Top 13 Exercises for Big Biceps Ranked

(Last Updated On: May 13, 2017)

Big biceps flex

Big Biceps that stretch the arms of your shirts and turn heads, it’s something that is desired by many men. Heck, some guys at the gym seem to do nothing but curls trying to get those big guns.

If you want to get serious biceps then it would probably be a smart idea to use the top exercises for building big biceps. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and energy doing exercises that are not going to pay off the way they should.

That is why we are writing this article, to give you the best mass building biceps exercises ranked from top to bottom. If you want big biceps then this is the information you are looking for.

The Anatomy of the Biceps

Biceps anatomy

When it comes to the biceps there are really three things to look at. First is the long head of the bicep, this is the one that you work if you want a nice peek.

The muscle you should not forget about though is the Brachialis which you can see on the side of the biceps when the arm is flexed. Working this muscle can make your biceps bigger because the Brachialis will actually push the biceps up making it taller, not to mention the Brachialis itself growing and adding arm size.

Brachialis muscle

Best Exercises for Building Big Biceps Ranked

These are the exercises you want to focus on. Of course, the exercises that are top ranked will give you more bang for your buck.

13. Concentration Curls

Best Bicep exercises

Concentration curls are a great exercise and they were one of Arnold’s favorites. While he preferred to do them standing you can also do them seated as most people do. One nice thing about concentration curls is you can spot yourself with your free hand and help yourself pump out a few extra reps or even do negatives. Concentration curls are great for building up the peak of the biceps and make the biceps look more aesthetic. That said, they are not the best exercise for building muscle mass. They are a good exercise but we have them at the bottom of the list for mass building.


12. High Cable Curl

High cable curl

Let’s be honest, this one is a favorite for guys who like to show off their guns, especially if there are ladies around.  These are another good shaping exercises and are also great for a change of pace but if you are looking to build muscle mass you should use these sparingly.

11. Standing Cable Curls

standing cable curl

Standing cable curls are another nice change of pace and while they might look a lot like standing barbell curls just using a cable but there is more to it than that. When you perform these curls with a cable it is a lot more difficult to keep the bar stable than with a barbell and it works the muscle differently than a barbell would. Give these a try and you will be happy with the results.

10. Lying Cable Curl

Lying cable curl

Lying bicep cable curls are a nice bicep exercise that can add some size to your biceps. The good thing about this exercise is you can’t cheat as much as you can if you could if you were standing because the ground will prevent you from swaying and arching back. We have all seen the guy doing curls using nothing but momentum, this takes that out of play and makes you work the muscle.

9. Reverse CurlsReverse curls

Reverse curls may be a bit of an old-school exercise but they are a pretty decent mass builder. The reverse curl hits the forearms, biceps and the brachialis which many people miss when it comes to arm training. These are an exercise you really shouldn’t overlook for the look and size of your entire arm.

8. Preacher Curls

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These are another good exercise that really isolates the bicep and can help limit cheating on the exercise, although I am sure we have all seen some guys cheating on this one too. This exercise is another one that is good for building that biceps peak guys like.

7. Underhand Grip Barbell Rows

Underhand grip rpws

I know what you are thinking, these are a back exercise and that is true but they really hit the biceps as well. In this article on T-Nation, they used an electromyography to measure muscle stimulation during both biceps and back exercises. What they found was that there are some back exercises that work the biceps as much a traditional bicep exercises do.

That makes this one a nice double whammy hitting both the back and biceps hard.

6. Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls

Seated incline curls

Seated incline dumbbell curls are a nice alternative to regular seated curls. Doing them on an incline like this hits the biceps a bit different and really hits the long head of the biceps.

5. Zottman Curl

Zottman curl

These are another good “old school” exercise. This one is a bit like a reverse curl and a dumbbell and it is a really nice muscle builder for the biceps, forearms, and brachialis. This one is a nice muscle builder that is underused and is one for you to think about adding your routine.

4. Weighted Chin-up

best biceps exercises

Chin-ups on their own are a good mass builder for biceps but when you make them weighted they are even better. In the T-Nation article, we mentioned earlier the weighted chin-ups were actually the best-rated exercise by the electromyography. It was not only the best of all the back exercises it was also got the higher peak activation on the biceps than any of the biceps exercises did.

This is great news for guys who like quick workouts since you can hit your back and biceps together with such a great exercises. It also backs up our article on why it is pointless to do biceps curls.

3. Hammer curls

hammer curl guy


Hammer curls are a nice bicep builder. There are a few different ways you can do these either straight up and down or across the body as well as seated or standing. These hit the entire biceps and the brachialis and are a nice mass builder.

2. Dumbbell Curls

Matt Ferro Arms

Dumbbell curls are probably the favorite exercise for most guys at the gym and for good reason. They build big guns, end of story. They are also easy to do, just head to the dumbbell rack and grab a couple of dumbbells and start curling. No racking weights just grab em and go. Seated or standing dumbbell these bad boys can build some serious pipes.


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1. Barbell Bicep Curls

Best bicep exercisesHere we have the big daddy. Barbell bicep curls, a favorite of Lee Haney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many others. That is because they know that barbell bicep curls are the best mass builder for biceps on the planet.

The barbell curl hits both the short and long head of the biceps but you can focus on one of the heads by adjusting your grip. A closer grip will work the long head of the biceps while a wider grip hits the shorter head. You should vary your grip while training to hit both heads.

The thing about these is you have to use good form. This is true with all exercises but with these, it is really easy to cheat and use bad form. Be sure you aren’t swaying like a tree in the wind when you do these and that you are using all biceps instead of back and you can virtually watch your biceps grow.


Time to Get Big Guns

There you have 13 great biceps exercises. The ones that don’t rank as high are still very useful for shaping as well as a change of pace.  Unlike some exercises in our article that ranks the best ab exercises, all of these exercises definitely have their place in your workout.

When it comes to building muscle mass in the biceps the basics are still the way to go. This is true for must body parts, the tried and true exercises are generally the best. Stick with those and they will take your arms and body further.