Whether you’re bodybuilding for competition, self-esteem, or to improve your muscle definition, biceps are an important part of weight training.

Biceps are the first muscle people flex when asked to show their muscles, right?

Are you looking for the best and quickest ways to get bigger biceps? Here are three bicep exercises that will increase your muscle mass and lead to big biceps fast.

1. Barbell Curls

Standing barbell curls are the best exercise for biceps and muscle strength. It engages both the long and short bicep muscles, as well as the forearm and elbow muscles.

Since you’re standing, you also engage your leg and core muscles. Using all these muscle groups allow you to lift heavy weights and increase your weight and progress fast.

To do a barbell curl, hold the weighted barbell with your palms facing out in front of you and your arms straight down on the sides of your legs. Then, using the biceps, bend your elbows and curl the bar to your chest. Slowly drop the bar back down to your thighs and repeat.

You can move your hands out wider to turn the shoulders out and engage more of the short bicep muscles.

Make sure that when you’re doing this exercise you do not sway back and forth. This will take away the work in your arms and could lead to back injury.

2. Barbell Rows

There are two types of barbell rows that are great for getting bigger biceps. They are, for the most part, the same exercise except the hand placement is different.

Both exercises are compound moves that work the arms as well as back muscles, allowing you to lift heavy weights. Lifting 200 pounds with your arms and back compared to 30 pounds with your biceps will get you better results faster.

Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over barbell rows is a compound exercise that uses your back and arms. By standing, you engage your core and legs.

To do a bent-over row, squat down and place your hands under the barbell to target the biceps. Lift the barbell and stand up straight. From here, you’re positioned for the exercise.

Bend over 90 degrees and maintain a flat back. Bend your knees slightly. Your barbell should be in front of your knees with your elbows turned out in front of you.

From this position, lift the barbell by bending your elbows up and back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Be sure to keep a straight back to avoid straining the lower back.

Reverse-Grip Barbell Rows

The reverse-grip barbell row is the same move as the bent-over row, but you place your hands over the bar instead of under it.

This move works the back and biceps, as well as the triceps. Like the bent-over row, it allows you to lift heavy weights and increase your weight.

To do this exercise, bend over and grab the bar with your palms facing down. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight.

Lift the bar by bending your elbows back and squeezing your shoulder blades together and repeat the process.

Make sure your torso remains at 90 degrees or you will engage the hips more than the arms and back.

3. Inclined Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are a great bicep exercise. Holding the dumbbell in a hammer position allows more engagement of the bicep muscles and less on the wrist and elbow. You will work the biceps more with this curl than the others listed.

Hammer curls are the most effective curl for working the long head bicep muscles, which are important in getting bigger biceps.

The inclined position keeps you from swaying and using that momentum to cheat the workout. It also takes pressure off the back and hips.

To do an inclined hammer curl, sit on an incline bench (about 45 degrees) with a dumbbell in each hand. Place your feet on the ground about hip-width apart.

With your dumbbells hanging at your sides, use the bicep to bend the elbow and curl the dumbbell to your chest. You can choose to do these alternatively or together.

Lower the dumbbell back down. The slower you go, the more work your muscles will get.

Since the inclined hammer curl is an isolated exercise, make sure you pair it with compound exercises for the best results. Only doing curls will not get you very far.

Avoid Only Isolation Exercises

Isolation exercises only work one major muscle group. For example, bicep curls isolate and train the biceps. While these exercises are using other muscles such as the hand and wrist muscles, they rely, for the most part, on the one major muscle–the bicep.

This means that the weight you use is going to be much lower than if you were using more than one muscle group. If you are a beginner, your biceps can only handle so much.

Lower weights mean slower progress and results. Using only one muscle group also means that you only increase the amount of weight you are lifting by small increments at a time. This is why doing isolation exercises like bicep curls is not recommended for beginners looking to increase muscle mass.

If you want to get bigger biceps fast, compound exercises are a better fit. They allow you to lift more as you’re using many different muscles and body parts. You’ll be able to add more weight on a consistent basis. Even though you’re not isolating the bicep, you’re still using those muscles in many compound workouts.

You can add isolation exercises into your routine after you’ve gain sufficient mass and are looking to get more definition. You can also add them to your work out as long as you’re doing them alongside compound moves.

Great isolation bicep exercises include the incline dumbbell curl, alternating curls, and the one arm preacher curl.

One Last Tip for Bigger Biceps

When doing weight training, it’s important to maintain your focus. The best way to do this is to listen to music that gets you pumped up.

Everyone needs a good pair of headphones while exercising. Check out the headphones headphonesaddict says are the best affordable ones on the market right now.

Make sure you check out more posts like this on our health and fitness blog.

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