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This article will analyze 3 types of exercises for biceps, to best stimulate the previous portion of the arm, also mention its anatomy, origin and insertions.

Thanks to Valerius et., in (2013), we understand that the brachyal biceps muscle is the most important flexor present in the elbow. Because its insertion is found in the cubic, it does not produce any effect on the radiocubital joints.

This muscle is found as the origin of two distal thirds of the ventral surface of the humerus, in the intermuscular partition between the brachyal muscle and the brachial triceps.

In addition, it is inserted into the cubital tuberosity and in the chorionoid apophysis of the nucleus.

It stands out for an inervation in the muscutaneous nerve, C5-C7 and radial nerve, C5-C6. In addition to having a particularity of being inert by the radial nerve despite being a flexor.

How to train bicep exercises?

Within the exercises for biceps, we must emphasize that the word "Bíceps" comes from Latin "Bíceps brachii", hence its name for having two heads at its origin, and with its prefix "bi", which means "doble" and "ceps", refers to "heads" or "portions" (7).

In addition, the brachial biceps in the male culture was always venerated, also among the warriors, and there is a lot of observation in the evaluations of bodybuilding (11).

Many users go to the Musculation Room or gym, for the purposes of Health, aesthetic, sports, rehabilitation or gains of muscle mass, in this way, it is observed that the strengthening of brachyal biceps is highly requested, either using machines, pulleys, mancuers or bars, performing bipedestation or headquarters exercises, unilaterally or bilaterally (9).

Baron Sandoval, A. (2020), mentions that when performing exercises for biceps, not only the previous musculature of the arm is requested, but also the muscles of the forearm are involved, but this article will only refer to the brachial, coracobrachial, previous brachial and long suppator.

Musculature and functions of the biceps

Our brachial biceps is located next to the coracobraquial, being topographically elbow, despite being functionally very important in the escapulohumeral joint according to Richardson, (2011).

We can highlight that it is divided into 2 parts called heads:

♪ Short head: originates in the coracoid apophysis, descends vertically and continues in the same place with muscle fibers.

♪ Long head: originates in the supraglenoid tuber of the scapula, entering the intertroquiterian channel and then continues with fusiform fibers; highlighting that such portion is the most extensive.

Both portions are joined in the first lower third of the diaphasis forming a tendon, which continues and ends up expanding by the superficial aponeurosis of the forearm. The other tendinosa part, comes to an end in the bicipital apophysis of the radio.

As for the functions, it should be noted that our brachial biceps is present in multiple daily actions of the day to day. Even so, we can differentiate the actions according to the area where they are to be executed, depending whether it is about the escapular waist, on the elbow or on both.

♪ With the fixed forearm, it produces a bending of elbow.

♪ With the free forearm, supposition occurs.

♪ With the fixed elbow, it acts on the spindle waist, differentiating functions between the short head, being this bender, internal rotator and co-aptator; in front of the long head that anatomically is luxant and in abduction position is co-aptant, in addition to producing external rotation.

What muscles are activated in bicep exercises?

Within the exercises for biceps, the previous portion of the arm is the one that most takes the job, is composed of three muscle groups, the brachyal biceps (short and long head), the coracobrachial and the previous brachial, since these will be the ones that will mostly work on the bicep exercises.

The brachial biceps has two heads, the long head (its origin is in the supraglenoid tuber of the scapula) and the short head (its origin is in the vertex of the coracoid apophysis), also it is superior to the brachial muscle (11).

It is inserted into the tuberosity of the radius, and as main functions; it is a powerful bending the forearm over the joint and is a suppator of the forearm, also it is an accessory bend of the arm in the glenohumeral joint (3 and 11).

Therefore, it is known to this muscle as a polyarticular, because it crosses several joints, such as elbow and shoulder (6 and 8).

On the other hand, the coracobrachial, with its origin in the vertex of the coracoid apophysis, presents the flexor function of the arm in the glenohumeral joint (3 and 11).

The previous brachial muscle, has its origin in the distal half of the anterior face of the humerus, and is placed below the brachial biceps. In addition, it is inserted into the tuberosity of the cubic (3 and 8). This muscle, flex the forearm in the elbow joint. That is why it is known as a mono-articular muscle (6).

Another important muscle, which fulfills the function of flexing the forearm on the elbow and taking it to supposition and pronation, is the long suppator, this has its origin on the inner and outer edge, of the distal end of the humerus (14).

In this way, in image No1 the main muscles mentioned in the bicep exercises are observed.

Image 1: Anatomy of the anterior muscle of the arm. Taken from Drake and collaborators (2005)Thus, other muscle groups, besides those mentioned, participate in the bending of the elbow ( brachial biceps, previous brachyal and long supinator) and elbow extension ( brachial and anconeous tricpes), knowing that it is a joint in hinge, but if the emphasis of work is towards the brachial triceps, the priority will be.

Having said this, we will begin to explain the 3 types of bicep exercises, in which it will be done incapied in bicep exercises with bar, mancuernas and pulleys.

3 types of bicep exercises

There is no doubt that the previous muscle of the arm is very important in order to increase the muscle mass, it is also involved in the exercises for traction biceps, at such time they will also have their stimulation, in this section will be discussed the selection of exercises for biceps, in which they will be presented with bar, mancuernas and pulleys.

Biceps curve with bipedestation bar

It is one of the first exercises for biceps, since it is important to take into account the arrangement of the elbow joint, where all the trainees will present different morphologies (6).

That said, this exercise is characterized by climbing the bar with the bending of elbows to the height of the chest and lowering it with the elbow extension (15).

Important technical points are:

♪ With a foot, with a straight back, the bar is taken with a socket, slightly wider shoulders.

♪ The wide feet of shoulders, with a look at the forehead (9).

♪ The inspiration is made at the time of the bending of elbows and the expiration at the time of the extension of the elbows.

♪ The musculature involved: the brachyal biceps, the previous brachyal, and to a lesser extent, the long suppator, round pronador and the benders of wrists and fingers (5).

♪ The movement must be slow and controlled, keeping the chest widened, avoiding shrinking shoulders.

In order to perform the exercise of biceps curl, it is essential that at the time of inspiration there is an isometric contraction of the glutes, abdominal and spinal (6), in this way a position is maintained as avoiding the pivot movement on the lower back (15).

It also avoids a hyperlordotic position at the end of the concentric phase, as this movement is usually given with loads that exceed the level of force that can generate the codo's artculation or that can support the training (9).

Image 2: Subject performing Biceps Curl with straight barSome variants within the bicep exercises

In these bicep exercises, the separation of the hands, the back support on the wall or a slight balance of trunk can be combined.

♪ With very separate hands, the stimulus takes it the short head of the biceps, and with the hands very together, the long head of the biceps.

♪ If the elbow is raised in the final phase of the bending, the previous deltoids and the biceps take more stimulus.

♪ Another way is to be able to perform it strictly by supporting the back against the wall.

♪ Another variant, is the use of bars, a roman bar "W", in the case of people who present a piece of elbow, to avoid generating ailments on the wrists (5).

Image 3: Subject performing Biceps Curl. A) with Romana bar. B) with bar «W»6 variants of Bicep Curl with cuffs

The biceps curl with tablecloths is widely practiced in the gym room, which shows that they are relied in both bipedestation and headquarters, or bilaterally or unilaterally.

Having said this, we will find different exercises for biceps with mancuerna, such as: Curl alternated with wrist rotation, concentrated bicep curl, seated bicep curl (inclined bench) and hammer-like bicep curl.

In addition, Serbest, K (2022), in his study on the biceps quarrel with mancuernas, states that by increasing only the load in this exercise of strength would not have a correlative impact between strength gains and muscle growth, but the angular variables of the elbow should be taken into account.

Biceps Curl with Doll Rotation

Within the biceps exercises, this Curl is mainly characterized by allowing the biceps to perform its full function, since from a biomechanical point of view, its function is flexor and an antepulsor of the arm and above all, a powerful supinator (5).

For this purpose, compared to the bar biceps curl, when it is performed with cuffs, it allows to work in a more free range and detect where the weakest point is (15).

Technical aspects to be taken into account:

♪ Placed in a position of sitting on a bench, with the mancuers on the sides, taken in semi-pronation, and with the feet supported on the ground (5 and 15).

♪ The elbows should be inspired and flexed, together with an external rotation of the wrist, before the forearms reach the horizontal.

♪ At the end of the bend, slightly raise the elbows, and breathe at the end of the movement.

♪ The musculature involved in these exercises for biceps, long supinator, previous brachial, brachial biceps, previous deltoids, and to a lesser extent: coracobrachial and the clavicular beam of the major pectoral (4).

Concentrated biceps cure

Basically, these bicep exercises are characterized by lifting the mancuerna to the shoulder, flexing the elbow, and extending it to continue with the movement (15).

Without doubt, it will have a great stimulus on the previous biceps and brachial, also allows control of the movement, great amplitude, speed and uprightness, and by its name predominates on the concentration and intensity of the exercise (5 and 15).

Technical aspects to be taken into account:

♪ The trainee should be sitting, with a single mancuerna, taken in supposition, with the elbow supported on the inner face of the thigh.

♪ The bending of the elbow must be inspired and effected, and in the final phase of the spirar movement (5).

♪ The column must be aligned, controlling the movement, avoiding the impulses (15).

Image 4: Subject performing Curl of concentrated bicepsCurl of biceps sitting in bench tilted

These bicep exercises are a great variant of the Biceps Curl with mancuernas, and it is recommended that the bench and backrest inclination, respect the structures of the training, as this will prevent wear or disadvantages on the shoulder joint (10).

That said, the trainee takes a position of sitting, with his back supported in the back of the bank, and the armchairs on the sides of the body with a semi-prontion shot.

Then perform an inspiration and bending of elbows, with a slight rotation of wrists, in order to dispose of the mancuerna at the height of the horizontal, finishes the movement with an exalation and extension of elbows.

Mainly, this exercise emphasizes the long head of the brachial biceps, especially the external part, and to a lesser extent the brachiorradial and the previous brachyal (6).

For this purpose, Oliveira and collaborators (2014), mention that this exercise has 95% neuromuscular stimulus as well as the biceps curl with mancuerna.

Image 5: Subject by performing Biceps Curl in tilted benchByceps' Curl in bank Scott

These exercises for biceps, it is very good in the face of the strict way it has to be done, it must be placed sitting on a bench, with the codes supported and extended, in which in the first part of the range of route the brachial biceps will take great stimulus.

As Oliveira and collaborators argue (2014), in their research with mancuernas, they found that 80% of neuromuscular stimulation is at the beginning of the journey.

One of the variants of these bicep exercises, which allows this exercise is the possibility of doing it in a bench with pulley, with cuffs or with bar (6).

Curl preacher with mancuers

Another very interesting exercise for biceps is the curl preacher with mancuernas, which is characterized by being a unilateral exercise, which allows to stimulate much of the brachial biceps and the previous brachial.

It is made with mancuers, with the joint of the shoulder to 45o, and it should start with the extended elbow.

Since Sato, S and collaborators (2021), in his study on different variations of articular angles for this exercise, they obtain as favorable results that in 5 weeks of training, there is great muscle thickness and gains of strength, on brachial biceps and the previous brachial.

Image 6: Subject performing Curl PreacherCurl of biceps type "martillo"

This is one of the best exercises for biceps, especially to develop the long suppenter, on the other hand also exercises the previous brachial biceps, and to a lesser extent, the first and second radials.

To perform the technique of these bicep exercises, you must be on foot, with the mancuernas taken to the sides of the body, in semi-pronation, to make an inspiration and a bending of elbows (can be simultaneous or alternate), and to breathe in the final phase of motion (5).

Image 7: Subject by performing Biceps Curl Hammer alternately and simultaneously2 variants of Polyps Curl in pulley

Another major variant on bicep exercises is the use of pulleys, whether pee, sitting, or kneeling, bilaterally or unilaterally. For this, the exercises for biceps will be mentioned as: alternating bending of elbows in pee pulley and its variants and biceps with the arms on cross in high pulley.

alternating pulley elbow bends

These bicep exercises, with the pié trainer, in the face of the pulley, and with the handle taken in supposition, must make a bending of elbows and breathe at the end of the movement, also will allow to locate the effort on the biceps (6) Another variant is to work two hands on the lower pulley.

Biceps with arms on the cross in high pulley

For this exercise for biceps, it is essential to stand in the middle of the pulley, taking the handle of the pulley in supposition, inspiring at the beginning of the movement and exhalating at the time of extension of the elbow, doing the work on the long portion of the biceps and the previous brachial (6) One variant is to make it unilaterally.

Guidelines for training exercises for biceps

For the hypertrophy of the biceps, the time under tension is of great importance, as well as the intensity and angles of work, for this Baron Sandoval, A and collaborators (2020), in their experimental analysis, found that in the uprising of biceps, the greatest stimuli were found between the 60o and 80o, working on a cadence between 2 to 4 seconds, on the cycle of repetitions.

In addition, one of the fundamental premises for "creating the muscle" is the management of intensity, the variation of training and the overload principle (4).

On the other hand, in a study conducted by Sato, S and collaborators (2021), for 5 weeks, on the quarl preacher with mancuernas, they obtained great gains of strength and muscle thickness, working with 3 series of 10 repetitions, starting from 50% and increasing 10% of the load each week.

In other words, the importance of measurating the volume of training for muscle mass gains is of great importance, since Baz Valle, E and collaborators (2021), mention that to calculate the training volume, it should be trained up to or near the fault, in a range of repetitions from 6 to 20.

Among this, the load volume is now widely used, which is repetitions x series x kilograms. This said, Baz Valle, E and collaborators (2021), they argue that to quantify the volume of repetitions, it should be trained near the fault, or even the fault, but not always, since it can cause inconveniences at the neuromechanical and hormonal level, for this purpose they propose to quantify repetitions in reserve (RIR) from 3 or less.

One of the above-mentioned researches propose to work with different volumes of loads, with people trained in programs between 6 to 8 weeks, in which they mention that the investigations carried out on the bend-extensors of elbow worked to 3 series of 8 to 12 repetitions, 3 series of 25 to 35 repetitions or 3 series of 2 to 4 repetitions.

This means that the range of "star" repetitions to work the bicep exercises would be 12 to 16 repetitions to a RIR 0-3.

Conclusions on bicep exercises

To the first degree, the main musculature of the previous arm region will take all the stimulus of work in the bicep exercises, without forgetting that the brachyal biceps, the previous brachyal and the coracobrachial, will benefit from these bicep exercises, especially in the bending phase.

In other words, the Biceps Curl with bar in an exercise that is practiced a lot in the gym room, this can be done with straight bar, W bar or romanda bar, also can be beneficial for people who show doll pain, the use of W or Roman bar.

This being said, within the great variation of bicep exercises, we find the Curl with mancuernas and their different ways of performing it, simultaneously or alternately, as it will allow you to work with freer ranges and will focus the work on the weaker aspects or points in the range of course of that exercise.

In order to make the most of these exercises for biceps, the evidence suggests working at full-trip angles, where between 60o to 90o, according to Barón Sandoval, A and collaborators (2020) you will find the best stimulus, depending on the exercise and the provisions of the elbow angle.

In this way, if your goal is muscle hypertrophy, look for bicep exercises that stimulate the range of travel required for each exercise, measurate the volume, intensity and progressive overload, will lead you to get the most out of it.

Baz Valle, E and collaborators (2021), mention that in order to calculate the training volume, it should be trained until or near the fault, in a range of repetitions from 6 to 20.

Once the exercises for biceps were collected, it would be necessary to remember that such exercises alone are not able to achieve a goal in a clear and concise way, and it is necessary to do so to maintain and perform a good routine of full exercises based on a planning according to the characteristics and context of each person.

To do this we must take into account the volume, intensity, load, food and rest among other factors.

Bibliographical references for biceps exercises

1. Baron Sandoval, A. (2020).Analysis of the biceps curl in muscle hypertrophy. Bicep exercises. University of the Andes.

2. Baz-Valle, Eneko1; Fontes-Villalba, Maelán2; Santos-Concejero, Jordan1Total number of series as a method of quantifying the volume of training for muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2021 – Volume 35 – Number 3 – p doi: 10.1519/JSC. (Link)

3. Drake, R., Volg, W., and Mitchell, A. (2005). GRAY Anatomy for students. Editorial El Sevier. Madrid. Spain.

4. Fernando. (2018). Muscle Training Systems. Blog

5. Frederic, D. (2004). Guide to the movement of musculation. Anatomical description. 4th edition. Editorial Paidotribo.

6. Frederic, D. (2011). Guide to the movement of musculation. Anatomical description. 6th edition. Editorial Paidotribo.

7. Gutierrez Errazuriz, B. (2019). Training system for the growth of brachial biceps muscle in novice physicoculturists. Faculty of Physical Education, Sports and Recreation. University of Guayaquil.

8. Gusmão, Luiz Carlos Buarque de, Sousa-Rodrigues, Célio Fernando de, dos Santos, Eduardo José Lopes, & Pinto, Walton Nolasco Araujo. (2012). Comparative Morphometric study between the Bíceps Braquial and Braquial muscles with the objective of establishing the main Flexor Codo muscle. Bicep exercises. International Journal of Morphology,30(1), .

9. López Miñarro, P and collaborators. (2007). Sagital layout of lumbar and chest rakes in the exercise of biceps curl with bipedestation bar. School of Education. University of Murcia. University Campus of Espinardo, (Murcia), Spain.

10. Oliveira LF, Matta TT, Alves DS, Garcia MA, Vieira TM. Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii emg in different dumbbell curls. J Sports Sci Med. 2009 Mar 1;8(1):24-9. PMID: ; PMCID: PMC .

11. Salinas, P. (2017). Bíceps Braquial, origin and insertion, functions, pathologies. Lifeder Blog of anatomy and physiology.

12. Sato S, Yoshida R, Kiyono R, Yahata K, Yasaka K, Nunes JP, Nosaka K, Nakamura M. Elbow Joint Angles in Elbow Flexor Unilateral Resistance Exercise Training Determine Its Effects on Muscle Strength and Thickness of Trained and Non-trained Arms. Front Physiol. 2021 Sep 16;12:734509. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.734509. PMID: ; PMCID: PMC .

13. Serbest, K. (2021). A Biomechanical Analysis of Dumbbell Curl and Investigation of the Effects of Increasing Loads on Biceps Brachii Using A Finite Element Model. Sakarya Uygulamali Bilimler Universitesi.

14. Tortora, G., and Grabowski, S. (2003). Principles of anatomy and physiology. Bicep exercises. 9th edition. Editorial Mexicana. Registration number 723.

15. Vella, M. (2007). Anatomy and musculation for the development of strength and physical condition. Bicep exercises. Editorial Paidotribo.


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