Anatomy of the Bicep
There are 2 different muscles that make up the bicep: The long head, and the short head.
The short head is located on the inner side of the upper arm, whilst the long head is along the upper and outer side.
Why You Should Isolate the Long Head of the Bicep
The long head muscle is what creates the ‘peak’ appearance of a bicep flex. Whereas the short head muscle contributes to additional width of the upper arm.
It’s for this reason that many people want to target their long head bicep – to create a more impressive bicep peak.
How to Target the Long Head Bicep
It’s not possible to completely isolate the long head bicep with any exercise, as the short head bicep will also be involved to some degree.
But it is possible, through different grips and movements, to put more emphasis on the long head bicep. There are some general techniques you can adopt to focus on the long head bicep:
- Use a narrow grip for barbell or EZ bar curling
- Use a neutral or natural grip, such as in the hammer curl
- Curl with your elbows to your side or slightly behind you
Best Long Head Bicep Exercises
1. Incline Dumbbell Curls
Use an inclined bench and a set of dumbbells for this exercise.
- Adjust the bench to a 45-60 angle
- Start with the dumbbells down by your side, arms extended
- Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows below / behind your body
- Lower the dumbbells down to the starting position
2. Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Just a pair of dumbbells.
- Hold the dumbbells with arms extended and your palms facing inwards
- Keeping your palms facing inwards at all times, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulder (you can curl both arms at the same time or alternate as you prefer).
- Lower the dumbbell down to the starting position, keeping palms facing inwards at all times.
3. Close Grip Preacher Curls
EZ bar or barbell, and a preacher bench.
- Start with your arms bent, your forearms upright and resting on the preacher bench, and the weight above your forearms.
- Lower the weight until your arms are fully extended on the preacher bench.
- Curl the weight back up to the starting position, and repeat.
4.Close Grip Barbell Curls
Just a weighted barbell.
- Whilst standing, hold the barbell with extended arms using a narrow grip.
- Curl the barbell up to your chest, keeping your elbows to your side or slightly in front of you.
- Lower the barbell back down to the starting position.
5. Drag Curls
Barbell or dumbbells – your choice.
- Start with the barbell lowered and your arms extended.
- Pull your elbows back and the weight upwards, keeping the bar close to (even touching) the front of your body as it rises, until your arms are fully bent.
- Lower the weight back down to the starting position, keeping it close to (or even touching) the front of your body the whole way down.