The following 12 bicep exercises for men and accompanying videos work the bicep muscles, the large muscles on the front of the upper arms. Select any of the bicep exercises to watch the accompanying video. Below the exercises find three bicep workouts as well as links to EMG’s other muscle specific guides. These exercises are group as follows.
- Barbell/EZ Bar Exercises
- Dumbbell Exercises
- Cable Exercises
- Machine Based Exercises
Page Table of Contents
Bicep Exercises for Men
Barbell/EZ Bar Bicep Exercises for Men
The barbell curl is one of the staple bicep exercises for increasing bicep size and strength. It is usually performed in the first or second exercise of your bicep workout. This video demonstrates this exercise with a medium grip. The medium grip is the most common grip. It works both the inside and outside of the bicep muscle. This exercise can be altered by using a close grip, which work the outer biceps. A wide grip works the inside biceps.
EZ Bar Curl
The EZ bar curl has many of the same benefits of the barbell curl, but is often performed by those with wrists or elbow problems. The angled grip of the bar puts the hands in a more comfortable position, taking any strain off the wrist, forearm, or elbow. However, the angle of the grip also makes this exercise an exercise that works the outer bicep head. To better isolate the bicep muscles, this exercise can be performed on a preacher bench.
The preacher curl is one of the integral bicep exercises for isolating the bicep muscle. The primary purpose of this exercise is to add size and shape to the lower end of the bicep muscle, around the elbow. However, it can be used for overall bicep development. This is achieved by making sure that the exercise is performed with a full range of motion and squeezing at the top. This exercise is also beneficial to those with low back or shoulder problems. The seated position helps remove pressure from the low back and the bracing of the elbows against the pad prevents sway of the arms.
Dumbbell Bicep Exercises for Men
Dumbbell Curl Standing
This exercise is one of the basic bicep exercises and is an important part of any bicep training routine. By standing during the dumbbell curl, you can sway slightly with the weight on the later reps as a way of self-spotting (though this should be done very carefully to protect the low back.) This exercise can be used as a mass building or shaping and developing exercise. Perform the exercise one arm at a time, rather than two, to maximize isolation of the muscle and minimize injury to the low back.
Dumbbell Curl Seated
This exercise is one of the most basic and important bicep exercises. It is a staple of any bicep training routine. This exercise is important because it strengthens and develops the entire bicep muscle. This exercise can be performed as either a mass building motion or a shaping and developing motion. By performing the dumbbell curl while seated, you prevent any low back pressure or body sway, allowing for maximum isolation of the muscle. This exercise can be performed with or without rotating the wrist during the curling motion. It also can be performed one arm at a time or two.
This exercise is a variation of the seated dumbbell curl. It strengthens and develops the entire bicep muscle with a long range of motion. Incline curls can be performed as either a mass building motion or a shaping and developing motion. The incline position of the bench allows the user to fully extend his arm to work the whole bicep. This exercise can be performed with or without rotating the wrist during the curling motion. It also can be performed one arm at a time or two.
Hammer curls are one of the great bicep exercises for adding variety to a bicep routine. While they are not a requirement, they are a good alternative to dumbbell curls. They work the whole bicep muscle while also providing a secondary forearm workout. The twisting of the wrist causes the bicep to be worked in a different way than a standard dumbbell curl. While performing this exercise, keep your elbows locked in by your sides throughout the set. Do not allow them to come forward as you curl the weight up.
This exercise is one of the main bicep exercises for peaking the bicep. As the name would suggest, this exercise is performed deliberately, focusing on controlling the weight all the way through the exercise and squeezing at the top of the movement. While often performed while seated, this exercise can be performed in a variety positions. The key element is positioning yourself so that your arm can be fully extended. A common mistake when performing the concentration curl is using too high of a weight. Because this is a shaping exercise and not a mass-building one, a lower weight should be used.
Dumbbell Preacher Curl
The preacher curl adds size and shape to the lower end of the bicep muscle, around the elbow. However, it can be used for overall bicep development. This is achieved by making sure that the exercise is performed with a full range of motion and squeezing at the top. Preacher curls are also beneficial to those with low back or shoulder problems. The seated position helps remove pressure from the low back and the bracing of the elbows against the pad prevents sway of the arms.
Cable Bicep Exercises for Men
Cable curls are one of the great cable bicep exercises for increasing bicep size and strength. It can be used as an alternate to or in place of standing barbell or dumbbell curls. This exercise is ideal for those with lower back or elbow injuries because the weight is being lifted by the cable, which takes pressure off the joints. While dumbbell curls are used primarily for increasing bicep mass, this exercise can be performed in a slower, more deliberate manner, turning them into a shaping exercise. This exercise can be performed by connecting either a straight bar or an EZ bar to the cable pulley.
Rope Hammer Curls
Hammer curls with a rope are a variation on the normal dumbbell hammer curl. The forearms are still worked along with the biceps. This exercise must be performed using both arms at a time. Those with lower back issues should use caution when performing this exercise. If any pain or pressure is felt in the low back, you should lean back slightly when performing the exercise. By performing them with a rope, the exercise becomes more of a shaping motion than a mass motion and the weight should be adjusted accordingly.
Machine Based Bicep Exercises for Men
The machine curl is one of the few good all-around, basic machine bicep exercise. There is a large variation of machines on which to perform bicep curls. Note the various wrist and grip positions before performing the exercise on the machine at your gym. Gym machines will typically illustrate proper elbow and hand placement. One constant with this exercise is the resting of the elbow and upper arms on the pad. This makes the exercise ideal for those with wrist or elbow problems. This exercise is also ideal for a machine only circuit training routine. Because your arms are locked in position, this a good exercise for isolating the bicep.
Bicep Exercises Infographic
Bicep Exercises Video Playlist
Pre-Designed Bicep Workouts
Bicep Workout #1:
|1. Barbell Curl||4||8-12|
|2. Dumbbell Curl Standing||2||10-12 (Each Arm)|
|3. Concentration Curl||2||15-25 (Each Arm)|
Bicep Workout #2:
|1. Preacher Curl||3||10-12|
|2. Dumbbell Curl Seated||3||12-15 (Each Arm)|
|3. Dumbbell Curl Standing||3||12-15 (Each Arm)|
Bicep Workout #3:
|1. Incline Curl||3||10-12 (Each Arm)|
|2. Hammer Curls||3||10-12 (Each Arm)|
|3. EZ Bar Curl||3||15-25|