2 months ago
2 months ago
The quest for bigger biceps is timeless. Ask anyone from a young child to an experienced athlete to show you their muscles, and they’ll almost always raise their arm and flex their biceps in response. It’s the classic “mirror muscle,” meaning that people value bigger and stronger biceps because of their impact on their appearance.
While some people see biceps as an aesthetic point of pride, having well-developed and strong arms is important beyond appearance.
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Why Have Strong Biceps?
The biceps muscles, which are technically called the biceps brachii and are found on the front of the upper arms, play a role in flexing the elbow and shoulder joints and in rotating the forearm so that the palm faces upward. In addition, the biceps help to keep the shoulder joint stable during many arm movements.
Biceps are active during many activities you perform every day, such as pulling open a car door, turning a doorknob or lifting a drinking glass from the table and up to your mouth. While strengthening the biceps may seem in some ways like a vanity project, it’s actually a vital component of any well-balanced functional training program.
However, not all biceps exercises are created equally. And, since everyone wants to make the most of their time in the gym or during home workouts, it’s important to choose exercises that efficiently and effectively target each muscle group.
What Are the Best Biceps Exercises?
Research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise evaluated eight common biceps exercises to determine which ones were most effective. They looked at the following exercises:
EZ curl (wide grip).
EZ curl (narrow grip).
The concentration curl worked the biceps significantly more intensely than other exercises. The overall motion of a concentration curl is similar to a regular biceps curl, but this exercise is done seated on a bench with your lower triceps pressed into your inner thigh on the same side of your body.
This exercise should be performed with your wrist in a neutral position, and done slowly, with focus on form. The concentration curl is so effective because it isolates the biceps, while performing the other exercises relies on support from different muscles in the chest and forearm. While performing this exercise, your effort is truly concentrated within the biceps muscle, making it worth your time for building biceps muscle.
The researchers pointed out that while isolating a muscle may be ideal for strengthening that specific muscle, it may not be optimal for functional fitness, the type of fitness that translates to activities of daily life. Therefore, while they recommend that people perform concentration curls as part of their arm workouts, other biceps exercises should be incorporated to add variety and involve more functional movements.
Biceps Exercise Routine
The following is a sample conditioning segment of an exercise program featuring a variety of arm exercises. This routine is designed to target both the biceps and triceps (found on the back of the upper arm) in a balanced workout that alternates between opposing muscle groups.
First, warm up for five to 10 minutes at a low-to-moderate intensity. Follow the workout with a proper cool-down that is of an equal duration and intensity as the warm-up and include stretching exercises to improve flexibility.
This workout includes three supersets of alternating exercises for the biceps and triceps muscle groups.
How to follow the biceps exercise plan
After warming up, start with the first two exercises (superset 1). Complete two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions while alternating between the biceps and triceps exercises with little to no rest between sets.
Rest for two to three minutes after you complete each superset (set of 2 exercises). Once you complete the first superset two to four times, you will move on to superset 2 before progressing to superset 3.
As a target, you should be able to perform at least eight repetitions but not more than 12 with proper form.
Here's a full biceps workout to follow:
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