also help to eliminate any cheating so you will be forced to perform this exercise with good form, and always remember to squeeze your biceps at the top position and let your arms all the way down at the bottom position without swinging your arms.

The long head of the bicep as shown in red in the diagram above remains active throughout the entire range of motion when performing inclined curls.


When designing your bicep training program, it is never a good idea to design it around three exercises and only sticking to doing them. It is best that you incorporate a series of different exercises which will enable you to develop your biceps to the fullest.

If you are serious about adding size to your biceps, I would recommend that you start each bicep training session out with performing barbell curls which will enable you to use more weight which means stimulating more muscle growth.

When performing the barbell curls, if you have reached your max amount of reps that you can go with strict form, you can always use your legs for a series of two or three repetitions at the end of your sets for further muscle stimulation.

Once you have finished with the barbell curls, it would be a good idea to follow up with at least one of the other two exercises that I pointed out.

For example, after you have finished the barbell curls, you could do the inclined dumbbell curls followed by a set of body drag curls or a set of hammer curls. Another example you could do is after finishing the barbell curls, you can do preacher machine curls followed up by a set of alternate dumbbell curls or cable curls.

Never be afraid to change things around in your training routine and keep things fresh, because if you do the same thing over and over again, your workouts will start to become stale and you will see very little progress if any after a while.

Another important part of your regimen that is necessary to keep muscle growing is your diet and supplementation. To check out a review on muscle building supplementation products, you can simply go here and smash this link.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment or question in the box below as I love to hear feedback from my readers and I will reply back to you as soon as possible.


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