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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Best Guns On Your Block? 10 Best Biceps Exercises for Building Muscle

 Over the years, a number of studies have sought to investigate the best biceps exercises. This shouldn't surprise you! You know the first thing you'd do if you ever got access to an EMG machine would be to hook it up to your guns. Be honest.

So, what's the winner? Based on biceps EMG alone, it's usually the concentration curl, a staple in the bodybuilding regimens of golden-era lifters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. But here's the catch: We've never met a single bodybuilder who whole-heartedly agreed.

Why not? For one, experienced lifters know that while muscle activation matters, it isn't the only thing that determines the best muscle-building exercises. Instead, we used a number of parameters to choose the 10 best, including:

  • Ease of learning and performing
  • Total muscle stimulation and intensity
  • Popularity among diehard lifters and bodybuilders (This matters!)
  • Availability of equipment in commercial gyms

You don't have to consider this a definitive list. Take it as the start of the discussion, then go experiment for yourself in the following three complete workouts!

10 Best Biceps Exercises

Barbell Or EZ-Bar Curl

Why it's on the list: The standard shoulder-width curl engages the short and long heads of the biceps equally, you can alter grip width to slightly change the emphasis (wide to target the short head, narrow for the long head), you can really pile on the weight, and you don't have to sit there endlessly working one arm at a time.

How many more reasons do you need? If you're only going to do one biceps exercise, make it this one.

Want to use a straight bar instead of a cambered EZ-bar? Have at it, if your wrists don't mind. A 2018 study found that while both variants produced greater activity than dumbbell curls, "The small difference between [barbell] and EZ variants… makes the choice between these two exercises a matter of subjective comfort." 

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