Working out your bicep muscles has to be one of the most favoured exercises performed in the gyms across the world. The likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler and CT Fletcher all represent an inspiring set of bicep muscles which are ready to pop and flex at any time! I'm sure all three of these athletes would state that in order to achieve great bicep muscles you need to work them from all angles for maximum growth. This means working with barbells, dumbbells and cable machines so you reach the full range of the bicep muscle. Variety in your workouts will not only keep it fun but it will mean you hit both heads and not just focus on one side of the arm. Let's explore this further....
The Guns AKA The Swans AKA The BICEPS
Yes it is true, your biceps have many different sayings for them and the above are just a few of the nicknames you could give them. C'mon now, don't tell me you haven't flexed in the mirror and said ''check out these guns' ;)! Anyway, I digress from the matter at hand which is explaining to you that the bicep has two heads (bi-cep) and these should be worked evenly to promote an aesthetic look. An IMPORTANT thing to note before you read on is that in order for your biceps to grow it is imperative you train them and not your ego. What I am saying is, far too many people lift ridiculously heavy weights with shocking form and are therefore not working the muscles you want to work. I have been there, I am sure you have too, so remain humble while lifting and forget the ego!
Briefly touching on the subject it is always important to know what you are working on so that you know which exercises are working what muscles. Your bicep muscles are split up into two separate muscles which are the short and long head muscles outlined in the picture below. In order to work these two different muscles you will need to mix up the exercises as the most predominant head to work is the long one (outside of arm) due to most exercises working it.
Exercises for Long Head
Remembering that this is on the outside of the arm, exercises like hammer curls and straight narrow bar curls will hit this side of the bicep. Other exercises like dumbbell curls and seated preacher curls are going to work more of the long head if you stick with a narrow grip. Working the longer head will make your arm look good from the outside but you must be sure to work the short head too so that you give your arm the complete, full look!
Exercises For Short Head
When you flex your arm or if you see the arm from the front of you it is important to work the short head as this is what will give the illusion you have a great bicep. The outer head is already overworked due to many different back exercises working the longer head as a secondary muscle. Exercises which will work the short head are ones which require a wide grip or a twist in the movement. So, a wide grip barbell curl or cable bicep curl while TWISTING your palms so they face behind you will activate the shorter head. The cable machine bicep curl can be tricky to grasp so here is a picture of how to do it properly...
Final points, Sets, Reps
Final things to consider are how many reps and sets you perform per exercise and in my experience the best thing to do is to keep mixing this up. Try not to let your muscles get used to one way of working out so it is good to keep shocking them with different training methods. Include super sets and drop sets into your working out routine while remaining to lift heavy so that you break your muscle fibres. There isn't one set way of working the bicep muscles which is going to give you the same results as some one who you aspire to look like. Be sure to mix it up and stick with what ever works for you :)
Don't forget to re fuel with a whey protein shake after your intense workouts so that the proteins and amino acids go straight to your muscles which will help them grow stronger and leaner.