The Biceps Exercises You Need To Get Bigger Biceps


Try these five must-do moves and six expert tips to add major arm size

Building bigger biceps is top of many men’s gym wish list. But you only need to look around the next time you’re in the weights room to realise that their wishes haven’t come true. One of the main reasons is that sticking to simple dumbbell biceps curls every time you work out just won’t get the job done. Your body is very good at adapting quickly to what you ask it to do, so to force your biceps to grow bigger and stronger you need to push them outside of their comfort zone and shock them into growth. Read on for world-renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin’s advanced exercises that build bigger biceps, followed by top advice on how to make your biceps training more effective

Charles Poliquin’s Key Moves for Bigger Biceps


There are dozens of biceps exercises. The trouble is, unless you’re involved in this business full-time, you tend to adopt a few exercises and do them over and over again to the exclusion of all others

This is simply a list of five of my favourites. Obviously, many of them will be familiar to you. However, you may want to read the descriptions anyway because you might discover a new way to do that particular movement or you might find that you’ve been doing it incorrectly

One-arm dumbbell preacher curl

Most biceps exercises require some assistance and stabilisation work by other muscle groups, but the preacher bench was designed to isolate the biceps. Most gyms have standing and sitting preacher benches. I prefer the seated version because it minimises cheating


Sit on the bench with one arm fully extended. Use your free hand to lock your triceps in position. As you curl the weight, keep your neck aligned by looking straight ahead. You want to keep tension on the muscle throughout each rep, so don’t curl the weight up until your forearm touches your biceps, but make sure you do lower the weight all the way back to the start

Incline dumbbell curl

This is a simple, common exercise and the most effective for isolating the long head of the biceps, but I see it done incorrectly time and again


Recline on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms fully stretched out. Curl the dumbbells up together while keeping your elbows still, at least through the first 90˚. Keep your palms facing up at all times so your elbow flexors are well stretched. Here’s a tip: if your head comes off the bench no matter how hard you try to keep it down, roll up a towel and place it between your neck and the bench. You’ll find it increases your strength

I recommend the incline dumbbell curl as a staple of your arm workouts, especially if you want to do specialised work for the long head of the biceps. Just make sure you change the angle of the bench every six workouts so your muscles don’t adapt

Dumbbell concentration curl

The concentration curl can be performed in a standing or a sitting position but I prefer the latter. When you’re standing, your nervous system has other responsibilities such as maintaining balance, but if you sit down it has its full attention on the movement


Sit on a bench, lean over and grab your dumbbell. Sit back and rest your triceps against your inner thigh. Keep a slight arch in your back while leaning over the dumbbell. Make sure to curl the dumbbell slowly and deliberately until full range is completed – the dumbbell should be near your pectoral muscle. It’s crucial that you lower the dumbbell until your arm is fully extended

Close-grip chin-up

If your arms haven’t grown for a while, you might want to consider doing this move more often. It’s a surefire mass builder. Grasp the chin-up bar with a close grip. The palms of your hands should be facing you about 8-12cm apart. Pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Do this very slowly – it should take about 15 seconds or so. Then, slowly lower yourself to the start position

You won’t get many reps in the bag, but that doesn’t matter because you want to expose your muscles to the maximum amount of tension. And don’t short-change yourself by not coming all the way down. Range of motion is critical

Seated Zottman curl

This is one of the best upper-arm builders. It feels uncomfortable at first, so it may take a few workouts to get used to this movement

Grasp two dumbbells and sit on a flat bench. Fully extend your arms downward and keep your palms facing forward. Begin curling the weight, but keep your palms extended away from your body – the tendency is to curl the wrist upwards, but I’m asking you to extend the hand backwards. Once you reach the top, rotate your hands so your palms are now facing downwards and straighten the wrists so, in effect, you’re ready to do the eccentric portion of a reverse dumbbell curl. Slowly lower the dumbbells, keeping your elbows glued to your sides throughout the entire exercise