15 Long Head Bicep Exercises For Bigger And Massive Arms

A man in the gym performing bicep exercises with dumbbells.

Everyone wants to have impressive and bigger arms, especially men. Here are some of the best long head bicep exercises to develop arm strength.

Everyone wants to have impressive and bigger arms, especially men. A muscular, strong upper body is also the goal of many fitness freaks and bodybuilders. Well, bigger and more muscular arms are great as long as they are not acquired via steroids and other unnatural and unhealthy means. 

This article will discuss some of the best long head bicep exercises to develop arm strength. These arm exercises will isolate, work, and strengthen the long head of your biceps. So, let’s dive into the basics of the long head workout to get bigger and more powerful biceps.

What is a long head bicep? 

The biceps brachii, simply known as the biceps, is composed of two phrases—”bi,” which translates to two, and “cep,” which translates to head. So, the bicep is a two-headed arm muscle located at the front of the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow.

This large, thick muscle is composed of a long head and a short head. The long head originates from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula and is located on the lateral side of the biceps brachii. The short head originates from the apex of the coracoid process [1]PubMed: Coracoid Process: The Lighthouse of the Shoulder of the scapula and is located on the medial side of the biceps brachii.

The primary function of the long head is to support elbow flexion and forearm supination by stabilizing the humeral head in the glenoid. It also gives the biceps height, or “peak”. On the other hand, the short head pulls the arm back towards the trunk and contributes to the thickness of the bicep muscles on the inner arm.

15 best long head bicep exercises 

The long head of the bicep muscle is a crucial muscle head that not only improves the arm’s strength but also leads to an improved physique. If you have small or flat biceps and wonder how to work the long head of the bicep, here are some great bicep peak exercises for you. 

1. Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii [2]National Library of Medicine: Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Biceps Muscle, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles

How to do

  • Stand with your legs straight (but not stiff or locked) and knees aligned.
  • Take dumbbells in both your hands with your arms extended at your sides and your palms facing in.
  • With a neutral grip, curl the dumbbells up while keeping the elbows locked in place.
  • When you reach peak contraction, lower the dumbbells to reach the starting position. 
  • Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each.

Summary: Hammer curls are a great way to work the long head bicep muscle. In dumbbell hammer curls, you can either work on one arm or both arms simultaneously. 

2. Incline Dumbbell Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii

How to do

  • To perform an incline dumbbell curl, lean back on an inclined seat with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out. 
  • Lift the dumbbells upwards. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to the ground at this time. 
  • Pause for a second and then slowly lower them to the starting position. 

Summary: Incline dumbbell curls are an incline variation of dumbbell curls done on an inclined seat. It works on the entire biceps brachii muscle. 

3.  Decline Hammer Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii

How to do

  • Lie face down on an incline bench set to a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be on the floor and your head above the bench.
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in both hands with palms facing each other and arms are facing forward.
  • Curl the dumbbells and bring them toward your shoulders while maintaining constant tension on the biceps. 
  • At the top, squeeze your biceps and pause for a second.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Summary: The decline hammer curl is a wonderful exercise for the upper arms as it pumps up the bicep and puts all the tension of the weight in it. 

4. Close-grip barbell curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii

How to do

  • Stand straight and hold a simple barbell with a close grip. 
  • Keep your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Curl the barbell up while keeping the elbows locked in place.
  • At the peak contraction, bring the barbell down to the starting position.

Summary: Although bicep curls are one of the best long-head bicep exercises, the close-grip version will emphasize more on the bicep peak. Close-grip barbell curls also help build grip strength and overall forearm health.

5. Close grip preacher curls

Target muscles: Biceps bracii, brachialis, brachioradialis

How to do

  1. Sit down on a preacher bench and choose a barbell of your desired weight.
  2. Rest your elbows on the pad and keep them there throughout the exercise.
  3. Grip the barbell such that your hands are close together on the barbell.
  4. Your arms must be fully extended at the start of the move.
  5. While keeping your upper arms stationary, curl your arms up towards your shoulders as far up as you can take them.
  6. Squeeze at the top of the curl and then lower the weight back to the starting position.

Summary: The close grip preacher curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. It is especially effective at isolating long head muscles of the biceps due to the closer grip. Plus, by ensuring that your elbow stays stationary, you can really focus on getting a good bicep contraction.

6. Cable curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii

How to do

  • Adjust the cable machine such that the cable is attached at the bottom.
  • Grasp the handle in your hands with your palms facing up. 
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground, and your knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your back straight and brace your abs.
  • Curl the cable weight upward and bring the handle toward your chest. Exhale while doing so.
  • Hold at the top for a moment and then lower the arms to the original position on an inhale.

Summary: Cable curls strengthen the bicep heads just like other biceps exercises. They provide constant tension and make the exercise easy for beginners. Like dumbbell exercises, they can be added to your workout routine for stronger and bulkier upper arms.

7. Cable Reverse Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis

How to do

  • Stand tall and face the cable about 1-2 feet away from the low pulley. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the handle of the machine with your palms facing down. Make sure that your elbows are close to your torso.
  • While holding the upper arms stationary, perform the reverse curl while breathing out.
  • Squeeze the muscle at the top and then slowly bring the handle back to the starting position. Inhale while doing so.

Summary: You can do reverse curls with a cable machine if you practice in the gym.  It is one of the most underrated yet simplest long head bicep exercises for tougher arms. 

8. Barbell Drag Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis

How to do

  • Grab a barbell with a double underhand grip. Keep your feet together and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Engage your core and keep your spine straight. 
  • Curl the barbell upwards and bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly while doing so. 
  • While you curl the barbell up, make sure that the barbell is as close to the body as possible. The movement should resemble a dragging motion.
  • Squeeze your biceps for a moment at the top of the move and then slowly return to the starting position.

Summary: Drag curls are an extremely effective exercise to build the size, strength, and appearance of your biceps muscles. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable with a barbell you can perform drag curls with dumbbells as well. Just pick a weight that you are comfortable with, and follow the same steps.

9. Resistance Band Reverse Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis, wrist, forearms

How to do

  • Grab the handles of the resistance band with your palms facing down. 
  • Step on the middle of the band with your arms at your sides and feet about hip-width apart.
  • Keeping your elbows locked at a point, pull the resistance band towards your chest. 
  • Keep your palms facing down throughout the movement.
  • Pause at the top for a few seconds, and then slowly lower your arms back to the original position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Summary: Reverse curls for the biceps using a resistance band are one of the simplest yet most effective long-head exercises. It is a great twist on the traditional bicep curl that places more emphasis on the forearm muscles. 

10. Neutral grip pull-ups

Target muscles: latissimus dorsi or lats, the biceps, pectorals, triceps, obliques

How to do

  • Grab a pull-up bar with a neutral grip and hang on it freely with your arms extended. Your palms should face in.
  • Keep your head up and your core tight. Now pull yourself as high as you can by flexing your elbows. Exhale while doing so.
  • Squeeze when you reach the top and then slowly lower yourself down to the starting position. 

Summary: If you are looking for great compound exercises, neutral grip pull-ups are something to resort to. Like other pull-up variations, it builds strength and muscle in the biceps, core, and upper back. 

11. Bayesian Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis

How to do

  • Set up the cable pulley in its lowest position.
  • Grab the handle with an underhand grip and then stand away from the machine such that it faces your back.
  • With arms extended behind you, curl your arms upward toward your upper body while keeping your elbow fixed in place.
  • Slowly return to the starting position. 

Summary: Bayesian curls work your biceps in a way better than regular bicep curls. They keep the biceps under near-constant tension, which allows the muscle to build faster than in other curl exercises. 

12. Cross-Body Dumbbell Curls

Target muscles: Biceps, brachialis, forearms

How to do

  • Grab a set of dumbbells. Maintain an upright posture with your palms facing your body.
  • Curl one dumbbell up across your body and reach the opposite shoulder. 
  • At the top, squeeze the biceps. Pause.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  • Perform with the other dumbbell.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

Summary: The cross-body curls target the long head of the biceps as well as the brachialis muscles that are located underneath the biceps. You can perform this exercise with a neutral or hammer grip with a single arm. 

13. Zottman Curls

Target muscles: Biceps, forearms

How to do

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing up.
  • Now curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders. While curling, turn your hands, and your palms should face the ceiling.
  • Then slowly rotate your hands, so your palms now face outwards. Make sure to keep your elbow in place.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position. When the dumbbells reach down, turn your hands, so your palms face one another. 
  • Repeat the curl by turning your arms such that your arms are facing up again.

Summary: The Zottman curl is one of the great long-head bicep exercises for building exceptional arm size and grip strength. The best part-it targets all three major muscles: biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

14. Barbell Reverse Curls

Target muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis

How to do

  • Grip the barbell with your hands about shoulder-width apart and your palms facing down. 
  • Keep the elbows tucked close to your sides and make sure to lock them in place.
  • Curl the barbell up and squeeze.
  • Lower the barbell back down without fully extending your arms without stopping at the top. 
  • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps each.

Summary: Reverse curls can be performed with a barbell or EZ bar. This exercise activates muscle groups in your upper arms, including the biceps brachii and brachialis. Just like a barbell or a cable machine, reverse curls can be performed using a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells.

15. Concentration curls

 Target muscles: Biceps bracii, brachialis, brachioradialis, triceps

How to do

  • Sit down on a bench or chair with a weight in one hand.
  • Rest your elbow on the inner side of your thigh and keep it there throughout the exercise.
  • Curl the weight up towards your shoulder, making sure to keep your elbow still.
  • Squeeze the bicep at the top of the curl and then lower the weight back to the starting position.

Summary: Concentration curls are a great exercise for isolating and targeting the bicep muscles. Ensure that your elbow remains stationary throughout the move. This will make sure you get a good bicep contraction. 

One-week sample plan of long head bicep exercises 

Take a look at the one week sample plan below to get an idea of how you can incorporate these long head bicep exercises into your workout routine.

Days Long Head Bicep Exercise
Monday Zottman Curls: 8-10 reps
Neutral grip pull-ups: 8-10 reps
Bayesian Curls: 8-10 reps
Tuesday Incline Dumbbell Curls: 8-10 reps
Cable Curls: 8-10 reps
Close grip preacher curls: 8-10 reps
Concentration Curls: 8-10 reps
WednesdayRest
ThursdayBarbell Reverse Curls: 8-10 reps
Barbell Drag Curls: 8-10 reps
Bench Press: 8-10 reps
Friday Resistance Band Reverse Curls: 8-10 reps
Close-grip barbell curls: 8-10 reps
Decline Hammer Curls: 8-10 reps
Dumbbell hammer curls: 8- 10 reps
Saturday Cable Reverse Curls: 10-12 reps
Cross-Body Dumbbell Curls: 8-10 reps
SundayRest 

Benefits of long head bicep exercises

Long head bicep exercises give fullness to your upper arms and make them look bulkier. Training the long head is crucial if you want to increase the “peak” of the biceps. Working on the long head of the biceps will help strengthen them, increase muscle size, enhance muscular endurance, and improve the overall function of the upper arms.

Common mistakes when doing long head bicep exercises

If you are a beginner, you need to avoid these mistakes while performing long head bicep exercises. Keep an eye out for these mistakes to get the desired bicep peaks.

1. Lifting Too Much Weight

As a beginner, you should always start with lighter weights. Sometimes, loading on heavy weights can be counterproductive and won’t give the desired results. This is because too much weight will limit the range of motion since you are a beginner and, hence, will be less effective.

2. Lack of Variation

To make the most of your workout routine, it is crucial to stick to different long head bicep exercises throughout the week. Just performing the same exercises over and over won’t target all the targeted muscle groups and will also be boring.

3. No Focus on Tension

Putting a strain on the bicep muscle while exercising is crucial to building muscle mass. So while executing long head bicep exercises, focus on the tension the muscle is receiving. 

4. Cheating the move

Many people add in a swinging motion during curls to get to the top where the weight is about halfway up. However, cheating the move will not reap the benefits, and you will have to spend more time training.  So, perform long head bicep exercises as directed by your trainer.

Safety measures to do the long head bicep exercises the right way

If you are performing exercises for the long head of the biceps for the first time, you surely want to perform them safely and effectively. Follow these safety measures to do the exercises the right way. 

  1. Do not train your bicep muscles daily. Giving them enough rest will allow bicep muscles to recover without compromising your arm strength.
  2. Consider rest periods between multiple long head bicep exercises. Depending on your fitness level and the intensity of the exercise, take a short (30-60 seconds) or long (2–5 minutes) period of rest between each set of the exercise. 
  3. Work out in the proper form. While doing long head bicep exercises, make sure your elbows and shoulders are fixed. 
  4. Maintain the speed and make sure not to perform an exercise too fast. A steady speed will allow you to maintain the form and execute the movement properly. 
  5. Keep the elbows close to the side of your body and make the movement only with the lower arm.
  6. Avoid using your torso in long head bicep exercises like dumbbell curls to prevent twisting movements. 
  7. If you are a beginner, start with lighter weights or reduce the number of  repetitions. With time as you progress, you can practice with heavy weights. 

Conclusion

To build biceps peaks and give your upper arms a more bulky look, add these long head bicep exercises to your workout routine. Building strength in the long head biceps will also help ease shoulder pain and prevent serious upper arm injuries. If you are a beginner, we recommend performing these long head bicep exercises for massive arms with the help of a certified fitness trainer.

References

References
1 PubMed: Coracoid Process: The Lighthouse of the Shoulder
2 National Library of Medicine: Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Biceps Muscle

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