Many people don’t know that the bicep has two heads. As a result, they often fail to combine exercises effectively and train both heads to develop thick and full biceps.
Today’s post will show you the difference between the short and long head and what good short head bicep exercises you should consider.
Short vs. Long Head Of The Biceps
The bicep has two heads: a short (inner) and a long (outer) head. These two heads run parallel to one another and work together to produce elbow flexion (arm bending).
Any bicep exercise you perform will train both heads of the muscle to some degree. Still, several factors influence which of the two heads works more at any given time. Among these, we have wrist, forearm, and shoulder positions.
The exercises you perform will also influence which head works more, so let’s go over three short head bicep exercises.
Three Short Head Bicep Exercises
1. Wide-Grip Barbell Curl
The wide grip barbell curl is one of the best short head bicep exercises you can do. Having your forearms pointed away from your body while doing curls puts the inner portion of the bicep at a mechanical advantage.
Plus, unlike most bicep exercises, barbell curls allow you to overload the muscle group with more weight and cause greater mechanical tension for growth.
2. Concentration Curls
Concentration curls are an old-school bodybuilding movement that doesn’t get as much attention these days. But, despite not being as popular today, the exercise is excellent for training the inner bicep in a slow and controlled way. (1)
3. Normal Grip Chin-Up
Chin-ups are an exercise that emphasizes the short head of the biceps. The movement is great because all you need is a pull-up bar, and you get to train several major muscle groups.
Like the barbell curl, chin-ups allow you to overload your biceps with more weight and cause a substantial growth stimulus.
Safety Tips For Your Bicep Workouts
A crucial tip to remember is to avoid overloading your biceps too much because the muscle is prone to detachment. The result can be a painful injury that takes a long time to heal.
Pick weights you can handle comfortably for at least six repetitions and do most of your sets in the 10 to 20-repetition range.
Warming up before training is also crucial for protecting your biceps and keeping your elbows healthy. Start with light cardio to get your heart pumping, do dynamic stretches to warm up your muscles and joints, and begin with a few lighter sets of curls. It’s also a good idea to include a bicep stretch into your workout plan to keep your biceps supple and strong. (2)
Programming Ideas For Your Bicep Training
The biceps are part of your ‘pulling’ muscles. Along with the back, your biceps plays a role in exercises like pull-ups, bent-over rows, and such. Because of that, a practical option is to program your bicep and back together. Do movements for your back first, and finish your workouts with bicep isolation training. (3)
You can also dedicate an entire workout to your biceps and triceps. Doing so is beneficial for training the muscle group in a recovered state and performing more working sets, which can lead to better growth in the long run.
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- Concentration curl: Exercise videos & guides. Bodybuilding.com. (n.d.). https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/concentration-curls
- Cronkleton, E. (2019, July 12). Warmup exercises: 6 ways to get warmed up before a workout. Healthline.https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/warm-up-exercises#dynamic-warmup
Rogers, P. (2021, April 29). Learn isolation exercises for targeted Muscle Building. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/isolation-exercises-description-3498374