Shirt stretching, awe-inspiring, strength showcasing biceps are a thing to be inspired by.
Most men don’t have them but all men want them as it’s the classic superhero look and highlights true strength and power.
Having a chest that pops doesn’t really work if you have little weedy arms, but biceps so big they could kill you with a bear hug is something to be proud of and I’m going to tell you how to get them.
No, not with those normal moves you see those skinny guys doing at your local planet fitness, I’m talking about the real biceps exercises used by the pros to really make their arms grow.
In this article, I am going to tell you the top 5 exercises to really make your arms grow that you probably don’t even know about.
Training the Bicep
You simply know it as ‘Biceps’ but the biceps brachii (official name) is more complex than most people know.
With two heads, a short head and a long head, how you train and what exercises you use are more important than you may think. It’ not as simple as just doing some curls and watching your arms grow or picking the exercises you like, often, as in the case, some of the best moves you can do will be unknown to you.
Different exercises work different heads and can work the muscles in various ways so it should come as no surprise that some exercises are better than others. Just think of how it feels when you do a laying bicep curl on an incline bench and how it feels when you do a preacher with an EZ curl bar, two completely different feelings as they target your biceps in different but equally effective ways.
The exercises below will help you to form a strong, fully developed bicep muscle as they target both the short and long heads of the bicep but as always volume and intensity are key so 3 sets of 12-15 reps will be a good starting point for now.
Pick a weight that is challenging but doable and remember to add in some other accessory work also to support overall growth.
Read on to see what exercises you’ve been missing out on.
The Best Bicep Exercises You’re Not Doing
1. Crucifix Curl or High Cable Curl
Done with the cable pulley system, you start this move by standing in the middle of the cable pulley machine and grabbing each handle at the side of your body. They should be set up at a high angle and your arms should be out to the side making a T shape (45-degree angle).
From here simply curl the handles in, towards your ears and squeeze your biceps as you do before releasing the cables back down. The upper arm shouldn’t move as you do this, the forearms should be the only thing moving.
The high cable curl is the exact pose used in the bodybuilding front double-biceps pose so it should come as no surprise that bodybuilders have been using this move for years.
2. Isometric Curls
These are like normal bicep curls but dialed up to 100. On a normal bicep curl, you’re stood with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weight in each hand. You curl one weight up, squeezing the bicep, then lower the weight and switch over, curling the other arm up.
Isometric curls take it to a new level.
You curl the left arm up, then pause halfway, holding the left arm in place at a 45-degree angle and squeezing the bicep.
You then curl the right arm all the way up and down, completing a full curl, then come up again, only to pause halfway. You keep the right arm here, holding it in place as you complete a full curl with the left arm, before changing over again and completing a full curl with the right arm.
Each rep has one arm curling and one arm holding in place, putting more focus on the biceps and making you feel the burn very quickly.
3. Zottman Curls
The Zottman curl starts off pretty normal as you stand in place, feet at shoulder width and with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
With your elbows by your side, you curl both weights up at the same time and as you reach the top things get interesting. A normal curl would see your hands at the top of the curl, with your palms facing behind you before you release back down.
With the Zottman curl, however, once you reach the top, you would rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing away from you, then release down in that pronated position so once you get to the bottom your palms are facing behind you.
From here, rotate the wrists back to the normal position (palms facing each other) and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
It won't take long before you’re biceps are burning with this one.
4. Drag Curls
Drag curls are a fantastic exercise that should be in your bicep building plans.
Starting with a barbell in your hands you would set up like a normal barbell bicep curl.
On a normal barbell bicep curl, you would keep the elbows pinned against your torso as you pull the bar up towards your upper chest area, working the biceps and getting a good pump as you go.
The drag curl is a little different.
Instead of keeping your elbows to your side as normal, you will keep them behind you then ‘drag’ the bar up, keeping it in contact with your body before slowly releasing back down to the starting position, but again, keeping the bar in contact with your body.
The important thing here is to make sure you don’t lift the shoulders and trust me, it won't take long at all before you feel the blood rushing to your biceps after a few reps of these.
5. Spider Curls
One for the lifters out there that struggle with using momentum when curling. To do the spider curl correctly you need to set up a bench in an incline position and lay face down on the bench.
Your feet should be on the floor and although you’re lying face down, you shouldn’t be resting or relaxing on the bench, keep your chest up and your body strong.
You can use dumbbells or an EZ curl bar and the key here is to let the arms hang dead straight, before curling up and flexing those biceps.
The Spider Curl really hits the biceps and is much more challenging than you think but just like all the others on this list, if you want to grow your arms, then these are the moves that you need to be doing.