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If you want to work on developing the peak of your biceps then you’ll need to focus on some exercises for the long head of your biceps.
Your biceps brachii is a two-headed muscle that comprises of the short head of the biceps and the long head of the biceps. The long head sits more on the outside of your arm with the short head located on the inside.
The long head of your biceps is the larger of the two and, when developed, gives you that biceps peak.
In this article, we’ll suggest some of best long head bicep exercises you can incorporate into your arm day workouts.
Best Long Head Bicep Exercises
Below are some of the best long head biceps exercises. It’s worth noting, that you can’t completely isolate this part of your bicep but by performing the exercises recommended you can place more emphasis on it.
⦁ Hammer Curls
⦁ Close-grip barbell curls
⦁ Bayesian Cable Curls
⦁ Incline Dumbbell Curls
⦁ Concentration Curls
⦁ Drag Curls
⦁ EZ Bar Preacher Curl
⦁ Supinated Chin Ups
The hammer curl exercise involves performing the movement with a neutral grip so that it engages both your forearm and bicep muscles. Many people prefer them over regular bicep curls as they’re easier on the wrist and elbow joints.
However, that’s not to say you should perform one exercise over another. Different curl variations will help to develop overall arm size and strength.
How To Do Hammer Curls
- Stand upright with your feet around shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Hold the dumbbells down by your sides with your palms facing in towards your body.
- Next, take a deep breath and curl the dumbbells up and towards your chest.
- Keep your elbow position the same throughout and don’t rotate your wrists.
- Pause for a second or two at the top of the movement and then slowly return your arms to the starting position.
Close-Grip Barbell Curl
One of the most effective mass-building exercises for your bicep long head is the close-grip barbell curl. By keeping your hands closer together will help to place more emphasis on the outside of your arm.
This exercise can be a little stressful on your wrists so if you prefer, swap out a regular straight bar for an EZ curl bar instead.
How To Do Close-Grip Barbell Curls
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and take hold of the bar with an underhand grip (supinated grip).
- Make sure your hands are just inside of shoulder width with your elbows in front of your hips.
- Exhale and curl the bar towards your chest making sure to keep your elbows in a fixed position.
- Pause at the top of the exercise and squeeze your biceps.
- Use control and slowly lower the bar back to the start. Be sure to allow for full elbow extension so you complete the rep with a full range of motion.
Bayesian Cable Curls
The Bayesian cable curl is a unilateral exercise meaning that you’ll be working one arm at a time. It involves curling the weight but also keeping your elbow positioned just behind you. This helps to increase the range of motion.
Using a cable machine to perform this movement is a great way to keep constant tension on your biceps long head.
It’s important to keep your elbow fixed behind you throughout the entire range of motion. If you allow your elbow to move forwards your going to recruit too much of your front delts and reduce activation of your bicep long head.
If you find it difficult to keep your elbow in place, consider dropping to a lighter weight as you may be going to heavy to keep proper form.
How To Do The Bayesian Cable Curl
- Firstly, clip on a D handle attachment to a cable machine with the pulley set to the bottom.
- Take hold of the handle with your left hand with the machine behind you.
- Step forwards to create tension in the cable and adopt a split stance with your left foot forward. This stops any rotation of your upper body as you perform the exercise.
- Start with your elbow extended and just behind you.
- Inhale and curl the weight up towards your left shoulder. Remember to keep your elbow in place throughout.
- Pause for one or two seconds and squeeze your biceps.
- Exhale and lower the weight back to the starting position.
Incline Dumbbell Curls
The incline dumbbell curl is a great way to primarily work the long head of your biceps muscle. It involves curling dumbbells while lying on an incline bench that’s set at an angle, typically between 30 to 60 degrees.
The angle of the bench is what helps to isolate the long head of the biceps. The higher you set the bench, the easier the exercise will be to perform.
How To Do The Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Adjust your bench to the desired angle and set your dumbbells just in front of it.
- Take a seat, grab the dumbbells and lie back on the bench making sure your glutes, back and head are fully supported.
- Relax your arms down by your sides and push your shoulder blades down and back.
- Turn your hands outwards so that your palms face forward.
- With your chest up, curl both the dumbbells up towards your armpits keeping your elbows locked in place and behind your body.
- Pause at the top before using control to slowly lower the dumbbells back down.
Concentration curls are performed with your arm braced against your thigh. This helps to isolate the bicep and places more emphasis on your biceps long head helping to increase the peak.
When performing this exercise it’s important not to let the weight swing and to concentrate on slow and deliberate reps for maximum biceps activation.
How To Do Concentration Curls
- Start by sitting on a bench keeping your feet wide apart with toes pointing out.
- Take hold of a dumbbell and rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh. Your torso should be leaning forwards at this point.
- Start with your elbow extended and your palm facing forward.
- Keeping your back straight and core engaged, curl the dumbbell all the way up to your chest.
- Hold for a second and then slowly lower the dumbbell back down.
- When you’ve completed your reps, make sure to do the same number on the other side.
Drag curls are a biceps exercise that are particularly good for working the long head, helping to emphasize the peak of the biceps.
It’s similar to a regular barbell curl, but is performed in a way that minimizes the involvement of the front deltoids and emphasizes the bicep muscles.
How To Do Drag Curls
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a barbell with an underhand grip, keep your hands at a shoulder width distance too.
- Keeping your chest up, drag the barbell up your chest while allowing your elbows to move back and behind you.
- Pause at the top squeezing your biceps.
- Lower back down before repeating.
EZ Bar Preacher Curl
The EZ-bar preacher curl is a biceps exercise that combines the use of an EZ-curl bar with the preacher bench to isolate and target the biceps, particularly the long head of the biceps.
It’s an excellent exercise for building bicep strength and muscle definition and really helps to isolate the muscle while eliminating any cheating.
Make sure you feel a good stretch at the bottom of the movement so you know you’re doing it to a full range of motion. If you find yourself leaning back, decrease the weight as you may be going too heavy.
How To Do EZ Bar Preacher Curl
- Begin by adjusting the seat and arm rest to a suitable position. The arm pad should comfortably rest under your armpits to allow for a full range of motion.
2. Take hold of the ez bar keeping your hands inside shoulder width. Your wrists should be rotated slightly inwards helping to minimize stress on the joints.
3. With your arms braced against the pad, engage your biceps and flex your elbows to curl the bar towards your chin.
4. Squeeze your biceps at the top before lowering back to the start.
Supinated Chin Ups
Supinated chin ups are one of the most underrated bicep exercises out there. While it’s considered more of a back exercise, doing a well executed chin up is a fantastic way of building your biceps peak.
It’s a challenging exercise but if you have the strength to do it, definitely incorporate it into your bicep training.
How to do a supinated chin up
- Take hold of some pull up bars using a supinated grip so that your palms face towards you.
- With your hands at a shoulder width distance, engage your biceps to pull yourself up towards the bar.
- Aim to get your chin to the same height as the bars (or higher).
- Squeeze your biceps as hard as you can before lowering back down to the start.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Possible To Isolate Only The Long Head Of The Bicep?
As your biceps are a two headed muscle connected to the brachialis and brachioradialis, it’s not possible to isolate just the long head.
When doing any form of bicep exercise, you’ll be actively working all of these muscles but your difference in grip will determine how much emphasis is placed on each muscle.
For example, performing bicep exercises with a close grip will help to work more of the long head but there will always be involvement from the other muscles which work together to complete the exercise.
How Often Should You Work Your Biceps
Training your biceps 2 to 3 times per week is a good amount if you want to see most muscle and strength gains.
However, avoid going too heavy and aim to perform more reps per set. This will help to avoid overtraining and prevent injury.
Aim for a rep range of around 10 to 20 and 3 to 4 sets.
Are Bicep Peaks Genetic
How tall the peak of your biceps is, is only partly down to genetics. If you have a short muscle belly, the bicep being shorter in length, then you’ll have a taller peak when flexing your biceps.
On the other, if you have a longer muscle belly, meaning the bicep is longer in length, then the bicep peak will be less prominent.
Essentially if you have longer limbs then the illusion will be that your muscles are not as well developed and it may seem like a shorter person will gain muscle more easily.
But that’s not the case. If you’d like to know more on this subject, have a read of our article does height affect muscle growth
The bicep long head exercises above will help to increase your biceps peak creating fuller looking upper arms.
We’ve kept them varied to allow for different positions of your elbow. For example, the drag curl and Bayesian cable curl will keep your elbow behind whereas the preacher curl will keep it in front of you. This will ensure your biceps are being worked from different angles.
That being said, don’t forget the short head of your biceps for overall arm development of your upper arms.
Before you go, why not head on over to our article for some great suggestions for short head bicep exercises.