Every guy wants to have big guns.
They look better in a fitted t-shirt and the compliments received for them make us feel great.
No one wants to do the same old arm workout every time they need a bicep pump.
Some say that doing bicep isolation exercises is pointless and that’s understandable.
But sometimes, we just want to target our biceps with a solid pump.
That’s why we put together this list of the 27 best exercises to include in your workouts for bigger biceps that will give you the most bang for your buck!
You’ll be able to cover all angles of muscle stimulation by mixing up these exercises and following our tips on form and frequency.
So what are you waiting for?
Best Workout for Biceps: Hit it from Several Angles
One of the main reasons people can’t grow their biceps is because they don’t do multiple exercises to hit both bicep muscles.
Most people only focus on the brachii.
If you’re trying to build thicker arms, you need to work all areas of the bicep muscle.
Rules to Building Bigger Biceps
Workouts for bigger biceps should include only the best selection of effective bicep exercises, but there are some rules to follow:
Warming up for a workout can be boring, but it’s very important if you want to grow your guns.
A more flexible, warmed-up muscle is more pliable and will work better.
The increased temperature reduces the risk of tears and delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle.
Change Up Your Workout
We all are a victim of this.
We find the certain exercises we enjoy most and only do those exercises for the same weights every time we work out.
Make sure you switch up the exercises, weights, or rep patterns or your body can fully adapt to your biceps workout routines and you won’t see the same benefits.
Rather than holding your breath, make sure you’re using a rhythmic breathing pattern to help you concentrate and keep your tempo throughout the lift.
Proper oxygen levels will prevent you from passing out.
Even though you might only be doing a bunch of bicep isolation exercises, adequate rest will ensure you’re prepared to lift as heavy as possible on the next set.
This will help increase muscle growth.
Best Biceps Building Exercises
If you’re hoping to have the best arm workout you can, you need to make sure you’re doing the best arm exercises.
Pair some of these bicep exercises with the best tricep exercises to sculpt your guns.
Standing Barbell Curl
There are many great exercises for building biceps, but standing barbell curls deserve a special mention.
Workouts for bigger biceps should include a barbell variation to help increase the amount of weight being lifted to stimulate growth.
They can be done either as a single exercise or as the first in an arm curl superset.
The movement starts with the weight at your side and then you lift it to your chest, which makes it easier to complete more repetitions before fatigue sets.
That said, this is still a great exercise for increasing size and strength in the bicep muscles because it allows you to lift heavier and overload the muscle.
You can also adjust the grip width to target the different bicep muscles.
Use a wide grip to target the short head while a narrower grip targets the long head.
While standing, your core has to work even harder than when lying down on a bench.
In your workout, hit barbell curls towards the beginning if you do them during a bicep or arm workout.
If you prefer to do them during a pull workout, do them first after your major back compound exercises.
Being an isolation exercise, you shouldn’t curl a weight you can’t do for more than five reps per set, but six to eight reps is a great place to start.
Make sure that you prevent yourself from rocking or you’ll be leaving gains on the table!
Standing EZ-Bar Curl
Barbell curls are a great exercise for building bicep muscle and size.
Standing EZ-bar curls are even better as they will put less pressure on your wrists by allowing them to be more parallel with your forearms when gripping the bar.
You can still perform all of the same movements as if you were using a straight bar.
You should do them in your workout in the same spot you would do barbell standing curls.
Seated Barbell Curl
This exercise is great because it is easy to do and targets the bicep muscles.
The reduced range of motion allows you to load on the weight and focus on the peak of your biceps.
Also, by sitting, you reduce the core engagement that is involved in standing variations.
To start with seated barbell curls, make sure that your back is pressed against an upright chair for support and to reduce swaying.
Do seated barbell curls towards the end of your routine as they isolate your biceps even more than full-range exercises as they only focus on the peak contraction.
Seated EZ-Bar Curl
You can alternate doing this with seated barbell curl or even choose it over the barbell variation altogether since feels better on your wrists.
You can lift heavy and focus on the peak contraction with a heavier weight than standing variations.
Sitting also ensures you don’t cheat by swaying or having to worry about engaging your core.
If you’ve ever done a set of chin-ups to failure, you can tell that your biceps are working very hard during this exercise.
Pull-ups and chin-ups both stimulate biceps, but a study shows that chin-ups work biceps significantly more.
So don’t be afraid to incorporate biceps exercises with bodyweight!
If sets of 8-12 reps are too easy, you can add weight to overload your arms.
Try assisted reps if you can’t do chin-ups yet.
You can also do neutral grip chin-ups if you’re having wrist pain.
If you train biceps or arms as one workout, this is a great exercise to start with.
It can also be done as a bridge movement if you work back and biceps together.
Do all the major compound back movements then switch to chin-ups.
Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
If you struggle with doing chin-ups and don’t enjoy assisted chin-ups, you should try reverse grip lat pulldowns.
Your grip should be just inside shoulder-width apart.
Being a compound exercise targeting several muscle groups, you can load up the weight.
Being that it’s a cable exercise, you can keep constant tension in the muscles during the entire movement of the lift.
You can try sets of 6-12 reps as it lets you use heavier weight, but if you go too heavy, you risk hurting your biceps.
Reverse-Grip Barbell Row
Workouts for bigger biceps don’t always have to be variations of curls.
Rows are a great compound exercise for upper body development.
Using an underhand grip targets biceps more than an overhand grip and allows you to build great size and strength.
Be careful about choosing too heavy of weight because you could risk straining a bicep muscle.
Do this exercise as a bridge movement if you include it on back and bicep days.
If you do it on an arm day, do it towards the beginning of your workout as you can lift heavier than other bicep exercises.
Reverse-Grip Seated Cable Row
A great alternative to reverse-grip barbell rows when you want to mix your workout up.
You won’t be able to overload the muscles as heavy as using cables requires more stability.
However, the constant tension can be a great benefit and help build some serious size in your arms.
Do this in the same spot you would do reverse grip barbell rows on arm days or towards the end of your workout if during back and bicep workouts.
Since you’re stimulating the biceps, you shouldn’t choose a weight you can’t pull for less than six reps, but make sure you challenge yourself and don’t go above 12 reps.
Cable Straight-Bar Curl
This exercise may seem similar to the barbell or EZ-bar curls since they’re both bilateral movements, but there is an important difference.
Bicep workouts with cables keep the bicep muscle under constant tension throughout the entire range of motion.
This makes for full bicep development.
Do this exercise instead of barbell curls when you’re looking for variety in your workout.
If you try it during an arms workout, do it during the beginning and for reps of 6-10.
During back and bicep workouts, do it in the middle or at the end for 8-12 reps.
Cable EZ-Bar Curl
This movement is similar to the cable straight bar curl with the added benefit of being more comfortable for your wrists.
Since you’re using an EZ-bar, the weight is already in a curl position, so all you have to do is lift it.
This exercise can be done for reps of 12-15 and lets you use heavier weight than other cable exercises.
Do this at the beginning of your workout when your biceps are fresh.
Lying Cable Curl
This is a great exercise for several reasons.
By laying down, you increase the angle of your bicep relative to your torso which minimizes cheating.
This forces you to use all biceps.
Using a cable will increase the time under tension, even at peak contraction.
Also, by laying down, the bench/floor will give you feedback on your back positioning and help prevent you from slouching.
Standing Dumbbell Curl
Doing biceps exercises with dumbbells is popular for a reason.
Just make sure you use a weight you can lift properly.
Avoid swaying or arching your lower back to lift the weight.
You can do dumbbell curls with either your palms facing out the entire time or using a twisting motion mid-rep.
If you find yourself doing these, then grab some lighter weights.
Seated Dumbbell Curl
A great alternative to the standing variation.
Doing seated curls will help you keep your back straight, minimizing cheating.
Just like the standing variation, use a weight that’s challenging but not too heavy.
You can do more reps with this exercise than the standing version.
Do it towards the beginning of your workout when your biceps are fresh or in the middle for 6-12 reps.
This curl variation targets all three major muscles in the biceps (brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis).
This occurs because when doing your curls, you rotate from an underhand to an overhand grip halfway through the rep.
Great for overall bicep development, but you won’t be able to curl as much as traditional dumbbell curls.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
A great variation of dumbbell curls.
Workouts for bigger biceps will always require you to hit your arms from different angles and use different grips.
The grip used in this exercise transfers more of the load from your biceps brachii to your brachialis.
This change helps to make your arms look thicker.
You’re going to do this exercise for reps of 12-15 since it’s more difficult.
Do it in the middle or at the end of a workout when your biceps are fatigued and you can’t lift as heavy of weights.
Cable Hammer Curl
This exercise has the same great benefits as the dumbbell hammer curl, but it’s easier to do since you’re using cables.
This makes for a great substitute or addition to those already doing dumbbell curls.
Using cables also increases the time under tension which helps with bicep development.
Do this exercise at the beginning of your workout and use reps between 12 and 15.
Incline Dumbbell Curl
The best dumbbell workouts for biceps should include this variation.
This exercise is great for hitting the long head of your biceps.
You’re starting in a deficit position and have less leverage to lift the weight than normal curls.
This makes for a great finishing exercise.
Perform it towards the end of your workout when you’re fatigued and can’t lift as much weight.
Incline Hammer Curl
These bicep curl variation takes the best of hammer curls and inclines and combines them into one killer movement!
Since you’re starting in a deficit position, it’s going to be more difficult than the standard incline curl.
This is great for overall bicep development.
Do this at the end of your workout when you’re fatigued and can’t lift as much weight.
Seated Dumbbell Concentration Curl
This exercise is great for isolating the biceps.
You’ve undoubtedly seen these being done in the gym as they are popular.
You can do lots of reps or focus on the eccentric portion of the lift for great bicep development.
Make sure you don’t rock your whole body when doing these.
Another common mistake is that people will perform the exercise with their elbow on their knees.
Your elbow should be on the side of your thigh to keep constant tension on your bicep.
Cable Concentration Curl
This movement is a great alternative to the dumbbell variation thanks to the constant tension you keep on your biceps throughout the whole movement.
Using cables is great for people who can’t use as much weight on dumbbells.
To get the most out of this exercise, you should lean forward so that your biceps is parallel to the floor at the top position.
Then, flex hard for a second or two before returning down.
Do these towards the beginning of your workout when you’re fresh
Cable Alternating Flex Curl
By extending your arms outwards, parallel to the floor as the starting position, you force your arms to work hard.
This movement focuses directly on the biceps and the constant tension from using cables helps develop large arms.
These are great to do as an addition to your other bicep exercises or at the beginning of your workout when you’re fresh.
A great exercise to add variety to your arm or pull workouts.
By forcing your elbows back, you reduce the range of motion of the exercise allowing you to lift heavier weight.
You can do them earlier in an arm workout with a heavier weight or in the middle/end of a pull workout.
EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
By resing your arms on a sloping surface such as a preacher bench, your biceps are isolated by taking your other upper body muscles out of the movement.
This means that your biceps will be handling the load themselves.
You can use a variety of different grips with this exercise.
Do these at the beginning of your workout when you’re fresh and can use a heavier weight.
Dumbbell Preacher Curl
All the same benefits of using a preacher bench, but with a dumbbell.
This exercise allows you to change the upper arm angle during the movement.
Make sure you aren’t using any momentum when doing the exercise.
Don’t put your other arm on the bench or you’ll be increasing your leverage and take tension off your bicep.
Make sure you don’t curl too high and keep your wrist in a neutral position.
Racked Farmer’s Carry
The farmer’s carry is a great full-body exercise that more people should be doing.
If you hold the weights in a racked position, you increase the tension on your biceps as you put them in an isometric hold.
Since farmer’s carry is done with heavy weight, you’ll be able to overload your biceps in the contracted position.
This is an isolation curl that targets the short head of your biceps.
By keeping your elbows close to your sides, you increase the range of motion of the exercise which means more tension on your bicep.
If you can’t get the full range of motion with this, feel free to use a lighter weight and keep good form.
Do these at the beginning/middle/end of your workout when fresh and want low-weight reps for hypertrophy purposes.
Straight Bar Reverse Curl
Known as an exercise that works your forearms, it is often neglected because it targets the brachialis.
This muscle is integral to building bigger biceps.
By training it with this movement, your brachialis will push the peak of your bicep up higher, making it appear bigger.
Back and Biceps Workout with Dumbbells You Should Try!
Bicep workouts are important to help improve other movements in the gym.
I wouldn’t ever do an arm or bicep workout on its own and prefer to combine the exercises on my pull day with back exercises.
However, there’s not much better than a bicep-specific workout to help give you the guns you want!
Dumbbell bicep curls: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Farmer’s carry (racked position): 4 sets of 30 seconds of walking
Hammer curls: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Spider curls: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Incline bicep curls: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Bicep Workout Routine Tips and Tricks
Tempo training is used to increase time under tension and is a great way to add more stress to the muscle.
By slowing down the eccentric (lowering) phase of the curl, you’re able to increase the amount of weight that you can use.
You should also use a controlled tempo on your concentric (lifting) phase.
This will help with hypertrophy and strength.
Go lighter with high reps, heavy weights for low reps
I recommend going a little lighter on your bicep workouts so that you can use higher rep ranges to help give them some more volume (hypertrophy).
Try super-setting your bicep exercises with another exercise to increase time under tension.
This will allow you to work your biceps more and help break through those plateaus!
Make sure that the exercises don’t conflict with one another so there aren’t any strength issues and be sure to use proper form, rep ranges, and tempos.
You’ll get an awesome workout and bigger biceps in the process!
Move through the full range of motion
Make sure you’re doing the full range of motion for your bicep exercises.
If you’re not able to do the full range of motion, you’re using too much weight.
Drop the weight and get a little bit more range of motion.
Squeeze hard during contraction
Fire up the most bicep muscle fibers by squeezing harder at the top of the movement.
This will help with hypertrophy and strength.
Stretch at the bottom of the rep
You can help ensure a full range of motion by stretching your tricep as hard as possible at the bottom of the movement.
Accelerate your bicep development by ensuring you have a proper mind-muscle connection.
It’s very easy to cheat when doing bicep exercises by doing half reps or swinging.
This will destroy your muscle gains and prevent you from developing the arms YOU want.
Practice counting your tempo and when counting your reps, count down as it motivates you to keep pushing through the set.
Bicep Exercise FAQ’s
How can I get bigger biceps fast?
You can get bigger biceps fast by using a combination of heavy weights and high reps, tempo training, supersets, and using the full range of motion. Adding variety to your workout will help keep your muscles guessing.
What workout makes your biceps bigger?
Bicep exercises make your biceps bigger as long as they are performed with heavy weights and a full range of motion, which will help you build muscle. You should perform sets with a weight you can perform between 6-12 reps.
How can I get thicker biceps?
You should be focusing on the pump and lifting weight you can do for 6-12 reps rather than focusing on how much weight you can do for low reps. By getting a pump, you force blood into your biceps to give it the nutrients it needs to grow.
Why aren't my biceps growing?
Your biceps might not grow because you are lacking variety in your workout or overtraining. You should use an array of different exercises to hit your biceps from different angles.
By using the exercises and tips outlined in this post, you are well on your way to building some respectable guns! Be
Make sure you add variety to your routine by using an assortment of bicep-building exercises to hit your arms from several different angles.
Make sure you focus on form and mind-muscle connection over swinging reps to impress your gym crush.
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