Biceps: Two Heads Are Better Than One

Let’s take a peak at the long head

Biceps: Two Heads Are Better Than OneMy personal favorite exercise, said to work the long head, is the Incline Dumbbell Curl. Here’s how I perform it with a little added intensity:

Set an incline bench at about 30 degrees. Grab two dumbbells on the lighter side of what you’d normally curl. Lie back on the bench and let the bells hang straight down so as to fully stretch out your biceps. Sometimes I choose to start the curl in a hammer position (palms facing in) and then supinate the hand as I curl the bell up. For that move I hold the bell with my thumb against the inside plate so it’s more difficult to supinate the hand. Other times I will start with my hands in a fully supinated position. If that’s my choice I like to hold the bell with my little finger pressed against the inside plate to add more weight to my thumb side of the bell. This way I feel a much deeper stretch at the bottom. I hold this fully supinated position all way up to full contraction. Two important things to keep in mind: keep the bells close to the bench and keep your elbows pointed down. The most common mistake most trainers make with this exercise, is to allow their elbows to move forward as they curl the weight up. I like to take these reps to failure and then sit up on the bench for a couple more reps before finally standing up and squeezing out a couple more while maintaining the aforementioned form.

The Standing Barbell Curl can emphasize the long head if you use a narrow grip and don’t allow your elbows to come forward of your body. Your biceps should be fully contracted in the top position. Keep your chest out and your shoulders back. If you lean your torso slightly forward as the weight comes up you can aid in maintaining the stress on your biceps.

The most common errors when performing standing barbell curls is to bring your elbows up in front of your body and to finish the movement with the bar resting on your shoulders. This removes all the tension from your biceps. I often see trainers doing curls with their arms locked at 90 degrees and their elbows traveling back and fourth in a rocking chair motion. Their biceps are never worked though any real range of motion and their front delts are doing all the work.

Another error is to curl your wrist up during the move or to hold your wrist in a contracted position throughout the curl. Performing a wrist curl during a biceps curl tends to take the tension off the biceps. I even allow my hands to sag down somewhat while I’m curling. This may bother some trainer’s wrists but I’ve never had a problem.

Another exercise, said to emphasize the long head, is the Drag Curl. For this move you would hold a barbell or use the Smith machine. You would start by holding the bar with your arms hanging down straight and your little fingers against your outer thighs. You then drag the bar up along your torso while your elbows move toward the rear. The finish position is when the bar reaches your chest. Personally, I never felt I got much benefit from this exercise, possibly due to its limited range of motion but give it a try and form your own opinion.

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