Biceps Workouts 1 and 2

If you thought that hitting the gym for a few simple biceps curls would take care of all upper-arm business, you may be in for a shock. The biceps are made up of several components, so it takes several exercises to work the various strands properly. In fact, if you neglect to tackle this muscle group from several different angles you can find yourself with some odd strength imbalances, which will make you more vulnerable to injury.
How to do this workout
Workout 1 and Workout 2 are designed as two separate workouts, which you should do on different days in your schedule. Leave two to three days between each one to give your biceps muscles time to recover. You can add these workouts into a longer gym session or just keep it short and focus on the three exercises in each. Warm up for the workouts with five minutes on a rowing machine and some press-ups. Rest for two to three minutes between exercises.

Workout 1

E-Z bar curl

Use the modified barbell to maximise your growth potential.

Sets 4  Reps 8

Target biceps brachii 

Why it works: This classic compound move hits the arms but gives the front shoulder and core muscles supporting roles to help you lift as much weight as possible. The design of the E-Z bar saves strain on your wrists, too.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold an E-Z bar in an underhand grip with your arms extended and then curl the bar up towards your chest, keeping your elbows in to your sides.

2. Unilateral hammer-grip preacher curl

Unilateral hammer grip preacher curl

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3  Reps 8

Target brachioradialis, biceps brachii

Why it works: You won’t often see people using the preacher bench for this but it’s perfect for isolating the brachioradialis muscle, which is otherwise tricky. This will balance out its strength with the biceps brachii.

  • Sit at a preacher curl bench with one arm extended across the pad, palm facing inward.
  • Hold your torso and head still as you curl the dumbbell up towards your chin, keeping your palm facing to the side.

3. Narrow-grip cable curl

Narrow grip cable curl

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3  Reps 8

Target biceps brachii

Why it works: This helps give you even size gains. This move targets the inner, shorter head of the biceps brachii and adds a lowering element to maximise growth potential. 

  • Stand at a cable stack with the pulley set to a low position.
  • Grip a short bar with your hands close together.
  • Curl the handle up towards your chest, keeping the elbows in, and hold the contraction at the top of the move before lowering slowly under tension and repeating.

Workout 2

1. Close hammer-grip pull-down

Sets 4  Reps 8

Target biceps, lats, core

Why it works: By leaning back you take the strain off your lats and place it on your biceps. But the lats, core and upper back are still heavily involved, which lets you move the maximum load and prompts major muscle growth.

  • Sit at a lat pull-down machine and attach a hammer grip to the cable.
  • Hold the grip with your palms facing in, straighten your torso and lock it in this position. Then lean back slightly.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in to your sides and pull the handle to your chest, making sure your arms are the only part of you that moves.

2. Standing wall curl

Standing wall curl

(Image credit: Unknown)

Reps 8  Sets 3

Target biceps brachii

Why it works: The problem with most standing curls is that momentum rather than muscle often moves the weight. With your elbows against the wall this can’t happen and the effort is focused directly on the biceps brachii.

  • Stand with your back to a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold your arms down by your sides with your palms facing in.
  • Curl the dumbbells upwards, rotating your wrists so that your palms face up.
  • Make sure your elbows don’t move forward. Pause at the top of the move.
  • Lower under control and repeat.

3. Reverse E-Z bar curl

Reverse EZ bar curl

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3  Reps 8

Target brachioradialis, brachialis, biceps brachii
Why it works: In the real world you’re more likely to pull things up towards you with an overhand grip. This exercise replicates that movement, placing emphasis on the brachioradialis and making the forearm and upper arm work together.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Hold an E-Z bar with an overhand grip.
  • Brace your core and curl the bar up towards your chest.
  • Pause, then lower it under control and repeat.

Biceps stretch

Biceps stretch

biceps stretching

(Image credit: Unknown)

Reps 3

Do this stretch to keep your biceps flexible.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and draw your arms straight back at shoulder-height as far as possible, palms facing the floor. 
  • Now rotate your wrists so that your thumbs point down. 
  • Hold for ten to 20 seconds unless you are about to exercise, in which case hold for three to five.
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