Next to washboard abs, biceps are among the most popular muscles to tone and develop due to their high visibility. When someone tells you to flex, they expect to see a full on gun show.
"Your biceps are major, highly visible muscles," explains Brian Willett at Demand Media. "The training that you do for your biceps will have a significant impact on the appearance of your arms. . .working your biceps can help contribute to a tighter, more defined, and more toned look for your arms."
However, to get that tight, defined look you've always wanted, it takes more than a couple of dumbbells and some bicep curls. Just as it takes a wide range of motion to sculpt a six pack, it takes a variety of exercises to build bigger, better, stronger biceps.
Here's the ultimate bicep workout routine to get you started, no matter your expertise level.
Standing Barbell Curl
This is the most basic of all bicep exercises. When performed correctly, it works major muscle groups in the arm while promoting bigger biceps.
Begin with hands and feet about shoulder-width apart. Palms should be facing upward. Make sure the upper arms are vertical and tucked to your sides as you lift the barbell to your chest. A little space between your chest and your arms is fine, but make sure your upper arms aren't flared out to the side.
Pull the abs into the spine while keeping the back straight. Press your shoulders down away from your ears. Bend your elbows, and bring the weight slowly up to your chest. Do not let your shoulders rise toward your ears as you bring the weight upward.
As you bring the weight up to its high point, squeeze the barbell tightly for an extra pump, flexing the biceps for a solid two-count, before lowering the weight back to starting position. Aim for 8 to 12 repetitions (to muscle failure).
Wide-Grip Standing Barbell Curl
This variation follows the same basic motion as standing barbell curls, but with the hands placed further apart on the barbell. This isolates the short head of the biceps.
Close-Grip Standing Barbell Curl
Placing hands closer together focuses on the long head of the biceps.