What is the greatest isolation lifts proven to build huge biceps? If your goal is to maximize your biceps’ size and strength, you need a program built around isolation training and compound exercises.
Isolation (single joint) training will stimulate maximum muscle growth and definition in your biceps. At the same time, compound (multi-joint) exercises will support that growth and ensure your entire upper body’s balance.
Anatomy of the Biceps
Your bicep is a two-headed (bi) muscle on the front of your upper arm. Both “heads” begin on your shoulder-blade and then join to form a single muscle attached to your upper forearm. Your bicep crosses both your shoulder and elbow joints, and its main function is to flex (pull) your elbow and to supinate (rotate) your forearm. Your biceps each have two anchor points in your shoulder where the bicep tendon is attached to your shoulder socket, as well as two points of attachment in your forearm just below your elbow.
Isolation Exercises with Bicep Training
An isolation exercise involves just one joint and usually targets one muscle or one small group of muscles, in this case, your biceps. Isolation lifts are incredibly efficient and specific. On your “arm” day in the gym, the time and energy you spend on arm training exercises will solely focus on increasing your biceps’ size and strength. When creating your biceps-building workout, you should emphasize isolation training over compound exercises. The same is true for the second half of your arm day as you train your triceps!
Five Best Bicep Isolation Lifts
Here are five basic isolation lifts for your biceps that should be a part of your workout:
- Barbell Curls – The most basic (and productive) bicep exercise. Load the bar, using an underhand grip, raise (curl) the bar slowly from hip level to chin level. Pause and squeeze at the top and slowly lower the bar to the start position. RESIST as you lower the bar, and you will significantly improve the efficiency of this exercise.
- Dumbbell Curls – The same movement as the barbell curl, but using individual dumbbells requires additional work and focus. You can move each dumbbell up and down simultaneously or alternate each hand.
- Incline Dumbbell Curls – Performing dumbbell curls while leaning back against an incline bench can add shape and a “peak” to your biceps, thanks to the added stretch the angle provides.
- Hammer Curls – Hammer curls are dumbbell curls performed with the dumbbells held in a vertical position instead of the regular horizontal position. Keep in mind your biceps are designed to curl that weight in addition to twisting your forearm. Alternating hammer curls with regular curls can quickly add size to your biceps while also adding width and density.
- Close Grip Chin Ups – While technically a compound movement (involving your shoulders), close grip chins allow for maximum stretch and maximum contraction of your biceps. Start or end your bicep training with this exercise to provide bicep-focused stress and resistance.
Quick Tips for Building Big Biceps
- Don’t over-train your biceps. Your biceps are a relatively small muscle, don’t train your biceps more than two times a week. Generally, three exercises with three sets each during your workout session. Work in the 8-12 rep range, proven to be useful for most trainees.
- Perform your isolation lifts to build massive biceps with strict form, and don’t cheat. Avoid swinging the weight. Lift the barbell or dumbbells in a controlled movement. Strict form builds big biceps.
- Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of each movement. At the top of each curl, pause just for a moment and squeeze before you slowly lower the weight.
- Rest one minute between sets. Resting only one minute between sets will help fatigue your biceps with each following set. The one-minute rest between sets also increases muscle pump and blood flow to your biceps.