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So you have just started training and are hoping to create your own pair of arm cannons. Great aspiration, let’s talk you through everything you need to know to get those huge biceps you want.

Bits of the Bicep

There are three sections of the bicep that you should be aware of. Those are the long head, the short head and the brachialis. We aren’t going to go too much in the anatomy of these things, but let’s give a brief description of what training each of these things will do for your biceps.

bicep anatomy

Long Head  This part of the bicep that is on the outside of your arm. This is the muscle that gives you the peak to your bicep.

Short Head  The inside of the bicep. When you do the traditional bicep flex, this is the part that is most visible.

Brachialis – This small muscle is located underneath the long and short head. This needs to be trained to “push up” the rest of the muscle. Small but important.

How To Train

First things first. If you are hoping to get big arms, that is great. However, if you think that you will get big arms just by going in to the gym and only training your arms, you are in for a shock. For you to have a decent physique, you need to train your whole body. Yes, that means your legs too. This will do two things. The first is that you will have a great overall physique. Training just your arms or your “mirror muscles” will look truly terrible. The second being that your arms will actually grow bigger when your focus is the body as a whole. Yes, squatting, deadlifting, and overhead pressing will help your arms grow. Your body will have more testosterone, and other hormones that will help you grow all over.

What this means is that you need to be doing things that stimulate the whole body first. In a bodybuilding split, often times biceps are trained on the same day right after back. If this is what you are doing, then by doing moves that are designed for the back you will often get a crossover on your biceps. It is important to hit your arms with both big compound moves and isolation work.

Exercises for Each part

Long Head

For the long head of the bicep there are several moves that directly target this area. Some of the most effective moves for targeting this area are:

  • Narrow Grip barbell curl
  • Incline DB curl
  • Barbell curl, to the nose.
Short Head

A few exercises to target this area of the bicep include:

  • Wide grip barbell curl
  • Preacher Curls
  • Cable curls (standing up)

For the brachialis try a few of these:

  • Hammer curls (dumbbell or ropes)
  • Reverse barbell curls
  • Reverse preacher curls
Compound Moves

Moves that work the whole bicep, and that can be very beneficial for your overall physique are good to use. With compound movements, your biceps will be handling more weight, becoming stronger. A stronger muscle is generally a bigger muscle.
Moves that are very effective include:

  • Chin ups
  • Close grip neutral chin ups
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Rope Climbs

 Putting the Training Together

How do you actually begin to train your biceps? As mentioned above, these will be part of an overall training regime you are doing for your whole body. These are the laws to follow

  • Train Brachialis first.
  • Do compound moves before isolation
  • Vary the rep ranges. 
  • Train with huge intensity

example training:

  • Hammer curls (Brachialis) – 4 x 8
  • Barbell Curl to nose (Long Head) – 4 x 8
  • Preacher Curls (Short Head) – 3 x 12
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl (Long Head) – 3 x 12

Make sure that every few weeks you are changing up your exercise selection. You should still follow the same principles, but for maximal growth, tweaking the exercises can be very beneficial.

For instance, in the above routine you are doing two long head and one short head move. This could be replaced with 2 short head moves for a few weeks. This will stop your arms from getting lazy, and force them to grow.

Sets and Reps

When it comes to any body part that you are training, your sets and reps need to be varied. If you are going to do 3 sets of 10 for every exercise all the time, you will grow. However, if you are making your muscle work through a range of different rep ranges, this will cause different reactions from your muscle. The result? More growth.


There are several ways that, toward the end of your bicep session you can trigger more growth. Take note however, that if you are a beginner, these techniques are not yet necessary to trigger growth. However, knowing about them will help you in the long run to keep growing.

  • Drop sets. No rest, each time you make the weight lighter, and you do more reps. Repeat until you start crying.
  • Cheat Reps. This doesn’t give you license to throw the weight around. This is a way of pushing out a few last reps after your biceps have failed. But “cheating” the rep up at the end of a set, a few negative reps or partial reps can be done to further stimulate the muscle.
  • Iso-Holds. This is essentially holding the weight in a specific position for a selected period of time. This can give you a huge pump, and will stimulate the muscle in a unique way.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas as to how to train your biceps. Remember, consistency, hard work and being smart, this will bring you those giant biceps you dream about.