Most weightlifters want larger biceps. Of course, a well-rounded, full-body workout is essential in order to develop a well-proportioned, muscular body. When you work your biceps, you will also want to balance your arms by working your triceps. However, when most people think of strength and muscularity, the first image is a big bicep. While many other exercises target the bicep muscles as well, this one in particular targets the long head of the bicep and will help develop the height of the bicep, which causes the muscle to look larger and more pronounced overall.
Bicep Curls with an Inclined Bench, Face Down
Bicep Curls with an Inclined Bench
You can certainly do this exercise without a bench, as the video below demonstrates, but if you do have access to an inclined bench, it will give you the most benefit as you will be able to isolate the bicep muscles most effectively. The use of the bench ensures that you are not using any extra momentum to lift the weight, thus putting more pressure on the bicep muscles. It also takes the pressure off of your back and legs. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, rest your chest and stomach against the bench so that you are leaning forward. Then, pull your elbows back to your sides and then curl in one smooth motion. Try not to use your back muscles as you are pulling the elbows back. This will focus maximum stress on the long head of the bicep, which again contributes most to the height of the bicep muscle. The angle you are curling also helps to keep more stress on the muscle throughout the entire exercise, particularly as you are curling up, whereas standing curls allow the muscle to relax as you finish the curl. The video below illustrates the movement of the curl (whether using dumbbells or a barbell).
Another way to use the same inclined bench and work the long head of the bicep is to face the other way so that you are leaning backward. While this naturally positions your elbows down and stretches the distance between your bicep and shoulder (which is what focuses more stress on the long head of the bicep), it also allows your bicep to rest at the end of the curl (at the point when your fist is directly above your elbow). This takes pressure off of the muscle because you are no longer fighting gravity; leaning forward helps to keep tension on the muscles, even at the end of the curl, which will give you more benefit from the exercise (and thus faster gains). Even if you try to keep your elbows back while leaning back so that you are not relaxing the muscle at the top of the curl, it's easier to let the arm "hang" at the end, which again will take the tension off, and it also puts more stress on the elbow joint than doing curls while leaning forward.
Standing Bicep Curls
The first half of the video below (by ATHLEAN-X) is a great example of how to do this exercise without a bench to lean on. While you can use either dumbbells or a barbell, the barbell tends to work better while standing as it’s easier to “glide” the bar up your thighs, as he explains in the video: