We ALL want that incredible ‘peak’ in our biceps, right? It’s like, the whole goal of working biceps at all.
Well, to get that ‘peak’- you need to exercise your bicep long head. The long head is one of the muscles of your bicep that creates that awesome ‘peak’ we so desire.
Because of this, it is important to target the bicep long head when possible. I will be discussing the 10 Best Bicep Long Head Exercises, and at the end, including a small section on how to maximize your bicep long head activation to make sure you’re growing the muscle!
Jeff Parke- owner of TopFitnessMag said, “Your biceps have two heads. You will need to find a way to work both muscles in your bicep. The longer muscle is the one that forms the peak”.
So, all of these exercises will be targeting that longer muscle that forms the peak.
Let’s get into it!
Here are the 10 Best Bicep Long Head Exercises, and if you click the table of contents it will bring you to an explanation and a video on how to do it!
- One-Arm Barbell Curls
- Normal Curls
- Concentration Curls
- Behind the Back Cable Curl
- Chin Ups
- Narrow Grip Barbell/EZ Bar Curls
- Preacher Curls
- Drag Curls (3rd best exercise!)
- Incline Dumbbell Curls (2nd best exercise!)
- Hammer Curls (THE BEST EXERCISE)
One Arm Barbell Curls
One arm barbell curls are actually one of the best bicep long head exercises out there.
Josh from TrainerJosh.com said, “To build the peak on your biceps then eccentric exercises are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Muscle growth is best stimulated with eccentric movements and the One-Arm Eccentric Barbell Curl is the best of them all.
Your biceps muscle will have to work overtime to balance the barbell as you lower it. Your biceps are guaranteed to be sore the next day after doing this exercise.“
And he isn’t wrong, a one arm barbell curl is an incredibly tough feat to pull off, even for advanced bodybuilders. It targets the long head of the bicep incredibly well because the long head now has to offset the imbalance of holding the barbell with one hand instead of two. This seriously overloads the muscle.
How to Do The One Arm Barbell Curl
Josh said, “Find a preacher curl bench and hold a barbell with one arm. With the back of your arm firmly against the pad, slowly lower the barbell. Use a count of 5-8 seconds when lowering the barbell until your arm is in full extension.
Hold for a second at the bottom and then curl it back up at a smooth regular pace. If you aren’t able to curl it back up then have a spotter help you or use your other hand for assistance.”
Okay, well. Normal curls aren’t nessecarily the hands down best bicep long head exercise- but they are actually really good at working out the long head of the bicep!
The point of me including it on this list is to remind you that you still need to do your normal curls too- they do a great job of targeting the long head already. But, adding another item on this list that is more specialized at the long head will provide better results.
But, don’t think that normal curls are useless- they are super good at targeting the long head and other muscles in your arms.
I’ve seen this notion online that curls do not grow your long head- but this idea is completely false. Curls DO work your long head, and do grow your peak.
Just combine them with another item on this list, and you’ll see some good growth.
How to Perform Standard Curls
One of the best bicep long head exercises is actually concentration curls!
Robert Herbst, trainer and one of the coordinators for the World Olympics said, “A great exercise to build the biceps peak is concentration curls where you curl a dumbbell up between your legs while sitting on a bench with the working are held against your other arm which is resting across your legs.
The exercise isolates the biceps and prevents you from using your body weight to cheat the dumbbell up. At the top of each rep you should contract the biceps hard and hold it for a second. This will build the peak.”
Concentration curls are a staple in any serious arm program for bodybuilding. Yes, they are tough to do- but they are one of the best exercises for bicep growth in general.
How To Do Concentration Curls
Concentration curls are relatively simple to do, here’s a short video on how to perform the exercise:
Behind The Back Cable Curl
I wish that more people did Cable Curls in general. Most people do not know you can actually put the cable machine on the lowest setting, curl it- and get a better workout than most barbells or dumbbells will give you.
You see, cable curls provide a CONSTANT tension as you move the weight up and down- this is very different than barbells or dumbbells. This constant tension overloads your muscle massively and forces a ton of growth.
Alex, a trainer from CharacterStrength said, “Your bicep peak is best developed by training the long head of your biceps. To do this you want a position in which your arms are behind your body, placing a greater stretch on the long head.
The best exercise for this-and my personal favorite- is the cable behind body curl. Something in the region of 4-6 sets of 8-15 reps should do the trick”.
When you do the cable curl with your arm behind you, you are pulling and stretching the long head of your bicep at its weakest point and forcing it through the entire range of motion. This is going to cause so much peak growth it’s not even funny.
That is why Behind the Back Cable Curls are one of the best bicep long head exercises you can do.
How To Do The Behind the Back Cable Curl
Honestly, explaining the Behind the Back Cable Curl can be kind of complicated.
Here’s an excellent video by Jim Stoppani explaining exactly how to do it- plus he explains some more of the science on why it is one of the best bicep long head exercises you can do!
If you like doing chin-ups, I have good news- they are one of the best bicep long head exercises out there.
While you think of Chin-Ups as an exercise to usually grow your back, they actually put a ton of size on your biceps too.
Since your biceps are completely extended, the long head is fully primed to lift your whole body up. This puts immense tension and pressure on the long head, which forces a ton of muscle growth.
If I were you, do Chin Ups on your Chest/Back day. That way, you’re working your biceps on multiple days, which will massively increase the growth you see. (Biceps generally only need 24 hours to recover, so you can work them out everyday).
Plus, you’ll be actively growing your back muscles, which most people neglect. It’s a win-win.
How to Perform the Chin-Up:
Here’s a video on how to perform the Chin-up:
Narrow Grip Barbell/EZ Bar Curls
Who would’ve thought the Narrow Grip Barbell/EZ Bar Curls would be one of the best bicep long head exercises out there?
Honestly, at first- not me. But when I started reading about it, it’s almost like if Hammer Curls and Preacher Curls had a kid.
While it’s not the best on this list, it certainly does a great job at targeting that long head.
This is more of an exercise you’d like to do if the other exercises don’t sit right with you.
For instance, some people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have a much easier time using a narrow grip on the barbell. Regardless, it is a great way to target that long head.
Even if it’s uncommon, if the exercise feels right for you- why not go for it?
How to Do A Narrow Grip Barbell/EZ Bar Curl
Preacher Curls have always been that common, “go-to” exercise for increasing bicep size. But, they’re also one of the best bicep long head exercises out there!
Especially when you reach the top of the exercise and hold the barbell, you will FEEL your long head of the bicep burning up.
Since Preacher Curls are so commonly known, I won’t go into to much more detail about it, but I just thought I should remind you that this weapon in your arsenal is actually really powerful.
How To Do The Preacher Curl
Preacher Curls are relatively simple to do, but mastering the preacher curl is a different story.
Here’s a video I found helpful:
Drag Curls (3RD BEST!)
Drag Curls, while relatively unheard of are like a super exercise for your body.
Matter of fact, I discovered drag curls a few months ago on accident. Basically, I had dropped someone I had picked up in my arms (pretty embarrassing, she blocked me on Snapchat after our date) and I was looking for a way to grow the biceps at the position they would be when you’re picking someone up.
While drag curls aren’t exactly the same as what my 3 brain cells were trying to conjure up- I discovered that doing curls incredibly close to the body, as opposed to the normal range of motion where the bar travels further away from us, actually is an incredibly way to grow your arms.
In fact, I got massive stretch marks because my arms had grown so fast using this modified drag curl version.
Now, ultimately, the drag curls are way better for muscle growth, so I gave up on whatever I was trying to do earlier.
Anyways, the Drag Curls are actually incredible for you. Like seriously, you have to try them- you’ll feel the difference instantly.
Jeff Parke, owner of TopFitnessMag said, “A drag curl with the bar is lifted closely in front of the body, and elbows positioned behind the body will cause significant peak growth.”
I’m telling you guys, the burn you will feel is UNREAL. You will see super fast bicep growth. There is a good reason many people consider this one of the best bicep long head exercises out there!
How to Perform the Drag Curl:
Okay, here’s the million dollar question. A drag curl doesn’t really tell anybody how you’re supposed to do this lift.
Here’s a video I found incredibly helpful that will explain how to do one of the best bicep long head exercises, the Drag Curl.
Incline Dumbbell Curls (2ND BEST!)
So many people skip doing the Incline Dumbbell Curls- when in reality they are one of the best bicep long head exercises out there.
Jeff Parke, owner of TopFitnessMag said, “Incline dumbbell curls maximize the long head’s activation throughout the entire range of motion”.
When you are doing incline dumbbell curls, you are essentially bringing the dumbbell nearly a full 180 degrees. Furthermore, because you’re at an incline, this exercise stops you from activating other muscles like your back when you curl. This forces more tension on the biceps, and therefore more growth.
Meanwhile, this whole time that you are forced to basically only use your biceps, the whole long head of the bicep is activated! There are many bicep curl exercises that do not target the long head well, but this one does a phenomenal job at it.
It makes sense why The Arnold Blueprint to Mass (the best program for bodybuilding made by Arnold himself) has Incline Dumbbell Curls as a STAPLE on the arm days. And Arnold had MASSIVE bicep peaks for what it’s worth- so this might’ve just been his secret the whole time.
How To Perform Incline Dumbbell Curls
Incline Dumbbell Curls CAN be a little tricky. It is important you lower the weight right away as this will be a much tougher exercise than usual.
Incline Dumbbell Curls are known for isolating the bicep and because of this, it is important you focus on form, and use your mind-muscle activation to squeeze your bicep at the top of the rep and force your long head of the bicep to grow.
Here’s a video on how to perform the exercise:
Hammer Curls (The BEST)
Hammer Curls are one of the BEST bicep long head exercise in the book. Just kidding- they are THE BEST. There is virtually no other exercise that even comes close.
In fact, chances are- if you’ve asked someone in the gym, “hey, what can I do to grow my bicep peaks?”- they’ve probably told you to do Hammer Curls.
Hammer Curls aren’t seen that often, but they are one of those ‘niche lifts’ that you’ll often be referred to when the peaks aren’t looking at mountainous as you’d like them to be.
Guy Bar from HyGearFit said, “Everyone knows that bicep curls are the best way to form the muscle, but Hammer Curls are one of the best types of curls to define the peak of the bicep. Hammer curls are pin pointing the muscle groups within the bicep instead of regular curls which are getting the overall arm muscle. Implement Hammer Curls for a better peak”.
Basically, when you’re doing a hammer curl, it is putting all the tension directly on the long head of the bicep, and virtually nowhere else. Hammer Curls also allow more control over the weight that is put on your long head.
While some other curls activate other parts of the arm, the hammer curl has usually one muscle in mind. And the best part is, you can feel this when you do the exercise.
Hammer Curls are NOTORIOUS for being one of those lifts that make you feel that muscle BURN. And that is super important as truthfully, that burn is a good sign that you’ve activating and overloading the long head muscle- leading to muscle growth!
One of the nice things about Hammer Curls is that they’re pretty fun to do.
How to Do Hammer Curls
Hammer Curls are kind of tricky, and there are some slight variations on how to do the exercise.
Here’s the video I recommend to make sure that you’re fully activating the long head of the bicep.
FOCUS ON THE BURN AND FORM, NOT THE WEIGHT!
You can’t just go into the gym and do just do these exercises and expect muscle growth.
When it comes to targeting such a specific muscle like the long head of the bicep, you need to use mind muscle connection. You need to actively be squeezing your bicep and feeling that burn.
So, from the beginning to the end of the rep, you should be squeezing your bicep the ENTIRE time. And at the top, you should be squeezing even harder.
Yes, it is brutal- but it puts on size good.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go and pick up some heavy weight and start racing through the reps, or swinging the weight. This will NOT grow your biceps.
Biceps are actually a really hard muscle to grow, contray to popular belief. Your biceps get used a lot everyday, so they need a ton of stimulus to actually grow.
When you start swinging around heavy weight, most of that muscle activation is just from your lats and momentum, and your biceps don’t get activated.
But, when you sit there, focus, and make that muscle burn and shake- you will overload that bicep and get that massive peak you’ve been looking for.
Conclusion Of The 10 Best Bicep Long Head Exercises
Hopefully this list helped!
Remember, focus on that form and squeeze that bicep. Don’t be swinging the weights as you won’t see the results you want.
Is there an exercise that helps you grow your bicep long head? Tell me in the comments below and I will add it to the list! Good luck!