When you ask someone to flex, you'll watch them raise their arm and flash their biceps. Given the fitness world's adoration for this muscle group, it's no shock that there are tons of biceps exercise variations out there.
Whether you choose to play with negatives, isometric holds or drop sets, you'll need to start with a few fundamental moves. On your next arm day, Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness on the NEOU App, recommends you give these dumbbell exercises a try.
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1. Dumbbell Biceps Curl
- Begin standing or seated with a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thigh. Your palms will face out.
- Lift the weights up toward the your chest.
- Lower the weight back with control.
Make this move even more effective by making it a concentration curl. It recruits the most muscle and promotes the most muscle growth, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.
Place your right elbow against the inside of your right thigh, arm fully extended. Leaning forward a bit, curl the weight up toward the right side of your chest, using your leg to keep the elbow in place.
2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
- Begin standing tall with your arms at your sides, holding a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing in toward each other.
- Brace your core and curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, holding the weights vertical.
- Keeping your elbows at your sides, slowly lower the weights back down with control.
3. Dumbbell Reverse Curl
- Stand tall with elbows at your sides, back flat and core engaged.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand with your palm facing down.
- On an inhale, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulder, keeping the overhand grip.
- Then, lower the weight back down to your sides with control, maintaining your elbows close to your sides.
4. Dumbbell Alternating Curl
- Begin standing with your arms at your sides, feet hip-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
- Keeping your elbow close to your side, curl your right dumbbell up toward your shoulder, then control the weight back down.
- Then, curl the left dumbbell to the left shoulder, lowering the weight with control.
- Alternate back and forth, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
You can make the alternating curl more challenging by performing the exercise either kneeling or seated and slightly reclined. These positions prevent you from using the momentum of the weight (a common biceps curl mistake) to raise it up, making the move more difficult.
5. Dumbbell Curl to Press
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out.
- Curl the weights up to your chest.
- Flip your palms to face outward at shoulder-height.
- Press the weights up overhead, keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Lower the weights back down to your shoulders.
- Flip your palms to face your body, then lower your weights all the way back down to the start.