Are you thinking of training your arms but don’t know where to start? In this article, we reveal which are the best bicep exercises to do in the gym or at home to tone the muscles of the arms.
Spoiler: The barbell curl is one of the best exercises but it’s not the only one.
BICEPS BRACHII MUSCLE VS TRICEPS BRACHII MUSCLE: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WORK
Our arms are made up of two different main muscle groups: the biceps brachii muscle and the triceps brachii muscle. The first is the largest muscle that we find in the front of the arm as well as the antagonist muscle of the triceps, which instead we find in the back.
Specifically, the biceps brachii is a bi-joint muscle capable of exercising control over the elbow and shoulder. The biceps originates in the scapula and reaches the radius through the scapula-humeral joint and the joint complex of the elbow. It is also known as the main flexor muscle of the elbow and shoulder and is used during supination (ie the movement of the forearm thanks to which it is possible to turn the hand with the palm facing forward).
The biceps brachii consists of two specific heads with different tasks. In particular, the short head plays a role in horizontal flexion, adduction, and internal rotation of the arm. The long head, on the other hand, plays a role in the abduction of the arm.
The triceps brachii is the largest muscle found in the back of the arm. It is the main extensor muscle of the forearm and works together with the deltoid, humerus, and elbow (with which it is connected). Its main function is to promote elbow extension as well as abduction and extension of the shoulder.
Is formed by three heads: long, lateral, and medial. These branches downwards, gathering in a tendon connected to the olecranon, ulna, and elbow.
BICEP EXERCISES WITH WEIGHTS
To get muscular biceps, the best way is to push them with weight lifting. Here are some of the more popular bicep exercises.
The barbell curl must be performed standing, with a wide grip and palms facing upwards. From this position, bend your elbows to the maximum level of flexion, stay for a few seconds, and straighten your arms again. Keep the knees slightly bent for the duration of the exercise, the abdomen contracted and the shoulder blades adducted. Repeat the exercise for the number of repetitions provided.
CURL WITH HANDLEBARS ON FITBALL
Among the biceps exercises that you can do with weights is the dumbbell curl, very similar to the exercise above. To do this, sit on the fitball with your knees bent 90 degrees, legs apart, back straight, shoulder blades adducted, arms straight, and abdomen contracted. Grab the dumbbells with a neutral grip and then slowly flex your elbows until you reach the maximum possible contraction
Stay in this position for a few seconds (keeping your elbows perpendicular to the ground) and slowly lower your arms. Repeat the movement. If you want, you can simplify the exercise by sitting on a bench. The main difference between dumbbells and barbells lies in the fact that the former allows the hands to rotate outwards, which increases the contraction of the biceps.
HIGH CABLES CURL
Another variation of the curl is the one with high cables. Start by positioning yourself in the center of the machine and firmly grasping the cable handles. Here, too, you need to keep your knees slightly bent, shoulder blades adducted, abdomen contracted. To begin the exercise, bend the elbows by moving the handles towards the head up to the maximum level of flexion possible. Stay with your biceps tight for a few moments and slowly stretch your arms back to the starting position.
MACHINE PREACHER CURL
Position yourself on the machine and hold the handles of the tool with grip at shoulder width and the palms of the hands facing upwards. As always, the back should be straight and the shoulder blades adducted. Flex your elbows to maximum contraction, hold the position for a few seconds and – once finished – return to the starting position to repeat the movement.
SCOTT CURL WITH HANDLEBAR (ALTERNATE ARM)
To perform the alternate curl on the Scott bench it is necessary that the arms are adherent to the tool and that the armpit area matches the upper edge of the bench. The handlebar must be held with a firm grip and palm facing up. From here, bend (without detaching the arm) the elbow until the forearm is in a vertical position and then extend it again, keeping the back straight and the shoulder blades adducted. Repeat the movement with the same arm and at the end of the repetitions switch to the other.
You can structure your bicep workout by choosing three of the exercises above. The advice is to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each and take a minimum of 90 and a max of 120 seconds of recovery between sets. Remember that you must never hold your breath while performing the exercises.
BICEP EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS
In addition to exercises with weights, it is possible to train the biceps using only the weight of your body or other types of equipment other than dumbbells and barbells.
CURL WITH RESISTANCE BAND
To perform the resistance-band curl, start sitting with your weight on your heels, back straight and shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Place one flap of the band below the knee and grab the other with the corresponding hand. After correctly assuming the starting position, you can start the exercise by pulling your hand towards the shoulder
At this point, to best counteract the resistance of the band, make sure your upper arm is as firm as possible as you pull and that your elbow and shoulder are in line and close to your torso. Once up, prepare to slowly return to the starting position and then repeat the movement.
The chin-up must be performed without any weight and with the aid of a pull-up bar. Start standing, with your hands firmly anchored to the bar, palms facing yourself and your arms – which should be slightly bent – shoulder-width apart. As soon as you are ready, lift yourself until your chin is over the bar and straighten your arms in a controlled motion to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the preset number of repetitions.
The head banger – among the biceps exercises – is recommended for those who have been training for a long time and want to try to further strengthen their biceps. Here, too, you need the help of a bar to be able to perform it. The starting position is always the same: firm grip, palms facing you, arms shoulder-width apart and slightly bent. From this position, raise your arms to a 90 degree angle, then push your legs and body weight forward and then backward as if you intended to hit the bar with your forehead. Repeat the movement.
You can structure your bicep workout by choosing three of the proposed exercises. Do three sets of 8-12 reps each and take a minimum of 90 and a maximum of 120 seconds of recovery between sets. Never hold your breath while performing the exercises.
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