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5 Bicep Exercises Better than Bicep Curls

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There are several bicep exercises that are effective and can be better than bicep curls, depending on your fitness goals and level of experience.

This article will cover these bicep exercises, explain them and demonstrate why these alternatives can be better.

This is always relevant to your particular goal. Generally, bicep exercises are better or worse than others in relation to what you are trying to personally achieve.

We have made sure to describe the specific benefits of each different movement so that you can make intelligent choices about which ones to include, and which ones to remove, when it comes to your training.  

What are the Arm Muscles?

There are several major muscles in the arm, including:

  • Biceps: The biceps are located at the front of the upper arm and are responsible for flexing the elbow and rotating the forearm.
  • Triceps: The triceps are located at the back of the upper arm and are responsible for extending the elbow.
  • Brachialis: The brachialis is located underneath the biceps and is responsible for flexing the elbow.
  • Brachioradialis: The brachioradialis is located in the forearm and is responsible for flexing the elbow and rotating the forearm.
  • Pronator teres: The pronator teres is located in the forearm and is responsible for pronating (rotating) the forearm.

These muscles work together to allow for movement and stability of the arm. They are involved in a wide range of activities, from everyday tasks such as lifting and carrying objects, to sports and fitness activities such as weightlifting, climbing, and throwing.

Why are Strong Arm Muscles Important?

Strong arm muscles are important for several reasons:

Daily Activities

Strong arm muscles can help you perform daily activities such as carrying groceries, lifting heavy objects, and pushing or pulling doors with ease.

Sports Performance:

Many sports require strong arm muscles, including basketball, football, tennis, and baseball. Strong arms can help you throw a ball farther, hit a ball harder, or lift more weight in the gym.

Arm-Workouts reverse curl Dumbbell Only Biceps Exercises for Mass

Injury prevention:

Strong arm muscles can help protect against injuries, particularly those involving the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. They can also help to prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to poor posture and back pain.

Aesthetics:

For many people, having strong and toned arm muscles is a desirable aesthetic goal. Well-developed arms can help improve your overall appearance and boost your confidence.

Overall, having strong arm muscles can improve your physical health, athletic performance, and self-esteem. Incorporating arm exercises into your fitness routine can help you build and maintain strong and healthy arms.

Bicep Exercises Better than Bicep Curls

Add these into your training.

1. Zottman Curl Exercise

The Zottman curl exercise is a type of bicep curl that targets both your biceps and forearms. To perform a Zottman curl:

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides with your palms facing up.
  2. Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, rotating your palms so that they are facing down at the top of the movement.
  3. Pause briefly, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, rotating your palms back to facing up.
  4. Pause again at the bottom, then repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

The unique aspect of the Zottman curl is the rotation of the palms at the top of the movement, which engages the forearm muscles in addition to the biceps.

This exercise is a great way to target both muscle groups at once and is particularly useful for athletes who require grip strength, such as rock climbers or gymnasts.

2. Chin Ups

Chin-ups are a type of strength training exercise that targets the upper body, particularly the back, biceps, and shoulders. To perform a chin-up:

Find a horizontal bar that is sturdy enough to support your body weight. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing towards you), with your hands shoulder-width apart.

Athletes-doing-Chin-Ups How to Build Big Biceps with Bands Calisthenics Exercises that Build the MOST Muscle Home Arm WorkoutSource: Unsplash / CrossFit Inc

Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground.

Pull your body up towards the bar, keeping your elbows close to your body and your shoulders down and back.

Continue pulling until your chin is above the bar, then lower your body back down to the starting position.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Chin-ups are a challenging exercise that require significant upper body strength. They can be modified by using resistance bands or a chin-up assist machine to make the exercise easier, or by adding weight with a weight belt or weighted vest to make it more challenging.

Chin-ups are a great exercise for building back and bicep strength, as well as improving grip strength and overall upper body muscle development.

3. Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are a type of bicep curl exercise that targets the biceps as well as the forearms. To perform a hammer curl:

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides with your palms facing in towards each other (a neutral grip).
  2. Keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, controlling the weight on the way down.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Hammer curls are a great way to target both the biceps and the forearms, making it a popular exercise for those looking to develop grip strength or overall arm size and definition.

Hammer curls can be performed using a variety of equipment, including dumbbells, barbells, or cable machines. To increase the challenge of the exercise, you can try using heavier weights or slowing down the tempo of the movement to increase time under tension.

4. Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is a strength training exercise that targets the biceps, particularly the long head of the bicep muscle. To perform a preacher curl:

  1. Sit on a preacher bench.
  2. Grasp an EZ curl bar or dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing up) and rest your arms on the bench with your elbows fully extended.
  3. Curl the weight towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows stationary and close to the bench.
  4. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

The preacher curl is an isolation exercise, which means it focuses on working just one muscle group (the biceps) while minimizing the involvement of other muscles.

This exercise can help to develop the size and definition of the biceps, and is a popular choice for bodybuilders and those looking to improve the appearance of their arms. The preacher curl can be performed using a variety of equipment, including dumbbells, barbells, or specialized preacher curl machines.

5. Incline Dumbbell Curls

Incline dumbbell curls are a variation of the bicep curl exercise that targets the long head of the bicep muscle. To perform an incline dumbbell curl:

  1. Set an incline bench to a 45-degree angle and sit on it with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms facing forward.
  3. Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

The incline angle of the bench puts more emphasis on the long head of the bicep muscle, which can help to increase the overall size and definition of the biceps.

Incline dumbbell curls can be performed using a variety of equipment, including barbells or cable machines. To make the exercise more challenging, you can try increasing the weight of the dumbbells or slowing down the tempo of the movement to increase time under tension.

What Sets and Reps Should You Follow for Muscle Growth?

The sets and reps that you should follow for muscle growth depends on several factors, including your fitness level, training goals, and the type of exercise you are performing. However, as a general guideline, performing 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise is a commonly recommended approach for building muscle.

When performing resistance training exercises, the goal is to challenge your muscles enough to stimulate growth without causing excessive fatigue or injury. Performing 8-12 reps per set is a good starting point, as this range is typically effective for increasing muscle size and strength. Additionally, performing 3-5 sets of each exercise can help to ensure that your muscles are adequately stimulated and challenged.

It’s important to note that the exact number of sets and reps you should perform will depend on a variety of factors, including your training goals, fitness level, and the specific exercise you are performing. If you are new to strength training, it’s a good idea to work with a qualified personal trainer who can help you design an effective workout program that is tailored to your needs and goals. As you progress, you can gradually adjust the number of sets and reps you perform to continue challenging your muscles and promoting muscle growth.

Learn More

Check out these Deadlift benefits and why you should be performing the Chin Up more.

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