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Exercising your biceps is MUST if you want tight, toned defined arms. A lot of women struggle to get definition in their arms because they don’t exercise their biceps. I see many women doing a lot of curls quickly then moving on to other exercises.
Don’t get me wrong, a basic bicep curl is the BEST place to start. But a lot of women don’t realize the basics behind their biceps and that there are easy ways to modify exercises and get better results.
That’s exactly what you’re going to find out in today’s episode of CCtv. I’m going to show you 3 easy ways to modify a basic bicep curl to target different areas of your arms, so you can sculpt tight, toned, feminine arms.
What are biceps?
A quick bicep anatomy lesson…
The biceps (bi means two) consists of two heads—one head’s function is to bend the elbow and other is to supinate (or rotate) the hand from a palms-down position to a palms-up position.
To best strengthen your biceps, you will need to work each head. To do this, all you have to do is rotate your wrist to target the different heads.
The great thing about training biceps is that the best exercises build upon the basic curl motion.
There are 3 easy ways to change which part of the biceps you target.
1) Changing the direction between forwards and to the side
2) Changing the position of your wrist
3) Changing where you start and stop the exercise
These small twists to the basic curl movement allow you to work all of the muscle fibers in the bicep muscle group. For example, a hammer curl is just like a bicep curl, except the hands positioned with the palms inward, just like you were striking a nail with a hammer.
You can hammer up to the front or to the side (lateral). A slight flick of the wrist targets a different area of the biceps… and turns a bicep curl into a concentration curl. During a concentration curl, you simultaneously rotate your pinkie up and out as you lift the weight up.
Pin this bicep workout routine to Pinterest so you’ll have it forever
Changing the point at which you start/end your bicep exercises can help tone your muscles at their weakest points. For biceps curls, usually, the beginning and the ending stages of the curl are the most difficult.
When you start playing with the starting and stopping points you’ll start engaging different parts of your muscles by changing the point of the contraction.
Here’s why I love bicep exercises so much (and why you should, too!):
- Bicep exercises are easy and can be done anywhere – At home or the gym so training your arms can be a no-excuses kind of workout.
- You don’t need any fancy equipment to exercise your arms – All you need is a set of dumbbells or free weights. You can use cans of soup as weights if you want!
- Bicep exercises work for beginners and advanced exercises alike – They’re low impact and you don’t have to jump around or work too hard to get results to pop.
- When you exercise your biceps and arms regularly you can get results fast compared to other parts like your abs – It’s very motivating to exercise your biceps because you can actually see results quickly!
The biceps are my favorite body part to workout, which is why I’m sharing the best bicep exercise and a complete bicep workout for women with you. If you want to tone your arms you’re going to love it!
The Best Bicep Exercises
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing away from you. This is your start position. Exhale and curl your dumbbells up until your wrists are facing your shoulders. Inhale and slowly lower the weight back down to the start position to complete one rep.
SIDE BICEP CURLS
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing away from you. This is your start position. Bend your arms, at the elbows, curling the weights in towards your shoulders. Pause and then slowly return your arms to the start position to complete one rep.
HAMMER BICEP CURLS
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows and wrists close to your sides. This is your start position. Lift the weights up until they reach shoulder level. Then slowly lower back down to the start position, as if you’re about to hit a nail with a hammer, to complete one rep.
SIDE HAMMER CURLS
Stand holding dumbbells by your sides with your wrists facing forward. This is your start position. Exhale and slowly lift the weights up towards your shoulders. Inhale and slowly ‘hammer’ them back down towards the start position to complete one rep.
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows and wrists close to your sides. This is your start position. Lift the weights up until they reach shoulder level. At the top of the movement twist your pinky finger up and thumb down. Then slowly lower back down to the start position,
Stand, holding your dumbbells, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in line with your shoulders. Your arms should look like a wide “W.” This is your start position. Exhale and push the weights up until your arms are extended overhead. Inhale and lower the weights back down to your shoulders to complete one rep.
Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing in towards your shoulders. This is your start position. Exhale as you push the weights up overhead, rotating your hands so your palms end up facing away from you. Push until the weights are extended overhead. Then inhale and reverse the movement lowering the weights back down to the start position to complete one rep.
A 21 is a 3-step bicep curl, in which you repeat each step 7 times, adding up to a total of 21:
1) Lower Range Of Motion – Curl the weight halfway up, only completing the ‘bottom half’ of the exercise for 7 reps.
2) Upper Range Of Motion – Start with the weight halfway up, curling up to the top then back halfway down, completing the ‘top half’ of the exercise, for 7 reps.
3) Full Range Of Motion – Complete a bicep curl, using the full range of the exercise for 7 reps. Do all 21 reps to complete one set.
Ready to turn arm flab into tight and toned? Let’s do this!
How to Use the Best Bicep Exercises in a Complete Bicep Workout
When you work this workout with the training strategy I describe below, you’ll cinch all of your arm muscles in tight like a corset. This way you can get fit, toned, tight, feminine arms, and avoid getting big, bulky biceps.
- Warmup with some cardio for 5 minutes and do a few arm stretches to warm up.
- Pick your weight. We’ll be doing each exercise for 15 reps. Choose a weight where the last 5 reps are difficult (i.e. you ‘feel the burn’) but you’re still able to use proper form. I’m using 8 pound weights FYI. (I share more tips about choosing the right weight for bicep exercises below)
- Once you’ve chosen your weights, repeat each exercise 15 times.
- Move slowly and avoid swinging the weights. Your muscles need to move the weight – not momentum. Weight training should be slow, cardio is fast.
- Once you’re done with one exercise, move on to the next and repeat it 15 times, too.
- Do one full round of all bicep to complete 1 set.
- Do 4 full sets to complete the bicep workout.
- After you’re done, wait at least 48 hours before training your biceps again. You can do this workout again, or any other of my arm workouts for women.
- For the best results use my weight loss and wellness programs for women. If you’re serious about burning fat, my programs are a must.
Try this Quick and Easy Bicep Workout
Pin this bicep workout routine to Pinterest so you’ll have it forever
FUN FACTS ABOUT THIS BICEP WORKOUT:
- This bicep workout is short and sweet, but get results asap when you use the right exercises. HINT: I created this bicep workout to take care of that for you! If you’re looking for a quick and easy workout that will tighten and tone your arms, you’re going to love it!
- When these exercises are combined together into a workout routine, they target every single muscle fiber in the bicep muscle group different ways which means better results for you!
- Plus, the exercises use lighter weight, so you can move quickly from exercise to exercise and keep your heart rate up. This way you can burn more calories and boost your metabolism, too.
- All of my workouts are made to release ‘happy hormones’ and endorphins so you’ll feel awesome after you’re done working out.
NOTE: If you don’t feel awesome when you’re done… (you’re tired, light headed, feel funky, etc.)
That’s a huge sign something may be affecting your metabolism or that your nutrition/calories aren’t balanced properly in a way that’s right for your body and goal!
This free workshop explains what’s going on and how to fix it.
OTHER BICEP EXERCISES TO TRY
IN AND OUT BICEP CURLS
Stand holding dumbbells with your elbows close to your sides. Your wrists should be facing away from you. This is your start position. Next, curl the weights up toward the front of your shoulders. Lower the weights back down to the start position. Immediately curl the weights up to the side towards the outside of your shoulders. Lower the weights back down to the original start position to complete one rep.
CORNER BICEP CURLS
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing away from you. Rest the tops of your hand on the outer side of your legs. This is your start position. Bend your arms, at the elbows, curling the weights in diagonally toward your shoulders. Pause and then slowly return to the start position to complete one rep.
ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS AND BICEP TRAINING TIPS
HOW TO CHOOSE WEIGHT FOR BICEP EXERCISES
- Don’t be afraid to use heavier dumbbells. The heavier the weight becomes, the more muscle fibers you’ll engage to move the weight.
- I recommend starting with 5 pounds and working your way up to 8 to 15+ pound weights. – This is a good place to start if you’re a beginner, starting a new workout after taking some time off, or rehabbing an injury. Adjust as needed to suit your skill level.
- If your workout isn’t hard, you’re not going to see results! It should feel like work. They don’t call it a workout for nothing! Feeling the burn means you’re getting results!
- If it feels easy and you don’t feel burn, add a few pounds. For example, if starting with 5 pound dumbbells feels easy bump up to 7.5 or 8 pound dumbbells instead. If 5 pounds feels too hard, bump down to 3 pounds, instead.
- NOTE: If you challenge your muscles consistently, they respond with tight, toned definition and some strength – not building lots of muscle mass and strength, bodybuilder style. Lifting to build muscle doesn’t activate cardio, like my recommended training strategy for women that want for smaller, toned arms.
RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXERCISES + RIGHT WEIGHT + RIGHT FORM + RIGHT SPEED = NOTICEABLE RESULTS
WHAT IF I WANT TO BUILD BIG BICEPS?
- Big muscles need bigger weights BUT because lifting more weight is hard, we have to adjust the weight, reps and rest intervals.
- Step 1: Drop the rep count down to 6 or 8 reps instead.
- Choose the heaviest weight you can do 8 reps with while using proper form.
- It’ll be hard! Don’t hold your breath!
- When lifting heavier weights take 60 seconds to rest between sets, instead of quickly moving onto the next exercise.
TIPS TO USE PROPER FORM DURING BICEP EXERCISES
Using these tips, helps getting the most benefits from bicep exercises.
- First, choose the right amount of weight, so that you can perform the exercise and maintain form. If you’re having a tough time using proper form, reduce the weight a few pounds until you get stronger. You will!
- TIP: Keep your elbows locked to your sides while curling. If your elbows drift out and/or back, this shortens the range of motion and add other muscles in moving the weight like the deltoids and trapezius. This isn’t ideal, because you’re no longer exclusively targeting the biceps.
- Your goal is to limit the involvement of other muscle groups to a minimum. Remember to do full extension and contraction—no matter what exercise you choose.
- Don’t swing or drop the weight up and down. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of controlling the movement with your muscles. The weight you lift determines if you can use proper form or not.
BICEP EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID
I see so many women at my gym making these mistakes. Avoiding them helps get results.
- First, most people do not fully extend the muscle while performing bicep curls. These are ‘cheater’ curls and are getting at best, partial results. Lower the weights down fully to avoid stopping short. Doing this forces the muscles to activate more to lift the weight up against the force of gravity! This is what we want!
- Another big bicep ‘cheater’ move is swinging weights. Swinging weights means momentum is moving the weight, not your muscles. Training this way is a waste of time, because you’re not getting results and greatly increasing risk of injury. Always remember, weight training should be slow, cardio should be fast.
- The goal is to move the weight at a comfortable pace so you can engage muscles and activate benefits from cardio, too. Following my movements will help you accomplish this.
- Next, slowly lift the weight back up as far as you can and squeeze hard to fully contract the bicep and get the most benefits from each rep. The goal is to avoid lifting the weight into your shoulders, while lifting at a nice pace while squeezing to contract the muscle at the top of the movement. But don’t squeeze too hard, like you’re about to pop a vein either!
- Finally, don’t hold your breath! Inhale when lowering the weight and exhale while lifting the weights back up. This helps oxygenate your body.
Woohoo! That’s officially everything you need to know about bicep workouts!
Please leave me a comment and let me know if post helped you! I LOVE hearing what you think! Side curls are my favorite bicep exercise ever! What bicep exercise is your favorite?
Your Coach and Biggest Cheerleader
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P.P.S. Don’t forget to pin this workout to Pinterest.
If you liked this workout, you’ll love these popular arm workouts, too:
- The Best Bicep Workout
- The Best Tricep Exercises for Women
- Exercises that get Rid of Bra Strap Back Fat
- All-time fave Arm Workout for Women
- Lazy Girl Arm Workout
Christina Carlyle is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Sports Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, & Behavior Modification Specialist. After overcoming her own health issues, getting off 7 medications, & losing 40 pounds (& keeping it off for 10+ years) she’s dedicated to helping others get Happy, Healthy, & Fit for life, with science-backed strategies. Christina shares real deal (no BS) weight loss and wellness advice, workouts, and recipes that get results and work in the real world.