When you train, there are many muscles and muscle groups that are important. One of these important muscles is the biceps. Training your biceps can be done in many different ways. In this article we will show you five different exercises that will help you train your biceps at a high level and the right way!
But first we explain clearly what the biceps are, so that you also know why certain exercises are good for this muscle group. We then discuss five exercises to train your biceps and finally a few tips for an optimal training.
What is the biceps?
The biceps is an upper arm muscle that is used as a Latin name biceps brachii has. This muscle is also called the two-headed upper arm muscle or popularly called the muscle ball.
The muscle has two heads, hence the name 'two headed'. The long head has its origin from it tuberculum supraglenoidal of the scapula. This attachment is located above the socket of the shoulder joint. The short head originates from the coracoideus processus, located at the top of the same shoulder joint. At the bottom the muscle is attached to the tuberosity of the spoke bone.
The bicep is one agonistic muscle. This means that the contraction of muscle makes movement in the joints possible. In this case, the bicep ensures that the elbow can make a bending movement. When you stretch your elbow again, your biceps will be assisted by the triceps. This last muscle is one antagonistic muscle, which means that it is a stretching muscle that brings the arm back into stretched or so-called resting position.
Even more clearly explained, the cooperation between the biceps and the triceps as follows: the biceps contracts and at that moment the triceps is relaxed and can thus stretch. When you want to stretch your arm again, the triceps tighten and the tense biceps stretch again.
So if you want to train your biceps, it is important to pay attention to the bending properties of the muscle and to do exercises that train the muscle through this movement.
Training your biceps: 5 exercises
The exercises below are for training your biceps. The exercises are in random order.
Exercise 1: Concentration curls
From research from ACE (American Council on Exercise) in collaboration with, among others, the University of Wisconsin, it has been found that concentration curls are the best exercise for biceps. This is mainly due to the fact that you can switch off other muscle groups during this exercise. That way you really train only your biceps and this is reflected in the results.
To keep other muscle groups such as the shoulder out of the movement as much as possible, it is best to perform this exercise while sitting. When you sit, spread your legs apart, lean forward and place the elbow of the arm with the dumbbell on the inside of your thigh (see photo). This position isolates the biceps. Then extend your arm completely and then bring it to the shoulder of the arm with which you hold the dumbbell. When the muscle is fully contracted, keep your hand still for a moment. Make sure to keep your wrist as straight as possible. Lower the dumbbell again until your arm is fully extended.
You can do the concentration curls at the end of your training, among other things. Because of the isolation of the muscle, this is the exercise par excellence to exhaust your biceps and to put the dot on the i.
Exercise 2: Standing cable curl
In this exercise you mainly train your biceps, but you also come brachilis muscle look a little more powerful around the corner. This muscle is located under the biceps and has the same function. You will be training the brachilis anyway. This happens more powerfully with one exercise than with the other. During the standing cable curl you will use more muscles than just the biceps. This is because you are not completely stable during the exercise due to the weight attached to the cable. This in turn ensures that you will use stabilizing muscles around the biceps. Nevertheless it is one good exercise for your biceps.
Various attachments can be attached to the cable. As you can see on the photo you can attach a rod to it, but these can also be loose handles.
For this exercise we will stick to the explanation at the bar. Provide a short, straight bar and attach it to the machine cable. Place your feet on shoulder width and make sure that your knees bend slightly. Then tighten your abs and keep them tight throughout the exercise. You grab the bar with a private grip, so keep your fingers and thumb pointing upwards. Then lower the bar towards the thighs and raise it again to the chest. You can then repeat the exercise a desired number of times.
By bending your knees you automatically tighten your abdominal muscles and you stand firmer. When you are stronger, you are less inclined to use your back muscles as an aid to the exercise. You don't want this, because this relieves the biceps. Also prefer a light weight than an overweight weight. When the exercise is just too heavy for you, you are more likely to use more muscles than just your biceps.
Exercise 3: Incline dumbbell curl
During this exercise it is not possible to use your back muscles when it gets heavy. You isolate your biceps and let this muscle do all the work. In addition, you do not have to pay attention to whether or not you cheat on the muscles in your back.
For this exercise you need a fitness bench so that your back can rest against the backrest. Adjust the sofa so that the backrest has an angle of 30 degrees. Then sit on the couch and grab one or two dumbbells (you can train one or both biceps at the same time) and get a private grip. Then let the arms hang down and bend them slightly. There is now tension on the biceps. During the exercise, ensure that the elbows remain stable while lifting the dumbbell (s) as far as possible. Then lower the weights again and repeat the exercise.
With this exercise you don't have to grab the heaviest weights immediately. The movement is larger than with the other exercises and that makes this a tough exercise, even without heavy weights. It is better to be able to repeat the exercise more often for optimum results.
Exercise 4: Barbell curl
With barbell curls you mainly train your biceps, but your forearms also participate. It is indeed an isolating exercise, but not as isolating as a concentration curl. In addition to the forearms, there is a chance that you will let your back participate in the exercise. By performing the exercise correctly you can prevent this and keep isolating the correct muscle group.
To begin, stand and place your feet hip-width apart. Then grab the barbell shoulder width and underhand. Make sure your upper body is properly stretched and your arms are straight down. This is your starting position. Then you bring the barbell up to shoulder height, hold it here for a while and focus on your biceps. You really need to be able to feel that they are working. Finally, slowly lower the barbell back down and repeat the exercise if desired.
It is important to keep your back offside during the barbell curl. It is important that you do not use excessive weights. It is better to execute the exercise properly and on the biceps, than to work with your back to raise the barbell.
Exercise 5: Preacher curl
The biceps are also completely isolated from other muscle groups during the preacher curl. This is in contrast to, for example, the barbell curl and the standing cable curl. With these exercises there are other muscles that are happy to participate.
Preacher means pastor, and the name of the exercise comes from the attitude of a preacher. For this exercise you will also have to use a so-called preacher curl bench.
To start, sit on the preacher curl bench and take a shoulder-width barbell in your hands. Also make sure that your palms are pointing forward. Make sure your arms are comfortable on the support. If your arms are crooked or the posture does not feel right, you have the chance to force things and you can overload your wrists. So take the time for a good attitude. If you're in the right place, bring the barbell with the underhand grip to you. Make sure you let the biceps do the work. Keep the biceps constantly under tension, even when the barbell is low again. Be careful not to stretch your arms.
Do the exercise slowly and in a controlled manner. Keep in mind that you only use the biceps and let it do its job well. Look straight ahead and don't forget your back. Always keep it straight!
Already excited to train your biceps properly? We have already indicated this for a number of exercises, but there are a number of points that you should take into account during your training. Read the tips below and make sure you get the most out of your biceps exercises.
Tip 1: The correct weight
Despite the fact that you may want to train your muscles quickly, it is never wise to use overweight weights. If you do, you run the risk of not optimizing your biceps.
By using an overweight weight, other muscles such as your back and shoulder muscles will have to work to get the weight up. Because of this you lose the insulation of your biceps and you can no longer train optimally. So opt for a lighter weight and perform the exercise well, rather than going for an overweight weight.
Tip 2: Move your hands
We have explained different exercises, but there are of course many more exercises to train your biceps. To give your exercises more dimension, you can also move your hands during the exercise. You can do this well with barbell exercises such as the barbell curl.
Why would you move your hands during an exercise? As mentioned before, your biceps consist of a short and a long head. By grasping the barbell with a narrower grip, you emphasize the long head. You can train this extra. When you place your hands wider than shoulder width, you train the short head extra well. Remember that changing your hand position does not completely isolate one head. You put the focus briefly on the long or short head, but the other head keeps on training.
Tip 3: Insulate
As you have already read, it is ideal for training your biceps if the muscle is isolated. In this way you only train your biceps and you make little or no use of other muscles. To isolate your biceps, you can do exercises such as the concentration curl or the preacher curl.
If you perform an exercise in which the muscle is not completely isolated by the posture, make sure that you use as few other muscles as possible. You can do this by following tip 1 (use the correct weight) or by performing the exercise as well as possible. Always remember to keep your back as straight as possible. If other muscles want to work with it, then these are mainly the back and shoulders. Keep an eye on this.
Tip 4: From start to finish
The above exercises are in a random order. A tip we can give you when training your biceps is the following: start the exercise that allows you to lift the most weight. You then complete the exercises in that order, from the most to the least weight. This way you can also perform the exercises at the end of your workout well for the optimal result.
You now know what your biceps are, what exercises there are to train your biceps and you have received tips that are good to remember during training. This way training your biceps becomes a piece of cake.
Do you have any tips or exercises for training the biceps?
Let us know in a comment!