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5 Unique Exercises for Bigger Biceps

Rob King

5 Unique Arm Exercises for Bigger, Badder Biceps

When I think of Arnold, the first thing I think of is his incredible biceps. His biceps were legendary, and Arnold knew how to show them off better than anyone. His front double biceps and his twisting back double biceps shots are still some of the best poses, even almost 30 years later. In the gym, as seen in countless pictures of Arnold training, his go-to exercises were standing barbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, and dumbbell concentration curls. These are some of the best exercises for building bigger biceps, but I always say that not every exercise is suited for every person. What worked for Arnold may not work for you. In my own training, I always had trouble with these three exercises. I personally found my front deltoids really took over on all three of these exercises, and my biceps never really got “the pump” the way they should have. Maybe it’s having short arms and overpowering shoulders, but for me personally, bar curls, 45 percent
incline curls, and concentration curls just didn’t cut it. I needed to try something different. In your own training, never be afraid to go against the grain and try something to see if it works for you.

This is very simple to understand, but not so simple to do.
Grab a standard 45-pound bar and place your hand in the centre of the bar. Do a curl and try keep the bar as balanced as possible. Squeeze at the top and try to lower the bar slowly under control to a fully locked out position3 tips to Make the

How to make the one-Arm Curl Better
• Make a fist with your free hand. This will create full body tension, and you will not “leak” power.
• Try to lock your legs and glutes and use only your arm to curl the weight. This is easier said than done.
• Start with your weaker side first 3 reasons the one-Arm

Why the Curl Works So Well
• The balancing of the weight alone is an arm workout.
• Your forearms will get a crazy workout, and forearm strength and size are big limiting factors in biceps development.
• Isolating one biceps can make it easier for someone to focus on when trying to improve weak body parts.

Find a cable machine and put the pulley of the cable machine at the very bottom of the selections. Grab a bar (a straight bar, EZ-curl bar, short or long bar, or even a rope) and sit down in front of the
machine. If possible, brace your feet against the machine. From here, lie back so that you are totally flat on your back with the cable going down the front of your body and your arms by your side. From here, do a normal curl. Keep your arms tight to your side, do a curl, and then let your arms go back to the straight position.

3 tips to Make the lying Cable Curl Better
• Try different handles and bars to see which feel good for you.
• Focus on a fast curl with a slow and controlled negative.
• Keep your head against the ground when you curl. Don’t roll your head up to look down at what you are doing. Try to keep a neutral/straight neck position.

3 reasons the lying Cable Curl Works So Well

• This takes out the shoulders and upper body almost completely and hits only the biceps.
• This takes out the legs and “cheating,” making the biceps muscles work that much harder.
• For anyone with back pain, this is a great way to do curls without causing any load on the spine.

Pretty much every gym you train in will have a set of dumbbells that are around 15 to 30 pounds, which is plenty for this exercise. Set up the way you would do a normal dumbbell biceps curl, but instead
of grabbing the grip on the dumbbell, grab the edge of the dumbbell—the actual weight plate part. When you curl, the dumbbell will be completely in front of you. This is another exercise that looks easy but is very difficult.

3 Tips to Make the Side Grip Dumbbell Curl Better
• Keep your body straight and use no legs when curling the dumbbell.
• Focus on a fast curl with a slow and controlled negative.
• Try to do some sets with a neutral grip, and also try some sets with supination added (turn your thumb to the outside of your body).

3 Reasons the Side Grip Dumbbell Curl Works So Well

• This exercise is excellent for people in the military, correctional service workers, martial artists, or any job/field that requires grip or grabbing a lapel.
• This will work your forearms and fingers in a completely different way, which will improve biceps growth.
• Doing a curl this way adds a ton of options.

Get a set of dumbbells. Instead of lying faceup on a standard 45 degree incline bench as usual, change your body position and lie facedown. From here, your arms will be hanging down towards the ground and you will be facing the ground, not the ceiling. Proceed to do dumbbell curls.

3 tips to Make the forward Incline Curl Better
• Focus on contracting/squeezing very hard at the top position of this exercise.
• Change your grip to all three grip variations: pronated, supinated, and neutral grips.
• Alternate between using two arms at once and using one arm at a time.

3 reasons the Side Grip dumbbell Curl Works So Well
• For people with any back pain, this is a great exercise that has no spinal compression.
• This exercise completely takes out the shoulders and makes it impossible to cheat.
• You will get a very intense contraction, and it’s a very easy exercise on the joints.

The Zottman curl is simple to do. Grab a set of dumbbells and set up like you would do a normal dumbbell curl. Curl the weight up to the top position as normal. At the top position of the curl, turn your hand
position so that your thumbs are facing each other (pronated grip). Proceed to lower the dumbbell with the back of your hand facing up, and your thumbs inside. Lower under control, then, at the bottom of
the curl, turn your hands so that your palm of your hand faces
down and your thumbs face away from you (supinated grip).

3 tips to Make the Zottman Curl Better

• Focus on the lowering aspect of this exercise (the negative).
• Use a tempo such as 3-1-X —i.e. , 3 seconds lowering, 1 second pause (stretch) , X = explode up.
• Use thick-grip dumbbells or a thick-grip attachment.

3 reasons the Zottman Curl Works So Well
• It overloads the biceps brachialis, which is a big muscle in building upper arm thickness yet is often underdeveloped.
• Pronation is very important, as most people either always keep their arms straight or supinate, which leads to tendon flare-ups over time.
• It’s a very simple exercise that can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. 

When it comes to training and getting results, you always want to stick
to the basics and focus on getting stronger with perfect form. These exercises are not a replacement for the basics. Basics work, but these are great alternatives to hit your biceps in a different way. Training variety is important to keep your training fun and also to keep hitting your body in different angles and with different training stimulus.
Give them a try.