Bicep Exercises That Are An Alternative To Curls

Whenever biceps, and bicep exercises, are mentioned, the first exercise – and the traditional go to get impressive biceps – that springs to mind are curls.

However, to improve your biceps, there are many other exercise that can be utilised, and which can be used to mix up your gym routine. Here are four great exercises for biceps that are a welcome alternative to curls.

Close Grip Chin Ups

Chin-ups can work your bicep muscles more effectively than pullup. Positioning your hands closer together shifts the focus of the exercise to your arms even more – and for even better results, strap some extra weights around your waist.

Chin ups, pull ups, and derivatives of those exercises are effective for biceps because the pulling motion targets the brachialis. This is a large muscle that lies right underneath the biceps. Developing this particular muscle pushes up the middle of your arm, and therefore develops the biceps. The pulling motion of chin ups and pull ups is one of the best ways to target the brachialis.

V Grip Pull Downs 

Using the lat pulldown machine, start by hooking on a V-grip attachment. Sit down with your torso upright and your arms straight. Next, grip the handles, ensuring your palms are facing each other, and steadily pull the bar to your chest, all the while keeping your elbows close to your body, and not moving your torso. Slowly return to the starting position.

Zercher Holds 

Adopt a standing position with your chest up and your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell in the crook of your elbows, lacing your fingers together. Try to keep both arms parallel to the floor at a 90-degree angle, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the movement two more times, then rest.

Seated Cable Rows 

When working the muscles in your back, your biceps are automatically being developed without you realising. Here, seated cable rows are a good example. Start the exercise by using a V-grip attachment ensuring that your palms are facing each other. This will put some of the effort and emphasis on your forearms – and biceps. Proceed to row like you normally would, keeping your elbows tucked in, your knees slightly bent and your back straight.


And there you have it: four alternative exercises to develop your biceps without resorting to curls. Talking to a personal trainer at the gym, or member of gym staff, will help you to perform the exercises correctly and safely – and might give you alternative suggested exercises for biceps muscles.

James Monroe

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