Getting Real About Your Biceps

Warm weather’s approaching – ready for overexposure? It’s time to get real about your arms. I’ve backed off on my biceps on and off the past few months due to an achy elbow. Not only that, but biceps are my least favorite muscle group to train – so there’s been a little slacking off too. But now that I’m feeling better, there are no more excuses. I want them to be bigger (of course).

I decided that I needed to make working my biceps more interesting or I’d never make progress. The fact is you need to curl your arm to work your bicep, so there’s only so much variation you can introduce. So I wanted to give you the best basic bicep exercises plus my ideas for mixing it up.

Out of the lists below, pick three exercises per session and do three sets for 8-12 repetitions.

Tried-and-True Biceps Exercises

According to, the most effective biceps exercises are:

You can be sure that these exercises are working the biceps brachii (the short head or outer biceps, and the long head, or inner) and the associated muscles surrounding them. But if you’re like me and looking to shake things up, a few new exercises are in order as well as a few different techniques.

Alternative Exercises

Check out these exercise videos to learn correct form on a few alternatives

I’ve been doing several of these exercises already but am going to start doing more chin ups as well as the reverse barbell curl, drag curl, and overhead cable curl.


In addition to mixing in techniques such as supersets, drop sets, and negatives, which I describe in Seven Ways to Feel the Burn Better, you can try slowing your reps way down. I already try to lower the weight in a three to four second span, but you can also raise it slowly to increase the burn. I also may separate my biceps workout from my back routine so that my bi’s aren’t totally fried by the time I get to them.

You may also be interested in my post on a biceps routine I used awhile back.

By the way, I am now on Facebook and will be ramping that up with pictures and tips and such. And don’t forget you can print my posts by clicking the Print button at the top.

12 thoughts on “Getting Real About Your Biceps

  1. I’m in the same boat as you: I do not get excited about specific bicep work.

    My biceps have to get what they can from pull-ups and other back work, but that gets me 80 percent of the way there. I do try to make time for hammer curls and the occasional set of preacher curls.

    But I’m lazy about arms because mine love to grow.

    Shoulders? That’s another story.

    Thanks for another great, thorough post!


    • Mary, that must be nice. I have the slow-grow body type with a few other challenges thrown in.
      Thanks Roy. Would you like to write my next post? 🙂 As time-crunched as I am, I truly appreciate your input.


  2. For me, biceps have always been about technique, lower-to-moderate weight, full range of motion, and absolute concentration.

    Regardless of the movement, lowering the weight to a full extension (to feel feel feel the biceps tendons where they merge into the radius and ulna, pausing at that point, and then back to the concentric phase, is useful in developing the whole of the biceps, width, peak, and overall fullness. Very big these days on just doing 6-8 sets of concentration curls after back, and calling it good.


  3. Nowadays people focus more on upper body while exercising in gym but you can’t build biceps by just using various complex equipments available in the market , proper diet and rest are as important as exercise.
    Basics of biceps building are dumbbells curl, incline bench curls and preacher curls as mentioned here.
    see this for more details
    good workout not only increase the size of biceps but stamina also, so do it in a right way.
    Given reference might be helpful.


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