The short head
Exercises said to concentrate more on the short head are performed with the elbows forward of the body using a wider grip. The classic example of this is the Preacher Curl. Here are my thoughts on this exercise:
Some trainers will sit at the preacher bench and position the pad against their chest and deep under their armpits. They’ll take a narrow grip and widen their elbows. As the bar comes up they’ll curl their wrists and lean back. Even if they begin the move with they’re arms fully straight, the tension quickly comes off the biceps after a few inches of movement. Why do they perform the exercise this way? Because it’s the path of least resistance. If that’s your goal why even bother training?
Try this technique for preacher curls: Perform the movement while standing. Raise the pad so it’s just below your pecs. Place your lower triceps on top of the pad, so your elbows are just over the edge. Your elbows should be shoulder width apart and your grip on the bar should flair out slightly so your hands are a little wider than shoulder width. At the start position your torso should be leaning backward. As the bar curls up you should then lean forward to keep the tension on your biceps. I like to fully supinate my hands so the pressure stays on my little fingers. I let my wrists sag down a bit and I resist the temptation to do a wrist curl as the bar comes up.
Some trainers recommend stopping prior to straightening your arms so you always keep tension on the muscle but I’m of the school that believes you should work a muscle through its full range of motion. You can straighten out your arm while still keeping the tension on the bicep.
Another great short head exercise is the Spider Curl. Use the preacher bench by removing the pad and turning it around so the 45 degree angle is facing you. Raise the pad just enough so that when you lean over it but the bar doesn’t hit the supports when yours arms are hanging straight down. Follow the same technique as the Preacher Curl. You’ll really have to check your ego for this exercise because you won’t be able to handle much weight. It’s a good idea to have a partner on this exercise because once you reach positive failure the bar refuses to ascend so you could use a little help for a few assisted reps.
Whether or not it’s possible to hit one bicep head over the other, doesn’t it make sense to attack your biceps from all different angles anyway?
In the end, most likely, the shape of you biceps is all genetic so if you’ve got one head that refuses to grow like its big brother……..blame your parents.
Jim Vaglica is a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Police Sergeant, SWAT Operator, Competitive / Sponsored Athlete and Writer. Jim also appeared on Mark Burnett’s Epic Adventure Race – Expedition Impossible during the summer of 2011.