The themes of the moment are very much functional fitness and long-term thinking. Looking the part is one thing, but staying fit and healthy for life requires a focus on fundamental movement patterns and sustainable programming. But… we can accept all that and still want bricks for biceps.
The fastest way to build big arms isn’t to crank out as many curls as you can. To increase the size and strength of your arms you need to work your biceps from a variety of different angles (don’t forget those triceps, either).
These are three of our favourite exercises to grow those guns.
1. EZ Bar Bent-Over Spider Curl
This variation on the curl allows you to hit your biceps more effectively, while also working the triceps, helping you to add overall size to your upper arms.
- Stand tall, holding an EZ bar with a close grip and arms fully extended.
- Bend forward from the hips, so your elbows are resting on your inner thighs.
- Curl the bar up towards your chin, keeping your elbows locked on your thighs, then squeeze your biceps at the top of the move.
- Take 3 seconds to lower the bar until arms are fully straight, and flex your triceps at the bottom.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.
Why it works
Spider curls place the greatest emphasis at the top of the resistance curve, which means you’ll feel maximum tension at the top, peak contraction part of the movement.
This allows you to hit the short head of the biceps, which is the part of the muscle responsible for the peak you see in well-developed arms.
2. Supine Overhead Cable Curl
Lying on a bench stabilises your body so you can focus exclusively on working your biceps directly. The range of motion is slightly reduced in this variation, so really focus on squeezing your biceps at the bottom and flexing your triceps at the top.
- Lie flat on your back on a bench with a straight or EZ-bar cable attached to the high pulley.
- Hold the bar with your arms straight, above and slightly behind you.
- Curl the bar so it comes down below the back of your head, squeezing your biceps.
- Slowly return the bar back to the start, flexing your triceps as your arms straighten.
3. Kneeling Overhead Cable Curl
Kneeling means your legs are not engaged so you can place more effort on your core to keep your torso stable, while focusing on working your biceps through their full range of motion.
- Kneel on the floor in front of a cable machine with a bar attached to the high pulley.
- Hold the bar with a narrow grip so your arms are straight and the bar is directly above your head.
- Curl the bar so it comes down below the back of your head and squeeze your biceps.
- Slowly return the bar to the start position, flexing your triceps as you straighten your arms.