If you ask someone to show off what he’s been working on at the gym, chances are he or she is going to flex the biceps, which have become very symbolic of physical fitness and strength. In fact, a trip to the gym will not be complete without seeing several people doing bicep and hammer curls.

Ironically, however, many people don’t know that the biceps only form a third of the upper arms’ muscles, with the triceps forming the other two-thirds. You can do a hundred bicep curls, but without working your triceps, your guns won’t be as impressive as you’d like them to be.

We will cover tricep exercises in another article. For now, you can learn more about these basic bicep exercises so you can hit the gym and really feel like you’re working those guns, right before you switch over to the under recognized tricep muscles.

Start by performing each of the bicep exercises below for 3 to 5 sets once or twice a week, for 6-10 repetitions each. Keep in mind that by the time you are nearing the end of your set, you should be nearing muscle failure and should achieve it. Otherwise, correct your form, ask a buddy to spot you, or pile on a heavier weight.


Standing Barbell Curl/ EZY Bar

This exercise is great for bulking up and can be performed using either a straight bar or an EZY bar.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip, with hands about shoulder-width apart as well. Lock your wrists.
  3. Curl the bar up slowly, being sure to isolate the movement in your biceps.
  4. Do not swing or use momentum to curl, especially towards muscle failure. Keep your elbows locked to the side of your body.
  5. Lower the weight over a span of 3 to 4 seconds to maximize negative strength training.


Incline Dumbbell Curls

This exercise will help you work different muscle fibers and will let you form that peak bicep look.

  1. Sit back on an inclined bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Curl the weight upward and toward the shoulder level and squeeze your biceps. Keep your elbows forward all throughout the movement.
  3. Lower the weights slowly over 3 to 4 seconds.


Preacher Curl

This exercise is similar to the barbell curl and is a great exercise to isolate the biceps.

  1. With the upper arms positioned against the preacher bench pad and the chest against it, hold the E-Z Curl Bar at shoulder length.
  2. Slowly lower the bar until your upper arm is extended and the biceps are fully stretched.


Hammer Curl

This move is great for giving your biceps a fuller look and helps define your forearms as well. It is just like the inclined dumbbell curl, only the dumbbells will be oriented so your palms face each other, and you will be performing this in a standing position.


Like all exercises, repetition quantity is only second to quality. As you perform these exercises, keep in mind that you should isolate the movement in your biceps. While this muscle can handle a lot, do not attempt to lift unreasonably heavy weights as your form will suffer.

When you incorporate turning and squeezing into your bicep exercises, you help the development of a more peak form. Take time in between sets to stretch the biceps to help flush out built up lactic acid. Shock your muscles every 6 to 8 weeks by mixing up your routine. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll be flashing those guns soon enough.

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