Every gym goer from the dawn of bodybuilding wants to build the coveted massive biceps characterized by many of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. But what are the most effective exercises to develop sleeve-splitting arms while avoiding the injuries that come with overtraining this sought after muscle group?
While many believe that bicep training may be fairly straight forward, the anatomy of the bicep is actually more elaborate than most think. The bicep is comprised of the long head and short head (prime movers of flexing the elbow) as well as the brachialis, and brachioradialis (involved in rotation of the wrist and forearm). Because of the anatomy and function of the bicep muscle, the angles trained, hand position, isolation, and time under tension for this specific muscle group are very important variables.
So what are the most effective bicep exercises that incorporate these important variables and produce an increase in size and strength of the muscle? The American Council on Exercise conducted a study to find out. Eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 24 and in good health were chosen to participate in a study that would determine which bicep exercises elicited the highest muscle activation.
Research was first conducted to determine what the 8 most popular bicep exercises were amongst gym-goers today, which included:
EZ Curl (with both wide and narrow grip)
On the first day of testing researchers attached electrodes to the anterior deltoid, biceps brachii and brachioradialis to assess muscle activation on an EMG machine. The participants used 70% of their one repetition maximum as a standard resistance and over the course of two days they completed all eight bicep exercises and measured the muscle activation on the EMG.
So what is the king of all bicep curls? Turns out the age old dumbbell concentration curl elicited significantly higher muscle activation than all other seven bicep exercises. This is because during most bicep exercises, synergistic muscles of the arm such as the anterior deltoid and brachioradialis aid in the movement and remove stimuli from the bicep itself. Because of the positioning of the arm during a neutral grip concentration curl, little to no activity is placed on the anterior deltoid or brachioradialis and the bicep brachii is almost completely isolated. It was also theorized that an additional amount of mental focus is elicited during this exercise because one arm is being used at a time and the individual is able to see the muscle working close up during the exercise itself.
So if you want to get bigger biceps make sure you add the concentration curls into your workout but don’t forget about the importance of incorporating various angles, tempo, hand positioning and exercises. Try out this high-volume mass-building bicep workout to add inches to your arms.
Exercises for building bigger biceps
|Weighted Chin Up||1:3||4||6-8|
|Cable Bar Bicep Curl||1:3||4||8-12|
|Seated Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl||1:3||3||10-12|
|Reverse Narrow Grip EZ Bar Curl||1:3||3||10-12|
Male or female, bigger biceps are a physical feature that defines your physique and balances the upper body. Print these exercises and share them with your fellow fitness friends. Health is something to be shared!