They may not be the biggest or the strongest muscle group in your body, but your biceps are arguably the best “show” muscles.
Functionally, the biceps muscle is pretty straightforward—it flexes the elbow—yet humankind has come a long way since the days of hoisting a club. These days, we don’t just want our biceps to work, we want them to represent!
Today, there is a dizzying number of exercises to bring out every vein, bulge, and peak in your biceps muscle, and there are very few people who don’t incorporate at least one or two of these into their workout.
To see a full array of biceps workouts, you can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Exercise Database, which hosts video demonstrations of hundreds of exercises and thousands of reps with top models from the industry. But, if you just want to see the top ten biceps exercises as rated by you—our users—and incorporate them into your workout, keep reading!
Exercise 1 Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curl
You rated these curls #1! The incline bench position increases the stretch on the long head of the biceps muscle and also locks your body against the bench so you can’t cheat more weight during reps by rocking backward. An added benefit to hammers is that your wrist and elbow are less vulnerable to strain than during reps of other curls.
Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curl
EXERCISE 2 Incline Inner-Biceps Curl
This exercise also stretches the long head of the biceps. The more horizontal the bench during your workout, the more the long head of the muscle will be stretched during reps.
These are awesome to add into your isolation workout because they truly isolate the biceps muscle!
Incline Inner-biceps curl
EXERCISE 3 Standing Concentration Dumbbell Curl
Concentration curls place the arm in front of the body with a bent elbow and a rotation in the shoulder. While this decreases recruitment of the long head, it potentially increases biceps thickness and peak by better recruitment of surrounding muscles during your workout.
With your free hand on your off leg to support your body weight, when you hit failure you can switch over to a hammer grip and burn out a few extra reps.
EXERCISE 4 EZ-Bar Curl
A lot of people think the EZ-bar curl is the best all-around addition to your biceps workout. It engages both the short and long heads of the biceps muscle and for some people it’s a lot more comfortable on the joints and forearms than a straight barbell!
EZ bar curl
EXERCISE 5 Wide-grip standing barbell curl
This is definitely one of the more common ways to hit this muscle group. Taking a wider-than-normal grip will cause you to externally rotate at the shoulder, so your upper arm changes its position, prompting more involvement from the short head of the biceps muscle.
You can overload during your workout by using bands, chains, or a partner for forced reps, which you can’t do very well using only a dumbbell.
wide-grip standing barbell curl
EXERCISE 6 Zottman Curl
In this movement, you hold a dumbbell in each hand and have a palms-up (supinated) grip on the way up and a palms-down (pronated) grip as you lower the weight, so all of your elbow flexors get hit!
Some of your elbow flexors act as supinators as well, so rotating the wrist and forearm during the curl instead of at the bottom will load up that function.
EXERCISE 7 Regular-Grip Barbell Curl
The classic. If you did only this movement in your biceps workout, you would still come out ahead.
Of course, you can play around with your grip width (as in Exercise 5), which may reduce the discomfort that some people experience with a barbell, as well as emphasize a different part of the biceps. A narrower grip will emphasize the long head of the muscle, while a wider grip will emphasize the short head of the muscle.
Regular-Grip Barbell Curl
EXERCISE 8 Dumbbell Biceps Curl
Also a classic! Dumbbells allow the wrists to move freely, so most people adopt for a slight rotation of the wrist and forearm as they curl, which thickens the muscle group.
Dumbbell Biceps Curl
EXERCISE 9 Hammer Curl
The hammer will typically be our strongest curl during a biceps workout. This is because all of our elbow flexors are actively involved, and the forearm and wrist are in a power position. Doing this movement like a concentration curl or preacher curl (on a preacher bench) will minimize cheating and maximize muscle recruitment during the workout.
Preacher Hammer Dumbbell Curl
EXERCISE10 Overhead Cable Curl
This is a great way to practice your front double biceps pose as you train. You can do both cables at once, or alternate between arms!
For an alternative arm workout, check out this article and video for some sleeve-splitting exercises.
Overhead cable curl