Most people know how to work out their biceps as a whole, though determining how to work the lower bicep takes a bit of forethought and a few specific exercises. Making the effort to work your lower bicep can yield dividends in terms of overall strength and definition.
How to Work Lower Bicep Muscles
Your lower bicep is also known as the distal biceps tendon, and it connects the bicep to the forearm bones. To effectively work your lower biceps, you'll need to perform a specific set of exercises that target the lower biceps muscle exclusively and effectively.
The most basic variation of working your lower bicep is the curl. This exercise requires your bicep to do most of the work to lower and lift the weight from start to finish. There are many curl variations, and here are three that focus on building out the muscle in your lower biceps:
- Standard curls
- Seated Incline curls
- Preacher curls
Do Standard Curls
Basic curls are a staple for many gym routines. This exercise should have a place in your rotation if you want to work your lower biceps effectively. A good curl should start with your arms down your sides and the weights in your hands. Have your palms facing outward toward the mirror or away from your body.
Then, you’ll raise the weight using only your arm and bicep muscles to perform the lever action. Don’t use your waist, chest, back, or swing yourself around in order to lift the weight. You’ll bring the dumbbells up to your chest level while fully contracting your bicep muscle. Hold this for a brief moment before slowly and gently lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position.
You should do these in either 3 sets of 10 or 3 sets of 5 depending on whether or not you’re trying to grow muscle or tone your lower biceps. Either way, your lower biceps will get a good workout.
Try Seated Incline Curls
Another good variation of the standard curl is to perform it at an incline. This is usually done with you sitting with your back at a slight incline and the dumbbells facing vertical to the ground.
This isolation movement activates and targets the long head of the biceps. Overall, this exercise gives your muscles a larger range of motion and more of a stretch than other curl variations.
When you're ready to begin the workout, you'll perform the same lever motion as you did with the standard curl, and lift the dumbbells to your chest and hold it for a brief moment. Once the moment has passed, you can gently lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat until your sets are complete.
Focus on Preacher Curls
With preacher curls, you may not be able to curl as heavy of a weight as you did other curls, though you will have stronger isolation with this type of curl. They are effective for working your lower biceps, because they stretch your entire muscle at the bottom of the exercise and force your arm into a full range of motion.
Preacher curls are performed at a standard preacher bench. You want to grip a curl bar with both hands and utilize and underhand grip with your palms facing toward the ceiling or your face. Curl the bar up to the top and rest near your chin. Then return it down to the bottom slowly. Perform this without rocking the bar or allowing it to slam down.
Your lower biceps will get most of the work at the beginning and end of the exercise, and your upper bicep will get a good workout at the same time.
When it comes to working your lower biceps, you should only target them about twice a week in order to maximize growth rate and ensure that you don’t overwork the muscle group. This is because your muscles need time to regenerate and rest in between intense workout sessions.
Failing to do this will cause your muscles do not regenerate properly and you may notice a slower increase in strength or no increase at all. You may also injure yourself.
During your typical week, you should allow your lower biceps about 48 hours of resting time in between targeted exercise routines. This gives them plenty of time to regenerate muscle cells and repair damage.
Working your lower biceps is definitely worthwhile and can contribute to overall arm strength in a significant way. The great thing is that working your lower biceps is almost always accompanied by growth to nearby muscles as well.