Biology of the Biceps
The biceps, which are physiologically known as the biceps brachii, are a group of muscles located in the upper arm. Their general purpose, other than to look good in a short sleeve t-shirt, is to help in the flexing of the elbow and in the rotation of the forearm.
The term biceps brachii can be loosely translated to mean "two headed muscle", which in the case of the biceps, is an accurate description. The biceps consist of two bundles of fibers, both of which connect near the elbow, though they do originate at different points in the arm/shoulder region.
The general function and movement of the biceps makes training and exercising them relatively simple. In most cases, a biceps workout involves using exercises that require a curling and/or extension of the arm at the elbow. This usually means the use of good old-fashioned biceps curls.
Other than simple and traditional curls, there are many other ways to train and exercise the biceps. From free weights to machines, there are a variety of ways and methods to help train and develop the biceps. Four of the more popular exercises used during a biceps workout include preacher curls, incline curls, standing barbell curls, and hammer curls.
Preacher curls - This exercise is done using one arm at a time on a preacher machine/bench, with a set of dumbbells. This is the perfect exercise for developing full biceps, since it does isolate and train the "peak" of the muscle. With weight in hand and the elbow locked in place against the bench, curl the dumbbell up slowly toward the shoulder. Hold for a second or two, then slowly return to the starting position.
Incline curls - Using an incline bench, hold a pair of dumbbells with arms hanging down the sides and the palms facing in. Curl the weights up while at the same time rotating the wrists. Hold and return the weights to their original position. Form is very important in this particular exercise, so lighter dumbbells should be used here. The fact that it allows a full range of motion (hence the turning of the wrists) will still yield awesome results, even with the lower weights.
Standing barbell curls - This exercise can be performed using barbells or dumbbells. They key here though, is to do the curls from a stable, solid, standing position. With the weight in hand and the arms straight down, slowly curl the weight in the direction of the chest, keeping the elbows and back in a fixed position. Hold the position for a second or two to contract the muscles, then slowly lower the weight back down.
Hammer curls - Not just an exercise for the biceps, hammer curls are an effective (and dramatic) exercise for the development of the entire region in between the biceps and the triceps. Proper development of this area can actually push the biceps up, giving them a larger appearance and thickness. To do this exercise, hold a pair of dumbbells with palms facing in and arms at the sides of the body.
Curl the weight up (keeping the elbows fixed at all times) without rotating the wrists. Hold and slowly lower the weights to their original position. This exercise can be done one arm at a time, or both arms at the same time.