The Best Bicep Exercises

By Nan Werther , last updated December 3, 2011

In order to enjoy bigger biceps, it's imperative that you begin incorporating some of the best exercises around in your everyday workout. Try these bicep techniques now in order to see increased strength and size soon.

Standing Dumbbell Curls

Similar to the barbell curl, dumbbell curls work your biceps more efficiently because they don't allow the stronger arm to compensate for the weaker arm, which can offset equal development. Start by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and holding them at your sides; your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your elbows close to your torso at all times. Use your bicep strength to move your forearms, curling the dumbbell up towards your shoulders. As you do this, you'll want to rotate the weight so that your palms end up facing your shoulders. Pause for a second to maximize the muscle contraction and then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat this for a total of 8 to 10 reps on each side, aiming for 2 to 3 sets total. If you want to vary the challenge, try lifting the dumbbells one at a time.

The key to this exercise is to not use momentum to lift the weight. Instead, use lighter weights and make sure that you use slow, controlled movements to lift the dumbbell. By the end of your reps, it should be a struggle to lift the weight.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

This move is very similar to the above dumbbell curl, however it also works your brachialis muscle in addition to your biceps and forearms. Start in the same position as the standing dumbbell curl. The only difference in this exercise is that you don't curl your hands so that your palms face your shoulders. Instead, as you lift the weight towards your shoulders you keep your hands in the same position so that the weight is perpendicular to your torso, not parallel. Repeat for a total of 8 to 10 reps, for a total of 2 to 3 sets.

Dumbbell Concentration Curls

For an extra jolt, try isolating your biceps to maximize their lifting potential. Since this is a more difficult exercise that relies solely on your bicep to do all the lifting, use lighter weights and make sure you use perfect form. For this exercise, sit on an exercise bench with your legs spread apart. Pick up one dumbbell in your right hand and brace your elbow against the inside of your knee. Stay in this position as you fully straighten and contract your arm. You can place your other hand on the opposite leg to support your body. Remember to lift and lower the weight using slow, concentrated movements. Aim for 8 to 10 reps and a total of 2 sets.


Many exercises that work against gravity and use your own body weight as the resistance are highly effective when it comes to building muscle. Pull-ups are a military standard and guarantee the sort of biceps you want to develop. It also works your shoulders and general upper-body so that you aren't overdeveloped in one place, which can lead to injuries. Find a chin-up bar that's about a foot higher if your arms are extended over your head. Hold it with your palms facing you. Pull yourself up as high as you can, aiming to bring your chin over the bar. Control your movements as you lower your body for the best bicep burn. Do as many as you can but aim for at least 10 to 15 reps.

Inclined Dumbbell Curls

This exercise increases the resistance on your biceps since you're working against gravity more. There are several variations of dumbbell curls you can do using an incline bench. First, lay back at a 45 degree angle with a dumbbell in each hand down by your side. Moving only your forearm, use your bicep and bring the dumbbell up to shoulder level. Hold this for a few seconds, which maximizes the peak contraction in your biceps. After holding, slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat this exercise for 8 to 12 reps, then move on to the other arm, for a total of 2-3 sets per arm.

You can modify this exercise depending on which type of curl you want to use. You can try hammer curls (palms facing the body at all times), regular curls (palms facing up at all times) or supinating curls (where your palms begin facing your body and torque midway through the movement to be facing your shoulders).

Building better biceps is the goal of anyone interested in becoming more muscular and fit. Not only are biceps one of the easiest muscles to isolate and develop, but they are also obvious evidence of a ripped physique. Incorporating the aforementioned exercises into your routine will put you well on your way towards more impressive and toned arms.

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