12 Best Long Head Bicep Exercises For Massive Peaks

You are at the right place if you are looking for the Long head bicep exercises.

Biceps are small muscles, to grow them takes time, knowledge, and intellect.

To build the bigger and impressive biceps first, we needed to understand the anatomy and functionality of the biceps muscle, which help to perform the biceps exercises at the best level.

For building bigger and impressive biceps involves more than doing the same bicep exercises over and over.

In this article, we are going to tackle the best exercises for the long head of the bicep, which is often underdeveloped in those who lack a complete understanding of the biceps brachii. It’s time to develop some huge bicep peaks!

Learn different strategies, the best long head bicep exercises, supporting muscle group exercises, and lifestyle changes that promote bigger, stronger biceps.

Long and Short Head of Biceps Muscle

The biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (the Bicep gets its name from the two heads).

Heads” simply means the muscle has different attachment points. In the case of the biceps, it is two, hence the ‘bi’ in bicep.

Your biceps brachii has two heads: short (inner) and long (outer). The short head is located along the inner side of the anterior upper arm and the long head is located along the outer side of the anterior upper arm.

The long head comprises the majority of the biceps’ peak, whereas the short head sits on the inner side and contributes to the biceps’ width.

To be anatomically specific, the long head and short head both originate at the scapula, but along different points.

  • The short head originates from a projection on the scapula called the coracoid and runs alongside the long head on the inside of the arm.
  • The long head originates from a cavity in the scapula called the glenoid.
bicep anatomy

The biceps is one of four muscles alongside the brachialis, brachioradialis, and coracobrachialis muscles that make up the upper arm.

Function of Biceps

The primary function of the Bicep muscle is to move the forearm towards the shoulder (elbow flexion). The secondary function of the Biceps is supination of the forearm. This means turning the hand from a palms-down position to a palms-up position.

How To Build Long Head Of Biceps

Both bicep heads function together in most workout activities, it’s important to understand how to differentiate the two during exercise, so you can develop both heads to the greatest potential. 

The long head of the bicep is a vital muscle head when it comes to strength and aesthetics. It is the muscle at the outer part of the upper arm.

A well-built, long head bicep muscle will always make you stand out. When working to raise the strength of the biceps, training the long head is essential.

There are many exercises that emphasize the long head of the bicep. Many of them you probably already know, but maybe you didn’t realize they are best for the long head. All you have to do is implement the techniques. 

If you want to emphasize the long head bicep during training, four main techniques can help you achieve that:

  • Bring your hands closer together (close grip).
  • Use a neutral grip, aka hammer grip.
  • Curling with your elbows at your side.
  • Curling with your elbows back behind you.

An easy way to remember whether you’re working the short/inner or long/outer head of the biceps brachii is to look in the mirror.

When using a close grip, which, as explained above, targets the long head, the long head will be visible. When using a wide grip, which targets the short head, the short head will be visible.

Best Long Head Bicep Exercises For Bigger Arms and Massive Peak

There are 12 best Long head bicep exercises for the outer bicep and massive peaks (the long head of the bicep). Use these moves to get your long head biceps pumped up and improve the overall function of your upper arms.

1. Incline Dumbbell Curls

It is one of the best Long head bicep exercises. Your long head bicep will be targeted very well with incline bench curls. This position will have your elbows down at your side’s behind you, which means your long head will be working from a stretched position.

Incline Dumbbell Curl is an excellent full-range exercise to build massive peaked bicep and also add variety to your Arm training.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Sit on an Incline Bench with a pair of dumbbells.
  2. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder levels and then curl back to the starting position.
  3. At the top of the movement, contract harder and let your palms face yourself.
  4. Let the palms face each other at the end of the movement.

Tips

  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Go full range to build longer biceps.

2. Close Grip Barbell Curl

While barbell curls are an all-around great bicep exercise, by using a wide grip focuses effort on the inner biceps (short head), whereas a narrow grip arks the outer biceps (long head).

The Close grip barbell curl is a highly recognizable biceps exercise that builds biceps Peak. It’s a great exercise for seeing results in strength and definition.

Close Grip Barbell Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Hold the barbell with a close grip (can be hip width or closer). Your feet should be shoulder-width.
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.

3. Concentration Curl

Concentration Curl is the best exercise to build a biceps peak. This exercise should be a part of your arms race, as peaked biceps are very impressive to look at. It’s also a great way to target the long head muscles as you’re going to be concentrating on the peak and try to “blow” it up.

This exercise is done standing bent at the torso using a dumbbell. Resting the upper arm against the thigh prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps. End the movement completely supinated – again, the with the pinky should be pointing in the upward direction.

Concentration Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Bend down at your torso holding a dumbbell in your hand and resting your other arm on your knee.
  2. Curl your arms to the maximum and twist your wrist so that the little finger is at a lower level than the thumb.
  3. Curl the dumbbell back to start position.
  4. Repeat the desired number of sets.

Tips

  1. Maintain a slight bend in the elbow at the bottom of the movement to keep tension through the biceps.
  2. Using a slow eccentric (lowering portion) of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind muscle connection.

4. Hammer Curl

The Hammer Curl is a classic weightlifting exercise that targets the biceps and forearms. Due to neutral grip, hammer curls allow you to hone in on the long head.

When it comes to building muscular hypertrophy and strength, the hammer curl exercise is one of the most popular exercises amongst bodybuilders and regular weightlifters.

Hammer Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.

Tips

  • Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
  • Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.

5. Behind The Back Cable Curl (Bayesian Curl)

The Behind The Back Cable Curl aka Bayesian curl is the same concept as the incline dumbbell curl. Your arms will be curling with your elbows behind you, which emphasizes the long head. 

Doing cable curls behind the body shifts the emphasis of the exercise onto the outer biceps and minimizes the chance of you developing unsightly muscular imbalances.

This is because, by training each arm separately, you can ensure that each bicep is receiving roughly equal work and thus growing more or less in proportion.

Behind The Back Cable Curl (Bayesian Curl)

Execution Technique

  1. Connect a single cable handle to the bottom of a cable pulley.
  2. Grab the handle with an underhand grip and then face away from the machine.
  3. Take a step out from the cable station and let your arm travel behind your torso until you feel a good biceps stretch.
  4. Curl the handle toward your shoulder by squeezing your biceps as hard as you can.
  5. Lower the weight back down under control until your elbow is fully extended.
  6. Repeat for the ideal number of reps to complete the set. Now, switch arms to complete the exercise on your right side, and then alternate between arms for sets.

 Tips

  • The arm is positioned and maintained behind the body throughout the whole range of motion.
  • The elbows are bent and the biceps flexed as the upper arm is kept in position and the forearm is moved in the forward and upward direction.
  • It is important to keep in mind that the elbow should be pointing backwards at the end of the movement as it was at the start.

6. Close Grip Preacher Curl

The Close grip preacher curl is the best exercise to build a long head of biceps. Although, the shape of the biceps is hereditary and the biceps can have a long tendon or long muscle.

You can get fullness in this crucial area by giving your arms a complete look. If you have a long tendon, then preacher curl is the best exercise to build a longer biceps lower head and get a full biceps pump. This exercise is done by sitting on a Preacher Bench with a Barbell or E-Z curl Bar.

Preacher curl

Execution Technique

  1. Get seated on Preacher Bench with your chest against the support and hold the barbell with a close grip (can be hip width or closer).
  2. Curl the bar as in standard barbell curl and get maximum contraction at the top.
  3. Lowering the bar slowly gives constant stress throughout the movement. Lowers the bar to get the maximum extension.
  4. Repeats the desired number of sets.

Tips

  • Do not lift off the back. Use your biceps only.
  • Keep the motion slow and controlled throughout the set.
  • Squeeze the biceps as hard as possible as you get the weight to the top.
  • Use a wide grip to work the inner biceps and a close grip to work the outer biceps.

7. Dumbbell Drag Curl

The dumbbell drag curl is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body. Thus, you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.

As for the long head of the bicep, it is emphasized the most due to the elbow positioning. As you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head, activating it to a very high degree.

For this exercise, you can use a barbell, dumbbell, or EZ bar all to the same effect.

Dumbbell Drag Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent and your abs are drawn in.
  2. Grab the dumbbell with a double underhand (supinated) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the Dumbbells upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

Tips

  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight
  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.

Video Illustration On 12 Most Effective LONG “OUTER” HEAD OF BICEP EXERCISES for Massive Peaks

8. Cross Body Hammer Curl

The cross-body hammer curl is a dumbbell exercise that targets the brachialis, long head and forearm muscles. Rather than lifting the weights directly in front of the body, you lift them across the torso.  

By lifting the weight across your body, you immediately place the long head of your biceps under more tension, which naturally makes it an excellent outer bicep curl if your long head is lagging.

Cross Body Hammer Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the left dumbbell upward, across your body, and toward your left shoulder.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.
  5. Repeat with your right arm and continuously do alternating arms.

Tips

  • Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
  • Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.
  • Throughout each rep, the wrists remain neutral.

9. Close Grip Cable Curl

Unlike barbell or dumbbell curls, where the resistance varies during the lift, the cable pulley provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement. The Close grip bicep cable curl is one of the best isolation exercises for the long head of bicep. It’s a pulling action performed with a cable machine and is suitable for beginners.

The cable curl is performed in a standing position by facing one end of a cable machine with the cable fixed at the bottom of the machine and set with an appropriate weight.

Cable Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Set up for the cable curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable.
  2. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up), and your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Curl the bar up toward your shoulders by bending at the elbows.
  4. Lower the weight down to the arms extended position.

Tips

  • Stand upright with the spine straight.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight as you lower it.
  • Fixing the elbows against your sides prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.

10. Close Grip Ez Bar

If you want to target your outer biceps, then this is a great exercise for you. Here, you can focus on the long head as your hands are close to each other during the movement.

The straight bar version of this exercise is excellent too. However, it can cause wrist and forearm discomfort for many lifters due to the need to use a fully supinated grip.

The close-grip EZ bar curl will emphasize the long head and build the peak of your biceps. The wide-grip EZ bar curl will emphasize the short head and give your biceps more width.

Close Grip Ez Bar

Execution Technique

  1. Stand holding an EZ-curl bar using a close supinated grip (hands closer than shoulder width apart and palms facing upward). Let the bar rest on your thighs.
  2. Keeping your elbows fixed to your sides, exhale as you curl the EZ-curl bar up toward your shoulders.
  3. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps.
  4. Inhale as you lower the EZ-curl bar to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your elbows locked to your sides and your body still. Only your forearms should move.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.

11. Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl

The dumbbell hammer preacher curl is a very effective exercise that targets the brachioradialis, brachialis, and bicep muscles.

Using a hammer/neutral grip targets more of the brachioradialis and brachialis than the biceps. It is a great variation of the preacher’s curl.

Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Adjust the preacher bench seat so that your arms are level with the top of the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral/hammer grip and rest your arm against the bench with your arm extended fully down.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbells up towards your head, keeping your arms on the bench at all times until you reach the top position.
  4. Hold for a count, squeeze and isolate your biceps.
  5. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.
  • Do not lock out your elbows to prevent a bicep tear.

12. Close Grip Pull Up

The Close grip pull up is a strength training exercise. This is a bodyweight exercise that can induce serious muscle growth of the biceps and back.  Use a close grip to target your long head biceps even more. 

While this isn’t a bicep-specific exercise like the previous ones, some of the best exercises for your biceps are compound movements like this.

We chose the neutral grip pull up because when it comes to the biceps, it targets your long head best. Whereas the wide grip pull up takes the biceps out of play more as to best emphasize the lats.

Close Grip Pull Up

Execution Technique

  1. Grasp the double pull-up bars and hang with your arms and shoulders fully extended.
  2. You can cross your feet, keep your legs straight, or bend your knees.
  3. Exhale as you pull your body up until your chin rises above the bars. Hold for a count of two.
  4. Inhale as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended.
  5. Repeat the desired number of reps.

Tips

  • Don’t get in the habit of doing half reps and chasing numbers.
  • Lower to almost full extension of the elbow but avoid locking out completely.

Common Mistake During Long Head Bicep Exercises

Many of the mistakes are often made by people trying to build bigger biceps faster. Sometimes this has to do with the organization of their biceps workout plan, and other times it’s in the execution of individual biceps exercises.

  • Lifting Too Much Weight: People too frequently take really heavy weight off the rack or use dumbbells and kettlebells that are too heavy for the exercise they’re doing.
  • Improper Form: When performing weight training with biceps, make sure to place the body in natural alignment. While doing bicep curls, your shoulders should be fixed and stable to the side along with the elbows that should be a hinge joint.
  • Letting The Elbows Flare Out: Most people focus too much on the upper arms and forget about where their elbows go during the workout. As you lift the weight up, note that the elbows are being flexed.
  • Don’t Aim for Muscle Failure: Fatiguing your biceps muscles before you start your main workout routine can be very effective, but don’t try to cause complete muscle failure when you’re only targeting the biceps.
  • Cheating Too Much: You may have seen ‘Bicep curl swingers’ at your gym. There is a time and place for cheating during bicep curls. At that critical moment where the weight is about halfway up, people tend to add in a swinging motion to help get to the top of the curl.
  • Training Too Frequently: Over-training your biceps is another mistake that should be avoided. If you want to build your biceps without compromising on the arm strength, it is necessary that you give some break to bicep workout.
  • Tempo is high: Avoid rapid execution at the starting of exercise. Maintaining the form and steady speed is more important to allow the muscles to work up and then slowly burn.

Long Head Bicep Exercises Training Technique

Training Volume (Sets and Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

Long Head Bicep Workout Sets & Reps

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6-8 reps with heavy load
  • 8-15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

The load should bring your to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective. 

Long Head Bicep Workout Frequency

The first thing we need to determine is how often you train your biceps. Of course, that depends on your experience and your goals.

For beginners or people who can only work out a few days a week, a total body 3-day split works well. That means you would do a couple of biceps exercises each workout three times per week.

More advanced lifters might work single muscle groups in each workout with a 5-day or 6-day split. This is called the bro split workout routine, and it works great for growth (despite the name).

In that case, you would work your arms for an entire workout once or twice a week. And you want to include at least a couple of long head exercises in those workouts.

Long Head Bicep Exercises Workout Samples

If your long head is lagging, and you really want to build a big bicep peak, you can prioritize it, but still don’t forget about your short head. 

Long Head Bicep Workout plan #1

  1. Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 8-15 reps.
  2. Close Grip EZ Bar: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

The Long Head Bicep Workout plan #2

  1. Dumbbell Drag Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Close Grip Barbell Curl : 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Close Grip Cable Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  4. Cross-Body Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Long Head Bicep Workout plan #3

  1. Concentration Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Close Grip Preacher Curl: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Behind The Back Cable Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  4. Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Takeaways:

Including these long head biceps exercises into your normal workout routine will help build up the peaks of your biceps and give you more impressive upper arms.

Larger biceps peaks aren’t only for appearances. Building strength in the long head biceps can also prevent serious and painful shoulder injuries.

If you try biceps exercises without the proper form, do them too quickly, or fail to warm up the shoulder adequately before beginning, that long head tendon can snap.

Remember that the slightest shift in the range of motion or hand positioning can make a significant impact.

If done correctly, these Long head bicep exercises should help you build up that impressive outer and long head bicep peak and bicep strength.

Frequently asked question 

How do you activate the long head of the bicep?

To activate the long head bicep during training, four main techniques can help you achieve that:

  • Bring your hands closer together (close grip).
  • Use a neutral grip, aka hammer grip.
  • Curling with your elbows at your side.
  • Curling with your elbows back behind you.

What bicep workouts work the long head?

There are many exercises that work the long head of the bicep. Many of them you probably already know, but maybe you didn’t realize they are best for the long head.

Use these exercises to strengthen your long head of the biceps and improve the overall function of your upper arms.

  • Incline Dumbbell Curls.
  • Close Grip Barbell Curl
  • Hammer Curls.
  • Chin-Ups.
  • Cable Hammer Curls.
  • Preacher Curls.

Do hammer curls target the long head?

Hammer curls are one of the best exercises to target the long head of the bicep as well as the brachialis.  If you’re trying to get huge peaks, hammer curls should be in your workout routine.

Do drag curls hit long head?

The dumbbell drag curl is a unique bicep curl variation that targets the long head of the bicep.  The drag curl emphasized the long head of the biceps, due to the elbow position. When you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head and activates it to a very high degree.

Do preacher curl work long head?

Using a hammer/neutral grip during preacher curl targets more of the long head bicep, brachioradialis and brachialis. The Close grip preacher curl is the best exercise to build a long head of biceps.

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