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What Are the Best Exercises for Biceps?

Who doesn't want beautiful biceps? After all, your biceps are the body part most people notice when you're wearing short sleeves. You want them to look firm and defined - not loose and flabby when you slip on a tank top this summer. What are the best exercises for working this all-important body part? Here are three of the best types of exercises for building biceps muscles.

Biceps Curls and Their Variations

No biceps workout would be complete without biceps curls. To do biceps curls, use a barbell, dumbbells or resistance bands to add resistance - unless you're a beginner. Choose a weight that's tough to lift by your tenth repetition - otherwise you won't be challenging your bicep muscles enough.

If you're using dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Your palms should be facing inwards. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level while rotating the palms upwards and in towards your body. Do a set of twelve. You biceps should feel fatigued by the tenth repetition and the last two should be quite challenging.

Tips for Doing More Effective Biceps Curls

Don't swing the weights. This uses momentum and decreases the effectiveness of the exercise. It also increases the risk of injury.

Lower the weight slowly. The lengthening phase of a biceps curl is called the eccentric movement, and doing it slowly can result in greater strength gains

Don't move the rest of your body when doing curls. Concentrate all of the force on your biceps - and on your biceps only. If you have to twist or sway your body to bring the weight up, you're lifting a weight that's too heavy. Keep your back straight the entire time.

Variations on Biceps Curls

Use a barbell and vary your grip by using a wide grip and then a narrow grip to challenge your biceps in different ways. Use dumbbells to do hammer curls where your palms face inwards when you curl up.

Do isolation curls, where you assume a sitting position and focus on curling one arm at a time.

Do an incline bench bicep curl using a bench set at a 45 degree incline. Sit down on the bench and slowly curl - alternating between sides.

Vary the speed with which you lower the weight. To work the biceps muscles harder, lift the weight to shoulder level and slowly lower while counting to four. This stresses and tears more muscle fibers, so you may be sore after doing it - but it gets results.

Vary the angle of your arms when doing sets of curls to target different areas of your biceps. If you do the same exercises at the same speed using the same amount of weight, your biceps will adapt and stop growing. Variation is the key to continuing to improve the appearance of your biceps.

Two Other Effective Biceps Exercises

Biceps curls in all their variations are the best exercises for building biceps - but there are two others you should include in your routine. Supinated bent-over rows with your palms facing outwards on the barbell and shoulder-width apart isolates the biceps muscles well. It works double-duty by also strengthening your back.

Another more challenging exercise is a close-gripped chin-up. You can do this at the gym, or buy a chin-up bar and place it in a doorway. The key to getting good biceps development is to grip the bar with your palms facing towards you and hands close together. This close grip better works the biceps muscles. This exercise is a tough one for beginners, but keep practicing until you can lift your chin above the bar and lower yourself in a controlled manner.

You're on Your Way to Better Biceps

Biceps curls, supinated bent-over rows and chin-ups using a close grip are what you need to get strong, beautiful biceps. Do them consistently, and you'll be looking buff come tank top season.

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