It might be the biggest beach muscle of all time—but if you don’t train correctly, you’ll just look silly in the gym and you won’t have much to show off on the sand. So we asked CJ McFarland, head strength and conditioning coach at ONNIT, for the best biceps exercises around. Many of these moves focus on isolation, which emphasizes stronger muscle contraction and added muscle fiber recruitment. “This places the majority of tension on one arm or muscle, while the opposite has to fire more stabilizers throughout the movements,” McFarland explains. Sneak this routine into your fitness regimen once or twice a week—and get ready for beaches to love you. Photo: iStock/Petr_Joura
1. Dumbbell Iso-Dynamic Bicep Curl: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, dumbbell in each hand. Keeping elbows close to sides, bend elbows 90 degrees, raising dumbbells. Hold one arm at 90 degrees while curling the other dumbbell up to your shoulder, then all the way down to your side, then back to 90 degrees. Then curl the other arm. Continue alternating for 10 reps with each arm.
2. Oscillating Chin Ups: Grab bar with underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until chin is in line with bar, but no higher. Slowly lower until forehead is in line with bar, but no lower. That’s one rep. Continue for as many reps as possible until failure.
3. Steel Mace Curl: Stand with legs shoulder width apart, hands wider than shoulder width, holding the bar down at your waist, palms facing away from your body. Keeping elbows close to sides, curl the bar up to chin. Slowly lower back down. Perfect 10 reps, then change the side that’s weighted and perform 10 more reps. Note: If you don’t have a steel mace, use an EZ Curl Bar or straight bar with only one side loaded with weight.
4. Resistance Band Hammer Curls: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, standing on resistance band. Grab opposite side of resistance band with hands and hold it, palms facing each other, at hip height. Keeping elbows close to sides, bend elbows and curl band up to chest level. Slowly lower back down. Perform 10-15 reps.
5. Banded Dumbbell Curls: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place resistance band around both elbows then pick up dumbbell in each hand, holding them at hip level, palms facing away from you. Keeping elbows close to sides, bend elbows and curl dumbbells up to chin level. Slowly lower back down. Perform 10-15 reps.
6. Inverted Row with Slow Eccentric: Lie on bench under bar, back flat, hands gripping bar shoulder width apart, palms facing you. Extend arms towards ceiling and push bar straight up. Keeping elbows close to sides, bend elbows and slowly lower bar to chest. That’s one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.