Outer Bicep Workouts

The biceps are some of the most prized muscles, it's no wonder you work to cultivate muscle growth in that particular arm region. An outer bicep workout on a regimented and consistent schedule will help promote muscle growth and increase strength.

There are several different workouts you can do to work your biceps. (Image: Pavle Bugarski/iStock/GettyImages)

The “Outer” Bicep

According to ExRx.net, when the elbow is bent, the outer bicep is activated, whereas rotation of the forearm activates the inner portion of the bicep.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) explains that the bicep muscles extend from the shoulder to the elbow and consist of two heads: the "short" head and the "long" head. The short head is located on the inner or medial part of the arm, while the long head is located on the outer, or lateral, bicep. Different grips will work different parts of the muscle.

Maximizing the Outer Bicep Workout

To get a proper outer bicep workout, you should stick to a strength training regimen and follow some of the tips outlined by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' MOVE! program:

  • Do strength training exercises for all the muscle groups no less than two and no more than three times a week.
  • Don't exercise the same muscle group more than two days in a row.
  • Start with a lighter weight and gradually build up to heavier weights.
  • Do about eight to 12 repetitions per set.
  • Try to vary the types of exercises you do.

1. Arm Workouts: Bicep Basics

If you're looking to show off that outer bicep tattoo etched atop your bulked up arm muscles, you're going to want to know some of the basic bicep workouts. ACE lays out the steps for a few flex-worthy workouts:

Move 1: Concentration Curl

  1. Sitting on a chair or bench, hold a dumbbell in your right hand and allow it to hang between your legs.
  2. With the back of your right upper arm against the inner thigh, lift the weight into a curl up to shoulder-level.
  3. Then release back down to starting position and repeat.

Move 2: Biceps Curl Switches

  1. Step the feet into the center of a resistance band.
  2. Hold a handle in each hand, palms facing upward.
  3. Curl each handle up toward the shoulder one at a time.

Move 3: Cross-Body Curl:

The cross-body curl is similar to the biceps curl switches, except instead of bringing the handle straight up, you cross each hand across the torso and toward the opposite shoulder.

2. 10-Minute Biceps

For bulky biceps, long sessions at the gym need not apply. What's important is efficiency and consistency, and for that, a 10-minute bicep workout is just as good as any bicep workout. ACE suggests 10-minute exercises that will whip the biceps into shape:

Move 1: Incline Bar Chin-Up

  1. Hold onto a barbell placed in a low position on a squat rack with an underhanded group and the body angled at 45 degrees from the ground.
  2. Keep the feet firmly on the ground and do chin-ups, bringing the chest to the bar.
  3. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

Move 2: Bar Curl

  1. Hold a barbell, with palms facing upward, knees slightly bent and feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Curl the barbell upward, keeping the body rigid and elbows close to the torso.
  3. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

Move 3: Alternating Bicep Curl

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the hips, curl up one dumbbell at a time, rotating the palm toward the front of the shoulder.
  2. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

Move 4: Plank Hammer

  1. Get into a plank position, either on your hands and toes or hands and knees and place each hand on top of a dumbbell.
  2. Lift each dumbbell up and lower it back down, one at a time, making sure to keep your body still and in alignment.
  3. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

Move 5: Reverse Curl

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing upward, curl the weights up toward the shoulders, then slowly lower down.
  2. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

The “Best” Bicep Workout

When it comes to bicep exercises there are plenty of options: cable curls, barbell curls, concentration curls, chin-ups, incline curls and preacher curls. But there can only be one "best." In an August 2014 study, researchers at ACE discovered which biceps workout was most effective. Their findings? The concentration curl yielded the best results.

Researchers attributed the concentration curls success to the fact that the exercise isolates the biceps more than any of the other exercises, which rely on a wider variety of muscles, including the anterior deltoid or the front of the shoulder.

3. Bicep Power-Curls

They're bicep curls with a twist, or rather, bicep curls with a squat. ACE recommends a set of "super-charged" bicep curls that are a bit more intricate than your garden variety bicep workout. Exercises include:

Move 1: The Isometric Squat

  1. Sitting in a squat position with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up and arms in front of the legs, curl the dumbbells up keeping the elbows on the thighs while you doing this.
  2. Do 10 to 12 reps.

Move 2: Drag Curl to Front Press

  1. The drag curl is an iteration of the traditional curl. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing upward, your arms by your thighs.
  2. Pull your elbows backward while lifting the weights to chest height. It should be as if you're doing a pulling motion.
  3. Then push the arms forward and hold them parallel to the ground.
  4. Repeat these movements in 10 to 12 repetitions.

Move 3: Wide Biceps Curl to Wide Shoulder Press

  1. This exercise simultaneously targets the biceps and shoulders. The legs should be spread wider than shoulder-width with the toes angled outward.
  2. Lower down to a partial squat and lift your arms into a curl with your elbows stuck to your sides.
  3. Lift the dumbbells all the way up so that your arms are straight and form a "V."
  4. Lower the arms back down to starting position and repeat 10 to 12 times.

Move 4: Biceps Curl With Side Taps

  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. As you curl your right arm up, tap your left foot out, then switch sides: curl your left arm up and tap the right foot out.

Move 5: Upper Cuts With Bob and Weave

  1. Start in a squatting position with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  2. Stand up facing the right-hand corner and do four upper cuts.
  3. Then bob to the other side and do four upper cuts on the left.
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