If you’ve ever heard the term “mirror muscles,” biceps are probably the first muscle group that comes to mind. While they look great in shirts, and are sure to help you turn heads, they’re definitely more for appearance than anything else.
So how can you strike a balance between looking like a superhero and looking like the egomaniac who’s only interested in staring at himself in the mirror? Believe it or not, there are ways to grow your biceps without curls. Use these four exercises to mix it up:
Chin-ups work your biceps more effectively than pullups, and positioning your hands close together shifts the focus to your arms even more. Want to really amp up the gains? Strap some extra weight around your waist.
Why do exercises like chin-ups and pullups work? The pulling motion actually targets the brachialis, a large muscle that lies underneath the biceps. Developing this muscle pushes up the middle of your arm, and the pulling motion is one of the best ways to target it.
For this exercise, hook a V-grip attachment to the lat pulldown machine. Sit down with your torso upright and your arms straight. Grip the handles with your palms facing each other and pull the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Do not move your torso. Slowly return to the starting position, drawing out the eccentric phase.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your chest up. Hold a barbell in the crook of your elbows and lace your fingers together. Try to keep your arms at a 90-degree angle, parallel to the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.
Seated Cable Rows
Your biceps are naturally engaged in many exercises that work your back. For seated cable rows, use a V-grip attachment so that your palms are facing each other. This will put some of the emphasis on your forearms and biceps. Row like you normally would, with your elbows tucked in, knees slightly bent and back straight.
There you have it. Four ways to grow your biceps without curls!
All readers are advised to consult their physician before beginning any exercise and nutrition program. BPI Sports and the contributors do not accept any responsibility for injury sustained as a result of following the advice or suggestions contained within the content.