To build truly impressive biceps, you should not only strive to add some size, but also strength and definition. Size is an obvious goal for most, but by gaining strength, your arms will be more solid and dense — not just puffy and big. Definition is what will really make them standout. Even if you do only the best bicep exercises for men your arms do take time to get this big!
Whether young or old, even male or female a lot of the times, flexing your arms is synonymous with “how strong are you?” When someone tells you to flex (ok, that probably doesn’t happen all the time) what is the first thing that comes to mind? Flexing your guns! Although this is certainly not the most significant factor in determining how good of shape you are in or how strong you really are, nice arms look, well — nice!
Some of the best bicep exercises are often considered back exercises. There are times though, when you will want to do bicep-specific movements as these will generally give you greater definition.
The Best Bicep Exercises For Mass & Strength
1.) Reverse grip (supinated) bent over row – Yep, a “back” exercise. By reversing your grip so that palms are facing away from you instead of towards you, you will be targeting your biceps.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and bend your knees. Without rounding our back, tighten your core and bend over so that your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Hold the bar with an underhand grip and shoulder width apart. Pull the bar to your abdomen and in a controlled motion lower back down slowly.
Here’s a video demonstrating the supinated bent over row.
2.) Close grip chin ups – Yes, another “back” exercise. When it comes to building mass, chin ups are awesome. By doing these with a close grip though, you are once again going to be working your biceps.
Grab the bar with your palms facing you at about 4-8 inches apart. Without swinging your body, pull yourself up until your chin comes over the bar. Pause very briefly and in a controlled movement, lower yourself back down until your arms are just shy of being completely straight.
Here’s a video demonstrating the close grip chin up. Notice how high he pulls himself above the bar. Also notice his sweet pants!
3.) Standing (straight) barbell curls – This may be the most obvious of the bunch, but I really think that it could be the most effective as well.
Hold the bar with your hands shoulder width apart and palms facing away from you. Keep your elbows in and close to your body and keep your wrists locked. You should not curl your wrist at the top of the motion and you should not allow your elbows to flare out. Curl the bar nice and slow and really squeeze your bicep at the top. Without resting at the top, slowly lower your arms back down until the bar just barely touches your quads.
Here’s a video demonstrating the standing straight barbell curl.
4.) Preacher curls – These may not be at the top of everybody’s list, but when it comes to working the lower portion of your bicep right where your elbow bends in — this is my exercise of choice.
Sitting on the preacher bench, grab the bar with your palms facing upward and away from you and keep your upper arms lying flat on the pad at all times. Lower the bar until your elbows are almost straight — this is the hard part, but this is what will really make your muscle bulge from your arm. Slowly curl the bar to about shoulder height. Like the barbell curl, keep your wrists straight at all times and do not curl them at the top.
Here’s a video demonstrating the preacher curl.
The Best Bicep Exercises For Definition
After doing the previously mentioned, it’s time to focus on the cut and shape of your arms.
1.) Seated dumbbell concentration curls – Perhaps one of the most effective at creating the cut, these really allow you to isolate the bicep and concentrate on flexing at the top.
Sitting on a bench, grab a dumbbell with your palm facing away from you. Sit with your legs spread apart and place your elbow on the inside of your thigh almost on your knee. Place the arm that you are not using to curl on your opposite leg to help support and brace yourself. Curl upward to about should level, concentrating and squeezing the muscle as your contract and then slowly lower. As with the other curling motions listed, keep your wrist locked and do not curl it with your arm.
Here’s a video demonstrating the seated dumbbell concentration curl.
2.) Standing dumbbell curls – Although not quite as effective as the seated variation, these do allow for a solid movement.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your side with your palms facing inward toward your legs. In a controlled curl, bring your arms up to shoulder level. As you are curling, you should gradually be rotating your palms outward so that by the end of the motion they are slightly past straight, and almost facing outward, away from your body.
Here’s a video demonstrating the standing dumbbell curl.
Building Better Biceps
Definitely, nice arms will make you look stronger and more impressive but by doing the best bicep exercises as well as adding the right kind of muscle to the right areas on your body, you can seriously maximize your efforts. It’s important to not just focus on the size of your bicep but to also concentrate on building defined and strong bicpes as well.
How Often Should You Do A Bicep Workout?
A common approach is to add bicep exercises to a back day and triceps to a chest, thus creating pulling and pushing days. This seems to work fine for many. Another approach is to have a shoulders, biceps and triceps day — this is what I generally use.
Either way though, your biceps are like any other muscle on your body and by over-training you are not going to make gains. Depending on your workout, you may not even have an “arm day” because your arms are used throughout the week while training. Listen to your body and remember that building muscle is not done in the gym, but rather at home resting and eating correctly.