Many people like to overcomplicate arm training with various fancy exercises, excessive amounts of volume, and endless sets of curls. Yet, the reality is that as long as you’re also training with compound movements, then you really only need three exercises to build your biceps specifically.
As well as the following three movements, you’ll want to make sure that you’re also doing vertical and horizontal pulls. These not only help to beef up your biceps, but they also build strength and size in your back which is important for overall strength, stability, and joint safety. Having a powerful back is one of the most aesthetically pleasing areas of your body and also, one of the most important for improving your capabilities with a variety of other lifts.
Once you’ve done your compound work, then it’s time to drill into those lagging areas or areas you want to improve upon, one of which is the biceps. In order to build the biceps properly with a good amount of height and width, then you need to target them from three different directions: elbows in front of you, elbows by the side of you, and elbows behind you. Together, these will hit every area of your bicep and leave no stone unturned towards your journey towards bigger arms.
Obviously, within these categories there are different variations, but we just want the ones that are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.
1. Standing EZ-Bar Curl
First up, we have the standing EZ-Bar curl which is often the go-to exercise for the biceps, and for good reason, too. Standing EZ-Bar curls are a great way to build strength in your biceps as it’s the movement through which you’ll be able to move the most amount of weight whilst also taking them through a full range of motion. Be careful, though, as if the weight gets too heavy, then you’ll find yourself swinging which means that you’re using less of the muscle you want to target.
Complete two sets of 4-6 reps with a wide grip followed by two sets of 4-6 reps with a close grip. Rest for 3 minutes between each set.
2. EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
Next up, we have the EZ-Bar preacher curl. The difference between this and the normal EZ-Bar curl is that your arms are placed against padding which means that your biceps are completely isolated. Because of this, you can get a real stretch at the bottom of the rep and take the bicep through their full range of motion. The larger the range of motion, the bigger the activation, and the more results you’ll get from the movement.
Aim for 2 sets of 12-16 reps with a wide grip and 2 sets of 12-16 reps with a close grip. Rest for 2 minutes between each set.
3. Seated Incline Curls
Lastly, we have seated incline curls which place your arms behind your body. Because of this, your biceps are having to fight gravity through the entire range of motion and you can get a good stretch on the long head of the biceps. In this position, you’re primed to complete ‘21s’ which is where you do 7 reps of the bottom range of motion (wrists up to elbows), 7 reps at the top range of motion (wrist from elbows up to shoulders), and then 7 full reps.
Aim for 3 sets of 21 reps with one minute of rest in between each set. Make sure to let your arms fully hang between each rep. Curl the dumbbells simultaneously opposed to one at a time.