Long head bicep exercises

Exercising your biceps is a must if you want tight and defined arms. Targeting the long head of your biceps will help you develop well-formed arms that will make them stand out. 

Building bigger biceps involves more than doing the same bicep exercises over and over. Biceps workouts focusing on long head bicep exercises will help you develop a bigger bicep peak.

woman standing in gym doing long head bicep exercise

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Anatomy of the biceps

Biceps are small muscles, to grow them takes time.

The biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads.

Short head: The short head is located along the inner side of the anterior upper arm

Long head: The long head is located along the outer side of the anterior upper arm.

The long head comprises most of the biceps’ peak instead of the short head which sits on the inner side and adds to its width.

The long head of the biceps

The long head of the bicep is essential when it comes to strength and appearance. It is the muscle at the outer part of the upper arm. It gives your biceps the appearance of length and a big peak when you flex your arms.

Training variable to target the long head of the bicep

If you want to emphasize the long head bicep during training, four main techniques can help you achieve that:

  1. Bring your hands closer together (close grip).
  2. Use a neutral grip, aka hammer grip.
  3. Curling with your elbows at your side.
  4. Curling with your elbows back behind you.

7 of the best long head bicep exercises

Close-grip barbell curls

  • Hold the barbell with a close grip; it can be hip width or closer.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart while standing and your back upright. 
  • Curl the bar up while keeping your elbow fixed. At the peak contraction, you can lift your elbows up slightly for a little extra bicep contraction (remember, your biceps act on shoulder flexion since they cross the shoulder joint). 
  • Squeeze at the top, then slowly bring the barbell down to the starting position.

Incline dumbbell curls

woman doing incline bicep curls
incline bicep curls is a long head bicep exercise
  • Adjust the bench’s backrest to a 45-60 degree angle.
  • Lean back and sit on the bench. Then hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and hang your arms straight down.
  • As you exhale, flex at the elbow bringing the dumbbells up as far as you can while keeping your elbow position fixed and maintaining straight, strong wrists. As you curl the weight, rotate your forearm to a supinated position (palm up). Your upper arms should be nearly perpendicular to the floor at the top.
  • As you inhale, reverse the movement and slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Standing preacher curls

standing preacher curl
  • Stand behind an adjustable bench to allow your armpit to rest near the top of pad.
  • The back of the upper arm should remain on pad throughout the movement.
  • Slowly lower your arm under control.
  • Slowly curl the weight up until your arm is perpendicular with the ground. Really squeeze your biceps to power the movement.

Cable curl

  • Set up a cable pulley in a low position for the starting position.
  • Grab the attachment evenly using a double underhand grip. Stand up with the bar and move a foot or two back from the pulley.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, and your elbows tucked to your sides.
  • Slowly raise the weight by flexing your arms and pulling the bar up. In the top-contracted position, your lower arms should come up to your upper arms and almost touch.
  • During the movement, keep your elbows tucked, and your wrist straight.
  • Squeeze at the top when fully contracted. Slowly lower your arms in a controlled motion all the way to the bottom.

Concentration curls

woman doing concentration curls in the gym with purple tank top on
concentration curls is a long head bicep exercise
  • Bend down at your torso holding a dumbbell in your hand and resting your other arm on your knee.
  • Curl your arms to the maximum and twist your wrist so that the little finger is at a lower level than the thumb.
  • Curl the dumbbell back to start position.
  • Repeat the desired number of sets.

Dumbbell hammer curls

woman seated in the gym doing hammer curls
hammer curls is a long head bicep exercise
  • Sit down on a bench with your torso upright and your back pressed against the back rest.
  • Hold the dumbbells with your arms extended and down to your sides. Make sure your elbows are kept close enough to your sides but also won’t get the dumbbells caught on the bench or your body when curling. 
  • Curl the weight up with a neutral grip (palms facing in). Keep your elbow fixed in place as you do this. Your elbows should not come up as you curl.
  • When you reach peak contraction, slowly lower the weight back down until your arms are fully extended. 

*You also can use a cable rope for hammer curls with a cable machine


  • Grab the pull-up bar with a close underhand grip. Your hands can be just several inches apart.
  • Allow yourself to fully hang from the bar.
  • Pull yourself up as high as you can. You want your chest to come up as close to the bar as possible. 
  • When you reach the top, squeeze and then slowly lower back down to a full hang and repeat.  

*You can use a resistance band to help pull yourself up.

Benefits of training biceps

Bicep exercises are easy and can be done anywhere: You can do them at home or the gym so there are no excuses in training your arms. You can add them to an upper body workout or focus on an arms day.

You don’t need fancy equipment: You only need is a set of dumbbells or free weights. You also can use resistance bands if you are on the go.

Bicep exercises are great for beginners and advanced exercisers: They’re low impact and you don’t have to work too hard to get results.

Bicep training mistakes

Lifting too heavy: While using heavy weights are good for the bicep, it’s not the only way. Range of motion and correct form is more important than weight load.

Not focusing on tension: Think about the contraction and lengthening of the muscle with each rep. 

Cheating reps: To avoid cheating yourself lean your back up against something steady like a wall or piece of equipment in the gym.

Letting the elbows flare out: Most people focus on the upper arms and forget about where their elbows go during the workout.

Training too often: If you want to build your biceps without compromising on arm strength, it is necessary to rest your biceps. Do a back and biceps workout to train them on the same day.

Biceps arm workout

Try this workout on arm day. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise with a 60-second break between sets.

Incline biceps curls

Hammer curl

Close grip barbell curls

Concentration curls

Wrap up

Larger biceps peaks aren’t only for appearances. Building strength in the long head biceps can also prevent shoulder injuries.

To achieve more muscular biceps and bigger arms, it’s important to maintain proper throughout the exercise. Don’t rock or use momentum to get the weights up.

Lift and lower the weight in a controlled manner, focusing as much time and attention on the lowering phase as on the raising phase.

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