Arms are the one thing that ladies are almost immediately attracted to, outside of washboard abs and a massive bank account, of course. I take pride in my arms because it took me a long time to build these things up, and it was through blood, sweat, and tears that I can finally take my shirt off at the beach.
I point people in the right direction with confidence now, watching my beefy biceps shake while they’re unflexed, knowing all of the power that’s stored within! You may think that preaching about my immaculate biceps is arrogant, but you would do the same if you were in my position; thankfully, this article will help to achieve exactly that.
I can’t give you all of my secret sauce, as those are tips and tricks that I’ll take to my grave, but I’m more than happy to share with you some of the other knowledge I have. When you want to grow your long head bicep and improve the appearance of your arms, it’s all going to start with technique.
Why You Should Focus on the Long Head of your Bicep
Because biceps are just straight up hard to build. At least for me. Took me what feels like eternity of the best pre workout, long hours in the gym, the absolute best recovery shake, until I finally built arms that I would call big enough to be good looking.
Building up every part of your arm is crucial to getting the most out of your body, and that’s something that we’re all looking to achieve in this lifetime. There are many different methods to the madness, and some gym-goers are going to swear by their technique, which is why I’m coming at this problem from a personal standpoint.
I always grew up as the skinny kid, and then the skinny-fat kid throughout high school. Lifting weights wasn’t something that I was good at, and my peers were growing taller and stronger while I was still just this chunky little mess of a man.
I got older and realized that some of us are late bloomers, after growing a few inches and shedding what I called “baby fat”, I hit the gym and never looked back. I talk about the importance of hitting your long head bicep because neglecting muscle groups is just a bad look, and I’ve seen plenty of “chicken-legged” beef heads out there to know what I’m talking about.
Moral of the story? Don’t neglect any of your muscle groups, you big dumb idiot. If somebody like me can manage to train my entire arm, so can you!
The Importance of Strong Arms
Strong arms aren’t just about looks, although there’s definitely a massive appeal to them in that sense. Girls dig it, and let’s face it, even some guys are going to be into it - I don’t mean sexually, I just mean there are bound to be bros that compliment you on the peak of your rippling muscles.
Skinny arms suck, period. Nobody wants to sport skinny arms in the winter, summer, fall, or spring; the key to success is understanding all of the components that make up a beefy arm, and training them as such.
Want your arm to look even better than it does now? By focusing on the long head of your bicep, you can promote a healthy and full look to your physique. Those who forget to train crucial or even forgettable areas on their body will pay the price at some point, either in weakness or appearance.
The older we get, the weaker we get (structurally, at least). Bad knees and elbows are a real thing, but training your entire arm to be strong is a great way to ensure that you’re ready for the inevitable breakdown that comes with aging. While other people are struggling to open pickle jars at 75, you’ll be busting them open with a grin on your face!
If durability is your goal, you should work your triceps and biceps and other muscles areas in your arms and shoulders, exercises that work these muscles areas include, the seated tricep press, the military press, and the alternating dumbbell press.
Related Reading: Training Biceps & Triceps on The Same Day: What You Need to Know
Although I would never want it to happen, imagine if you were trapping in a car and the door was slightly open but stuck on something outside? You can budge it a little bit, but not enough to get out - guess you should have trained your arms, huh?
Realistically, strength in the gym will go a long way when trying to increase muscle mass, especially with your arms. The more weight you can handle, the quicker you can break down the muscle fibers (to be built back up).
Can a Beginner Train the Long Head Without Worry?
If you’re a novice when it comes to working out, there’s nothing to fear. I was in your shoes at one point and read everything I could find online in regards to training, which is a lot like what you’re (hopefully) doing right now.
Finding the right products and guides is important when you’re just starting out, but if you have any friends (or god forbid, a personal trainer) to bounce ideas off of that’s even better. They can get you started on the right path, although it’s always best to figure things out for yourself.
Like my grand-pappy used to say, “we’re all built different, boy!”, so what one person does to build their arms may not be perfect for you.
Related Reading: Should You Train Shoulders After Chest Day?
How Does One Target the Long Head of Their Bicep?
Using workouts that target the long head specifically is a sure fire way to get the pump you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to build them with other kinds of lifts. Even through traditional arm curls you should be able to develop a strong long head, but some people want to go above and beyond the norm.
If you would consider yourself one of those people, you’re in the right place, as I felt the same way when I started hitting the gym. Regular workouts just weren’t enough for me anymore, and I decided to find the best methods possible to grow larger biceps.
I would admit that I was obsessed with building my arms up, and now that they’ve reached a respectable level, I can finally get my peach booty in order.
Is It Possible to Make Them Look “Taller”?
It’s quite easy to make your biceps appear taller in appearance through training the long head, but you’ve also got to consider worrying about your brachialis as well. This is the muscle that sits between the “upper” and “lower” half of your bicep area, which means the larger it is, the taller your long head is going to appear.
This is a key component to maximizing the circumference of your arms and will be something that beginners overlook almost every single time. The muscle is going to push up on your long head and make it even taller than before when flexed, and the key to building your brachialis is with proper elbow flexion (and a neutral or hammer grip).
Focus on doing your reps slowly and with concentration, giving your arms time to truly break down and build up as the workouts intended. Going at a rapid tempo and trying to push through the reps with pace is never the answer, especially when you’re focusing on muscle growth.
Should I Be Using Barbells or Dumbbells?
It really doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you’re using, all that counts is whether you’re focusing on the long head or not and making the most of every rep. Some people prefer barbells, while others are keener on using dumbbells, like most things in the weightlifting world it all comes down to personal preference.
I myself prefer dumbbells, I use adjustable dumbbells since they are versatile and pretty portable and there a few affordable models on the market.
But if you like barbells, then use them, there are a few cheap barbells out there that will get the job done too, so no worries on you budget.
Understanding the “Hammer Grip”
If you don’t know what a hammer grip is by now, I’m here to enlighten you. This is a simple way to get more out of all your bicep workouts, as it will maximize the elbow flexion present with each rep - in “layman’s terms”, it means you’ll get a better squeeze and more power out of your arms.
This helps shift some of the stress away from your biceps and brachii and alleviates it onto the brachialis, which I’ve already said is important for building taller long head bicep muscles. As if that weren’t enough, incorporating the hammer grip into your sets will also focus on the brachioradialis as well!
Much like squats will keep your butt good to go all year round, dumbbell hammer curls are gold when it comes to developing your brachialis.
Reaching the Highest Peak Possible
The long head is going to offer more of a “peak” than the short head would, so if that’s the look you’re going for, you’ll be much better off my emphasizing long head bicep workouts in the future. Some people are okay with the simple stuff, such as a narrow gripped curl or even incline dumbbell curls, but I’m going to help you learn about even more techniques in this article.
- Long Head Bicep Workouts
- Free Weight Workouts for Long Head Bicep
- Dumbbell Curls
You can’t beat a good old-fashioned dumbbell curl! Well, you can, but it’s much easier to keep things the way they are and just hit these bad boys whenever you feel like it. Having a bad day at work? Come home and bust out a few sets of dumbbell curls while mumbling under your breath!
Focusing on quality over quantity is the key to a nice dumbbell curl, which is why we always want to do our reps “slow and steady”. After all, that’s how you win in the gym, by squeezing hard and demanding the most out of every single rep.
Dumbbell curls are simple - flex your elbows and pull the weights up until they reach the height of your shoulders, where you’ll hold for a 1-2 count. After the 2 second count, lower them back down into starting position and repeat the process.
I like to get about 8 to 15 of these in per set, but you can adjust the numbers however you’d like.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
This is essentially the same deal as dumbbell curls, except you’re going to implement the hammer grip that I talked about earlier. You can hit the long head of your biceps even harder by using this method, and it’s a personal favorite among bodybuilders all over the globe.
Grip the dumbbell using a hammer grip, ensuring that your palms are facing inward. From here, you can do your curls as you regularly would, maintaining a strong grip the entire time - it should look like you’re swinging a hammer that consists of your arm and the weight.
Lift to your shoulders, hold for 2 seconds, return to your starting position and repeat until you want to leave! Personally, I do 3 sets with a max rep count of 10.
Here is a video of how to do dumbbell hammer curls
Do you like pain? I hope so, because that’s what preacher curls introduced into my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a preacher bench in every commercial gym, it’s going to be a padded seat and angled platform that allows you to sit down and do “supported curls” on.
Preacher curls will call for adjusting the preacher curl station, but once everything is set up you can grab an EZ bar (the ones that are zig-zagged) and get to work.
With a narrow grip and your arms extended over the padded platform, start from a lowered position and slowly bring the bar up to your chin. Hold for 2 seconds, and return to the starting position.
I really like to squeeze at the top of my reps here, and boy does it HURT! Thankfully, that’s just a sign that the workouts are doing their job.
Here is how to do preacher curls
Close-Gripped Barbell Curls
If you prefer using barbells, you can also just toss in some close-gripped barbell curls to help emphasize your long head bicep workouts. It’s more of a compound exercise than an isolated one, but it’s still incredibly effective. Although you’ll be engaging your core and bracing, it’s still an optimal workout for bicep connoisseurs.
Hold the barbell close to your torso with a narrow grip, maintaining a still body position throughout the rep. Bring the bar up to your chin, hold for two seconds, and return to starting position.
I like to do about 8 to 12 reps of these (as I do with most sets) and tend to do 3 or 4 sets if I’m feeling good.
Here is how to do close-gripped barbell curls
Using machines is easier for many of you reading this, and I can understand where you’re coming from. I built my body initially using free weights and switched over to machines/bodyweight workouts, but I still give all credit to what I’ve built to lifting heavy pieces of metal.
If you have access to a cable machine, cable curls are just as good as anything else, and they’re certainly better than nothing at all. It’s a great way to get your workouts in without moving around throughout the gym, too!
Set yourself up behind the cable machine with about a foot of space in between, allowing you curl with more stability. As you would with any other curl, start at the bottom of your lift and bring your hands up to your chin.
Release the tension and bring the cable back down to complete a rep, and then repeat until set completion!
Here is how to do cable curls
If you want to reach maximum levels of pump, the concentration curl is one that you’re going to enjoy quite a bit. Not only is this a good way to target your long head bicep muscles, but it’s basically a matter of trying to “blow up” your peak.
Get yourself a pair of dumbbells and head over to the bench for your daily dose of arm torture! With both dumbbells resting on your knees in a sitting position, let one forearm down and have the dumbbell hanging.
With your elbow sitting on the inside of your leg, use it as an anchor and do a curl without moving your knee - hence the name “concentration curl”. It will help isolate the long head of your biceps, and you’ll be able to see how well you’re doing by how shaky the curl is.
You should be able to do a concentration curl without too much effort, and if you can’t do one properly, it’s likely that you’re using too much weight; this is a slow and precise movement, and we don’t want anyone getting hurt.
Here is how to do concentration curls
Incline Dumbbell Curls
As you can see, you’re going to be doing many variations of the dumbbell curl before anything else comes into the picture. With an incline press bench, you can set it up so that you’re comfortable and get a few dumbbell curls in that way.
Sit down on the incline bench and let your arms hang down to the side with a hammer grip, one dumbbell in each hand. From here, slowly raise one up until your elbow is bent 90 degrees, and bring it back down - do the same for the other arm and you’ve got one rep completed.
Keep your wrist still and if possible, wear a brace for added support if need be. I recommend doing this for 3 sets with a maximum of 10 possible reps per set.
Here is a video of how to do incline dumbbell curls
Is there any other workout that you would consider? Chin-ups are a test of strength through and through, and it’s also incredibly easy to get your hands on a chin-up bar. You don’t need any weights either, so those of you who are against free weights will enjoy this.
As opposed to using a wide grip for your chin-ups, you’ll want to use a narrow grip and focus on the long head of your biceps. Let yourself hang for a moment and adjusted, and then pull yourself up and hold for a 1-2 count.
You’ll feel your long head and shoulder blades squeezing tighter than ever before! From here, you can slowly bring yourself back down to the start position and repeat the process.
Get Out There and Build the Arms of Your Dreams
It may sound strange to dream about massive, muscular arms, but not when it’s about your sporting them yourself. Do yourself a favor and learn the ins and outs of long head bicep training using this article.
After that, it’s simply time to get into the gym and build some muscle!
Here is how to do chin-ups
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