Learning basic moves for biceps is essential when you're just starting out, but the basics alone won't work forever. Advancing your exercise knowledge can help you with everything from warming up to smashing PRs. If bigger biceps are your goal, use these advanced exercises to accelerate your upper-arm growth.
The Zottman curl is a great warm-up exercise to pre-exhaust the biceps. This exercise helps you warm up all parts of the biceps, as well as the brachialis, forearms, and elbows.
There's no need to go excessively heavy here. Take your time with each rep and use lighter weight. Use this exercise to help you feel the biceps working, pump more blood into the target muscles, and prepare your elbows for the harder work to come.
Begin curling the dumbbells as if you're doing a traditional curl. However, at the top, twist your wrists so your palms face forward, as they would at the top of a reverse curl. Lower the weights, resetting to the palms-forward starting position at the bottom.
Rest 60 seconds between each set.
Barbell Curl With Thick Grips
Thick grips work your forearms and challenge your biceps in a way that a regular bar won't. It forces the biceps to work harder. You also won't be able to lift super heavy since your hands will be holding a thicker handle.
Thick grip curls allow you to do a unique kind of dropset. Perform your curls to failure with the grips. Once you reach failure, take off your grips, grab the bar as you normally would, and perform at least a couple more reps before your arms fail again. The weight you select should lead to failure within the prescribed rep range.
Superset: Incline Dumbbell Curl and Seated Hammer Curl
Supersets work best if you spend less time transitioning from one exercise to the next. With this exercise pairing, there's no need to move at all or even change weights.
Start by performing the incline curls with your back resting against an incline bench. Upon reaching failure, sit up, change your hand positioning, and immediately go into the hammer curl. This exercise is easier to perform than incline curls, which is why you don't have to switch the weight even after reaching failure.
One more advanced biceps tip: When you go into the hammer curl, position your hands right up against the insides of the dumbbell. This will recruit more muscle fibers, leading to better biceps growth.
Straight-Bar Cable Curl
Cables are a great biceps finisher because tension will stay on the muscles throughout the entire rep. This is an isolation move so you don't have to use as much weight to make the biceps work.
For those of you unfamiliar with this classic rep scheme, 21s are 7 half reps in the bottom range of motion, 7 half reps in the top range of motion, and 7 full reps. If your form is solid (meaning, no swinging or cheating), your biceps will burn.
For another advanced twist, do these cable curls lying on the floor. Since your back is against the ground, you won't be able to generate momentum and your biceps must work extra hard to finish strong.