It might look like these are all the same exercise, but these bicep curl exercises all have their own advantage in the strength-gaining game.
All bicep curl exercises might look the same, but having a variety of different types of tension placed on the muscle will help get you bigger, stronger arms. The bicep is made up of the short head and long head which work together to extend and contract the arm at the elbow. While the bicep doesn’t make up the majority of the upper arm, it is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing, making it a popular muscle group to train regularly. Each muscle spindle is like its own little brain and needs as much fuel as it does variety to keep it working at maximum and get results.
Dumbbell Bicep Curls
- 4 sets x 8–10 reps
- Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand. The elbows should be close to the torso, and the palms of your hand should be facing your thighs.
- While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weight upward as you rotate the palm of the hands until they are facing you. At this point, continue contracting the biceps as you breathe out until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the biceps.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position as you inhale. Remember to twist the palms back to the starting position (facing your thighs) as you come down.
- Continue in this manner for the recommended amount of repetitions.
- *Variation: use a heavier weight and alternate the dumbbells, lifting one at a time until you’ve hit the recommended number of repetitions on each arm.*
Cable Bicep Curls
- 4 sets x 12 reps
- Set up a single handle on the lowest setting of a cable machine. Stand facing away from the setup, far enough from the machine that your arm is supporting the weight before you begin.
- Make sure your upper arm is stationary, perpendicular to the floor with your elbow in and palm facing forward. Your non-lifting arm is now free and available to help you to keep your balance.
- Exhale while slowly curling the handle upwards and keeping the upper arm stationary until your forearm touches your bicep.
- Hold the contraction position as you squeeze the bicep, then slowly lower the handle back down to the starting position as you inhale.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions before switching arms to continue performing this exercise.
TRX Bicep Curls
- 4 sets x 15 reps
- Stand with your feet together in front of a TRX Suspension trainer and grasp the neoprene handles in each hand.
- Keep the core engaged and lean backwards out of the straps until your body reaches a 45 degree angle and your arms are outstretched in front of you, palms up.
- Curl your hands up towards your eyebrows by contracting the bicep and pause for a moment at the top before slowly lowering down to the beginning position.
- *Variation: stand with one leg off of the ground to challenge core stability and really blast those biceps!*
Resistance Band Bicep Curls
- 4 sets x 10 reps
- Use a medium to heavy resistance band (with or without handles) and stand on the bottom middle of the band with one or both feet.
- Grab the band with both hands - palms facing up.
- Brace through your core and curl through the band, bringing your hands up to shoulder height.
- Squeeze and pause at the top for a moment before releasing your arms back to the starting position.