Stop Doing These Biceps Exercises. Do These Moves Instead

Stop doing these biceps exercises. Do these moves instead

Sometimes, simpler is better. That's especially the case when it comes to building big arms

STRENGTH TRAINING CAN become monotonous, especially once you’ve been lifting for a long time. Rep after rep of the same few exercises can get boring – and when it does, sometimes exercisers can get a bit too creative when it comes to finding new takes on stale exercises. Usually, though, the simple moves are the most effective. That’s especially true when it comes to training your big arm muscles with biceps curls.

The biceps are not overly complicated muscles. They have two jobs: flex the elbow, and twist (supinate) the forearm. That means it’s relatively simple to train them effectively.

“If you look across Instagram or TikTok, there are eight million biceps exercises out there,” says MH fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “The thing with those eight million biceps exercises is most of them are completely dumb. If we stick with the most effective exercises, that’s how we’re going to grow our biceps.”

If you’re looking to build bulging biceps, here are five exercises you should skip, and the best moves you should sub in for them instead.

Concentration curl


This is a classic bodybuilder movement, but it’s pretty easy to cheat. Many guys will dig their elbow into their thigh to achieve an easier angle, taking the “concentration” aspect out of the equation. Plus, you really need to be focusing to find a good squeeze – and we’re all guilty of not paying enough attention to our movement while we’re working out.

Do this instead: spider curl


You’ll need an incline bench for this one, but it provides all the same isolation benefits of the concentration curl – with less room to cheat.

Wide-grip barbell curl


This move has been around since the early days of bodybuilding. But the wide grip doesn’t allow you to generate full force through your biceps. You won’t be able to get as much of a squeeze at top of the move than you would with a narrower grip, meaning you won’t be able to put on as much load.

Do this instead: standard shoulder width barbell biceps curl


The fix is simple: take it to a shoulder-width grip. Your muscles will be in a better position, and you’ll be able to really squeeze.

Cross-body hammer curl


This is another bro lift special. “I know it seems like we’re attacking bro exercises right now, but hey, they can use a little bit of work,” Samuel says.

Moving the load across the body winds up producing a lot of internal rotation at the shoulder, putting us out of an ideal position for contraction. It’s just not necessary.

Do this instead: regular hammer curl


Take the cross-body portion of the curl out of the equation. The hammer curl is great as it is—it allows you a prime position to really emphasize the eccentric contraction on every single rep.

Seated EZ-bar curl


This positioning works through the least useful biceps range of motion. The movement is cut nearly in half as the bar hits your lap. “This has always seemed like a cheat and a waste of time to me,” Samuel says.

Do this instead: standing EZ-bar curl


To get a full stretch, just take the movement to a standing position. You’ll be able to work through a full range of motion, which is way more beneficial to muscle building.

Biceps push-up


Despite what calisthenics fans will tell you, the biceps pushup doesn’t really do anything for your biceps. To push back up the the original position, you’re still squeezing through the chest and the triceps, regardless of the positioning of the hands.

Do this instead: chin-up


Sometimes, though, you need a bodyweight biceps exercise when you’re trying to squeeze in a workout with little to no equipment. To do that, take it to a chinup. The chinup gip (with your hands facing in toward you) will really challenge your biceps to squeeze as you lift your chin over the bar.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US.

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