You know the basic tenants of fitness: Make sure you eat right, be sure to get a good balance of both cardio and weight training in, and of course, never skip leg day. But when it comes down to it, most people are working out for two main reasons: They want to feel better, and live longer, healthier lives. And they want to look good.
By incorporating these exercises into your routine and really focusing on building some serious muscle, you’ll be looking good in no time.
1. Wide-grip barbell curls
Let the curl-a-thon begin! First up, barbell curls — but not just your standard, run-of-the-mill barbell curls. You’ll need to perfect the wide-grip barbell curl. This is demonstrated in the above video from Bodybuilding.com (an excellent resource, so check it out). The wide grip helps target and direct more of the work of lifting to your biceps specifically, giving those particular muscles a solid workout. Try curling with a few different grips, and see if you can feel the difference.
As always, the important thing to really nail down is your form. If you aren’t getting your form down, you could be missing the entire point of the exercise.
2. Hammer curls
Hammer curls — they just sound badass, don’t they? Scott Herman Fitness helps us with the video demonstration on this one, and he gives a good explanation and run-through of how to do the exercise. What separates hammer curls from your traditional dumbbell curls is how you pull the weight toward your body. You’ll bring the dumbbell to your chest with your palms remaining vertical to the ground so that the motion of the lift is not unlike swinging a hammer (hence the name). This exercise, like the others, specifically targets your biceps and relies on them to do the brunt of the lift.
3. Incline inner bicep curls
For this next curl variant, we go back to the experts at Bodybuilding.com. You’ll need a bench or some kind of incline for incline inner bicep curls, which will have you ending the lift in kind of a strange “power glamour” pose, as you’ll see at the end of the video demonstration. The video describes this as a “double biceps pose,” and you’ll definitely see and feel the work being put into the biceps when you attempt the lift. This lift, again, zeroes-in on your biceps in a way that traditional curls simply can’t.
Pull-ups are simple enough, as long as you have a place that you can do them with proper form. Though pull-ups don’t target your biceps specifically, a lot of the effort does fall on them to hoist your body weight up to the bar. Pull-ups will also work out auxiliary and adjacent muscle groups, helping strengthen your entire upper body along with your biceps. This will help with muscle symmetry, which is one of the reasons throwing pull-ups into the mix during your routine can help give your biceps a bit of a break — although they’re still going to be doing some heavy lifting, just with a little help.
5. Cable row
Getting away from the barbells and dumbbells, the cable row will have you doing pretty much the same exercise and movements — the curl — though with the cable and bar. There are a few ways you can do this, one of which you’ll see in the video above. Choose a method, and make sure you’re focusing the work on your biceps — that means you’re sitting or standing in the correct position and that you’re not going to hurt yourself.
Incorporate these exercises, and you should be looking like The Hulk in short order.