long head bicep exercises

5 Best Long Head Bicep Exercises For Massive Arms

Your arms are the show muscle of the body. They’re on display all day long, even when covered with a sweater or suit jacket. And the showiest of the arm muscles are without a doubt the biceps. That’s the reason that so many guys spend so much time training them in the gym. Unfortunately, the majority of them aren’t doing it right.

In this article, I’ll break down the proper way to train your biceps, with an emphasis on the long head of the outer part of the arm. I’ll delve into a bit of upper arm anatomy, provide you with the 5 best long head biceps exercises that exist and then give some invaluable extra training tips to make sure that every minute of your bicep training time is as productive as possible. 

Biceps Anatomy

As the name implies, your biceps are comprised of two parts or ‘heads’, though there is still only one single muscle. The short head is closest to the humerus bone, with the long head partly on top of it. These two heads have different points of origin, where the muscle fiber attaches to bone, but the same insertion point. 

bicep muscles anatomy

The short head of the biceps muscle is the part that is closest to your body. As a result, it is also known as the inner head. The short head has its point of origin on the shoulder blade, while the long head, also known as the outer head, also has its origin point on the shoulder blade. The two heads come in close to the elbow to become just one tendon, before crossing the elbow joint. It then connects to the radius bone. 

 1. Bayesian Cable Curls

Step by step how to

  1. Set the pulley to the lowest position on the machine.
  2. Stand about the three about feet away from machine, facing away from it and grab the handles.
  3. Adjust your positioning so that your hands are about 8 inches behind your torso when your arms are extended.
  4. From this starting position, curl the right arm up, keeping your elbow back behind your body, and moving through an entire range of motion.
  5. Lower and repeat on the other arm.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8-20 reps.
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Double pulley cable machine

Training Tips

Start with a light weight for 20 reps, then add weight to each set as you work down to heavy weight for 8 reps. Be sure to get a full range of motion on every rep for max muscle activation. Perform your reps slowly and deliberately to enhance time under tension. You can also do this exercise as a band curl if you do not have access to a cable machine. 

2. Cable Preacher Curl

Step by step how to

  1. Put a preacher curl machine in front of a low pulley. Attach a short, straight handle to the cable.
  2. Get on the bench and drape your arms over the pad to grab the cable handle in both hands.
  3. From this starting position with your arms extended to 80 degrees, curl up to full arm contraction.
  4. Lower and repeat.
  5. Do 4 sets of 15-6 reps.


Cable pulley machine, preacher bench

Training Tips

This version of the biceps curl keeps the exercise very strict. Do not fully extend your arms to get a full range of motion as this will put you in danger of a bicep muscle tear. Pause at the peak contraction to extend time under tension. 

3. Wall Curls

Step by step how to

  1. Stand in an upright position with your back up against a wall and dumbbells held in your hands at your sides.
  2. From this starting position, curl both hands together to your deltoid muscles, forcefully contracting the biceps and getting a full range of motion.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
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Training Tips

Keep your shoulder blade against the wall at all times to keep the movement strict to maintain proper form. Do not allow your elbows to come out. Dumbbell exercises do a better job than barbells at providing unilateral muscle stimulation. You can also do this exercise with a resistance band or barbell.

4. Arm Blaster Curls

Step by step how to

  1. Place an arm blaster on and then grab hold of a pair of dumbbells.
  2. From an arms extended standing position, curl your arms one at a time to fully contract the bicep muscle.
  3. Do 4 sets of 8-12 reps.


Arm Blaster, dumbbells

Training Tips

The arm blaster allows you to perform very strict curls without momentum by keeping your elbows tight at your sides. This may mean that you have to use a lighter weight than you normally would on the standard curl. Perform drop sets to take your biceps to complete muscle failure. 

5. Head Bangers

Step by step how to

  1. Hang at full extension from a chin up bar with an underhand grip and hands about 10 inches apart. Your body position should be straight down. 
  2. Pull up to bring your chin to bar level to full elbow flexion.
  3. Now extend your arms back laterally to full arm extension.
  4. Pull back to bring your head back to the bar,
  5. Lower and repeat.


Pull Up Bar

Training Tips

This is an advanced version of peak contraction chin curls that really hits the long head of the biceps with your complete bodyweight. Do it first in your workout while you are freshest. Focus on getting a full range of motion. Wear workout gloves to prevent your hands from slipping on the bar. 

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Final Thoughts

You now have 5 exercises that allow you to target the long head of your biceps to bring out the length and thickness of your biceps muscle mass.

Combine them into a biceps workout routine of between 8 and 10 sets. Keep your reps range between a high of 20 with a lighter weight, progressively working down to a low of 6 reps with your heaviest weight. Be sure to maintain strict form with no momentum or swinging of your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you wait between bicep workouts?

You should do a bicep workout routine every 5 days. This length of time has been shown to be the sweet spot for muscle recovery time and rebuilding to allow for maximum hypertrophy ability. 

How many exercises should I do for my biceps?

You should do 2-3 biceps workout exercises for a combined total of 8-10 sets. Your biceps workout plan should include reps ranging between a high of 20 and a low of 6 reps. 

How long does it take to see growth in biceps?

The rate of muscle growth depends on a whole host of factors, including genetic potential, muscle-building nutrition, supplements, workout intensity, and proper exercise selection. If all of those things are optimal, you can gain an inch on your upper arm measurement in 6 months of training. That represents impressive arm muscle gains. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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