• DanEiden

Training tips for bulging biceps



Bicep training exercise selection tips


When training the biceps there are a lot of exercises to choose from. I like to train the biceps in movements that work different parts of the strength curve.


The strength curve simply states that every movement has varying degrees of difficulty throughout the the range of motion ranging from the easiest to the hardest.


For example, with the bench press the most difficult part of the movement is in the bottom position where the bar is about an inch or two off your chest (referred to as the sticking point). Everyone who trains knows this point of the movement when bench pressing where you just get stuck. The easiest part of the bench press is the end of the movement where your arms near full extension towards lock out.


With biceps, I learned many years ago from the great strength coach Charles Poliquin that you can break down training them into 3 different parts of difficulty in the strength curve (the beginning, middle and end of the range of motion) and that you should choose exercises that hit all 3 different parts of the strength curve to more thoroughly train them.

Bicep exercises (elbow flexion, aka arm curls)


1️⃣ Most difficult at the beginning of the strength curve (as soon you lift the weight)

= Preacher curls or Scott curls


2️⃣ Most difficult at the middle of the strength curve (at the mid point lifting the weight)

= Seated dumbbell curls, Barbell curls


3️⃣ Most difficult at the end of the strength curve (at the end point lifting the weight)

= Incline dumbbell curls, Concentration curls


So if you are training your biceps and do a few sets of seated dumbbell curls and follow it up by doing a few sets of barbell curls you are basically being redundant in your training by doing essentially the same movement.


Choose among movements for your biceps that hit all 3 different parts of the strength curve and use this as a guide when setting up your exercise selection.


When training your biceps it is also important to understand that the bicep is composed of 2 different heads of the muscle. Different exercises and exercise variations can target each of the 2 different heads of the bicep (long and short head).


The long head of the bicep is the head of your bicep that is on the outside of your upper arm with the short head being on the inside. For total bicep development you want to train exercises that hit both of the heads of the biceps. Some people may even want to target and develop one head of the bicep more so than the other (I should make note that you can’t isolate and work just one head of the bicep only. You can do exercises that target or recruit one head more than the other though.)


So here are the different exercises and exercise variations that work more of the 2 different heads of the biceps.

(All exercises are arm curl/elbow flexion exercises)


Long head of the biceps


Exercises that have the elbows behind the torso or in line with the torso =

Incline dumbbell curls, barbell curls using the arm blaster (if you don’t know what it is google pics of Arnold using it), hammer curls, lying cable curls


Exercises using a narrow grip =

Narrow grip barbell curls, narrow grip cable straight bar curls


Exercises with dumbbells using an inside grip =

Gripping the dumbbell with the pinky finger resting on the inside of the dumbbell


Short head of the biceps


Exercises that have the elbows in front of the torso = Preacher or Scott curls, Concentration curls, Spider bench curls or curls lying on your chest on an incline bench


Exercises using a wide grip =

Wide grip barbell curls, wide grip cable straight bar curls


Exercises with dumbbells using an outside grip =

Gripping the dumbbell with the thumb resting on the inside of the dumbbell

(By the way, my head position sucks in this pic. It should be straight/neutral) and not forward.)


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