Vary Your Curls to Target the Different Areas of Your Biceps

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If I asked you how many ways you can perform curls more than likely you would be able to provide a few different answers. There are hammer curls, preacher curls, barbell curls, and dumbbell curls just to name a few. But why do you need to use so many different exercises to target such a small muscle?

Shouldn’t you just be able to work the biceps by using a single exercise? The simple answer is no.

Bicep Basicsvary your curls to target the different areas of your biceps

The biceps is a two-headed muscle comprised of a long head and short head. It is responsible for flexing the elbow and supination of the forearm. Since it works across tree joints it is considered to be tri-articulate. The greatest strength of the biceps is to supinate the forearm (turning the palm up) while the underlying brachialis muscles do more work during flexing the forearm.

Just based on this very rudimentary description it should be more understandable as to why you need to vary your curls to target the different areas of your biceps. Because of the two heads and three joints there are more angles than you might suspect and it is not always simple to find a single exercise that can adequately hit the muscle perfectly.

A Variety of Curls                                     

So what should you do? Ideally you would attack the biceps by using at least two exercises per workout that target the muscle in a different manner. Based on the idea of the biceps being responsible for forearm supination at least one exercise that involves the wrist rotating just a little should be in order. Here are some great biceps exercises that you can use to ensure you are getting full development of those guns. Using different grips and hand positions adds to the variety factor.

  • Barbell Curls – The old standby. This is a basic exercise that people use to hit the belly of the muscle. You can change the focus slightly by using a narrow or wide grip which then affects the wrist position.
  • EZ Bar Curls – A variation of barbell curls, this exercises forces the wrist into one of two different prostitutions to hit the muscles slightly differently. Alternating hand positions each workout can really help shake things up.
  • Hammer Curls – Generally done with dumbbells (but you can also use a low cable pulley and a rope attachment) this exercise is great for the long head of the biceps and the brachialis.
  • Reverse Curls – Usually these are done with a barbell or EZ Curl bar but can be done with dumbbells. Great for the long head of the biceps, brachialis, and forearms.
  • Dumbbell Curls – These are almost always a must exercise because you can supinate the wrist as you curl to get the best of both worlds in. These can be done standing, sitting, or on an incline bench.
  • Preacher Curls – These are great to work either the long or the short head depending on the angle. You can use barbells, EZ Curls, dumbbells, or cables for these and a normal preacher bench or spider bench.
  • Concentration Curls – These are done with dumbbells or single cable handles and are great for building a peak and roundness because you can supinate your wrist as you curl.

Bottom Line

Everyone loves working biceps but a key is to use variety. You want to make sure you use the full slate of exercises available such as preacher curls, dumbbell curls, and barbell curls to make sure you target the different areas of your biceps. This will ensure that you build length, size, and a nice rounded peak for a great set of arms.

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