Building Big Biceps: 3 Key Exercises to Get Swole

Building big biceps is something everyone wants, let’s face it. Unless you are an Olympic weightlifter who can’t get huge arms because they get in the way.

For many of us including me, the quest for big biceps started long ago specifically when we got our first set of weights for Christmas at 13. Who would have known that today we would still be striving to get bigger arms…

This may sound familiar and I know I am not the only one. Back then my workouts consisted of merely endless bicep curls until my arm nearly fell off.

Eventually I matured out of this stage but I still catch some of my friends making the same mistakes.  I began to expand my training to my other body parts as I became more knowledgeable about training.

Some may turn their nose up at the bicep as merely a “beach muscle” with no other value. The reality is the bicep is still an essential muscle of the human body. It is still needed to pull and curl oneself out of whatever situation they may need to do so.

I have’t outgrown wanting huge biceps and I don’t think I should, neither should you. Without further ado let us continue with our quest towards building big biceps. 


Hammer curls

Hammer curls are an exercise I have recently re-added to my routine. The reason being is that I forgot just how effective they are.

I always see a lot of people doing this exercise wrong so here are a few technique pointers.

For the hammer curl the dumbbell should be held with a neutral grip (the palm of your hands should be facing your body at the side). The movement is performed just like a regular curl thereafter.

The aim should be to squeeze your bicep at the top of the movement. Make sure to keep your arms close to the sides of your body. A great tip is to bring your pinky finger as close as possible to your front deltoid.

I learned this tip from Chris Jones at Pump Chasers:

Bicep exercises should be done strictly. This is not an ego game. If you start slinging around heavy weight with bad form your bicep will not be getting targeted effectively.

The hammer curl will also target your forearm and the bicep brachialis which is a muscle underneath the bicep. This will make your arms look immense from the front view.


Chin ups

This is an exercise a lot of people forget when it comes to building big biceps. Just because an exercise is not a curl does not mean it won’t grow the biceps.

The chin ups are a great exercise for putting meat on your arms

Find me someone who can do a 3 plate chin up for reps and has small arms… I’ll wait.

Mere bodyweight chin ups will not be enough after a while. If you are serious about growing your arms so they are busting out of your sleeves then extra weight is needed.

The chin-up belt I recommend for building big biceps is Kinobody – Best In Class Dip Belt and Pullup Belt – Any Size – Any Experience Level

Bret Contreras tested 45 different exercises with an EMG study and he found that weighted chin ups stimulated the biceps more than most types of curls. Not to mention you will be getting tons of back growth on top of that.

The fact that weighted chin ups have a much greater eccentric (lowering) activation portion than curls contributes to this immensely. 

To target the biceps more a great tip is to use a close grip.

Here is a great example of what is possible:


Standing barbell curl

Building big biceps will require some work. The word big is subjective. The size of your arms currently may be considered big to someone else but not to you.

We all know what we are talking about when we say we want huge biceps. 

We are talking about the kind of biceps which when flexed look incredible.

To do this the standing barbell curl can be of great help. On top of the two exercises mentioned already your biceps will have no choice but to grow

The good thing about the barbell curl is that more weight can be lifted compared to a dumbbell curl. If you have a noticeably weaker arm, ensure that it is getting worked properly with this exercise.

Scott Herman does a great job at displaying the proper technique here:


Cheat curls

There is a place and a time for cheat curls. Generally for isolation movements such as curls you want to be working in the 8-12 rep range.

This is to ensure that there is sufficient volume and workload to produce muscle growth. There is nothing wrong with cheat curls but they should be performed once you have hit 8 reps approximately.

Cheat curls can then be used to burnout the muscle to provide that extra stimulus. If you need to cheat already at the 4th rep then the weight is simply too heavy.

By using a weight that is too heavy for you, the chances of you building big biceps is reduced. Nobody wants that do we?

There you go. 3 Exercises that will give you massive bulging biceps when done consistently for a long time. Big arms just don’t happen overnight. Keep getting stronger at these movements and watch as your biceps grow.



Thanks for reading,

Stay tuned.

P.S Leave a comment down below to let me know what you think. How has your quest towards building big biceps been?

By | 2017-08-03T10:29:27+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Fitness|7 Comments


  1. […] chin up is a fantastic back and biceps […]

  2. Maurice August 2, 2017 at 4:31 am - Reply

    The exercises you suggest and demonstrate here are the best way to achieve large biceps. That is the way I trained back in my day. With the new machines I see in the gym now a days the process should go much smoother. It is a matter of will

    • Peter August 2, 2017 at 4:40 am - Reply

      Thanks Maurice. Yes you are right, if you are willing to put in the work to grow big biceps then it will more than likely happen.

  3. Don August 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Peter, have a story to tell. When I was in college I hit the weight room hard. A few of us worked out together. Well one day we were playing some basketball. We had a big guy on our team playing forward and I was trying to get the ball to him. I was throwing it up around the rim to let him go up and lay it in. The only thing, I kept throwing the ball over the backboard. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The ball kept going over the backboard. Finally, I figured it out – it was the lifting. We all had a good laugh and I heard about it all year.

    Now, I’ve aged over the years. I don’t have the strength I use to have, but I still lift. I just don’t lift as heavy. The one thing about weight lifting it’s for all ages. Even the person in a nursing home can lift weights. Maybe it’s only a couple of pounds, but they can still lift. In fact they are encouraged to lift. Weight lifting has many benefits than just trying to “sculpture” one’s body. Good post.

    All the best to you,

    • Peter August 1, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Dom thanks for commenting. That is quite the story ha ha and I’m sure that is a great memory as well.

      Yes as we age our weightlifting must change with us. It is actually great at anti ageing and preventing muscle wasting. Anyone who can lift some weights should.

  4. Steven Oliver August 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Hey Peter
    This is a really interesting article and I think it is going to be very helpful for me. I have neglected any real isolated bicep work over the past six months or so and have been concentrating on the big compound movements. That doesn’t appear enough however, as my biceps aren’t big enough! I do plenty of chin ups, but I will definitely be incorporating hammer curls as another assistance exercise now.

    • Peter August 1, 2017 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks Steve! That is great to hear. Hit your biceps multiple times a week with enough volume and they will grow!

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