Biceps make up one-third of the upper arm, and really help to give them that heightened look with the peak. The biceps, a two-headed muscle, is made up of a long head, and a short head. The long head is the outer head that really gives the biceps that peak, while the short head is on the inner portion and contributes more to overall bicep width. So, what is the best exercise for biceps mass?
In case it was not obvious, the barbell curl is the best exercise for building biceps mass. The barbell curl is an isolation exercise, meaning it only uses one joint, and it allows you to go heavier than you might be able to on other curl variations. The method to hit each head of the biceps independently relies on your grip. A grip slightly wider than shoulder width focuses much more on the short head of the biceps for the width. A grip at shoulder width focuses on both heads of the biceps and provides overall mass. A grip slightly inside shoulder width focuses on the long head of the biceps and helps to build that peak.
There are many other variations you can do aside from changing the grip. With barbell curls, you can do as many good form reps with a certain weight, then have a training partner or partners take off plates and you can do more reps for a dropset. Also, you can do cheat reps, which allow you to lift heavier weights, despite incorporating the front deltoids more so. You can do forced reps where a training partner helps you curl the weight up and you let the bar down slowly in order to tear the most muscle fiber. You can also do 21s, which is a method Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed using to shock the muscles. 21s is a method where you do 7 reps on the bottom half of the range of motion, stopping at the midpoint, then 7 more reps from the midpoint to the top half of the range of motion, and finally 7 full reps.
As you can see, there are many different variations for barbell curls that can be used to build those guns. But in terms of building overall biceps growth, there is little debate that barbell curls are the most effective. And, if you find that your shoulders are involved a little bit too much, you could always grab an arm blaster, push your elbows against that, and rep it out. Barbell curls in different variations and with different intensity techniques can be used to build both the long and short heads of the biceps.