Of all the muscles in the human body, the biceps are arguably the most famous. Ask any non-exerciser or even a child to name a muscle, and invariably they’ll point to their biceps. Many men and some women want bigger biceps, and they’re an important muscle for things like climbing and pulling too. Most exercisers enjoy training their biceps.
But there is more to biceps than their size; shape matters too.
The shape of your muscles is mostly due to your genetics. Things like muscle attachment sites, muscle belly length, and tendon length are unmodifiable and determine how your muscles look. You can always make a muscle larger, but you can’t usually make it longer or change its basic shape.
However, the biceps are a little different because they have two attachment sites which mean, by changing the position of your upper arm, you can preferentially target different parts of your biceps. This could help build a higher biceps peak.
How To Build Your Biceps Peak
Building a more prominent biceps peak requires a two-pronged approach to arm training. The good news is that these peak-boosting strategies are easy to incorporate into your arm-building workouts.
Target The Long Head of Your Biceps
The biceps brachii muscle, or biceps for short, is a two-headed arm muscle with two distinct origins which merge together to form a common insertion point. The long head of the biceps starts high up on the outside of your scapulae, while the short head starts a little lower down.
The short head of the biceps gives your upper arm much of its thickness, while the long head contributes more to the height of your biceps peak. Choosing exercises that emphasize the long head of the biceps will help build a higher peak.
Increase The Size of Your Brachialis
The brachialis is a smaller, less prominent upper arm muscle, but it can help increase your biceps peak. Located underneath your biceps, if you train your brachialis, it will push the long head of your biceps upward, giving the illusion of a better biceps peak.
By choosing specific exercises, you can emphasize the long head of your biceps AND your brachialis to create higher, more peaked biceps.
The 6 Best Exercises for Building A Bigger Biceps Peak
Include 2-3 of these exercises in your next arm workout to develop a more impressive biceps peak.
1. Incline Dumbbell Curls
This exercise puts your upper arms in a stretched position, increasing the tension on the long head of your biceps.
It can also be a little hard on the shoulders, so do this exercise carefully and only after a warm-up.
How to do it:
- Set an exercise bench to 45-degrees. Sit on the bench and lean back with a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows and curl the weights forward and up to your shoulders.
- Lower the dumbbells and repeat.
- Raise both weights at the same time or use an alternating arm action as preferred.
2. Narrow Grip Barbell Curls
Most people do barbell curls with a shoulder-width grip. While there is nothing wrong with this, a narrower grip hits your brachialis more, which will help build your biceps peak.
How to do it:
- Hold a barbell with a narrow, underhand grip. Your pinkie fingers should be 2-3 inches apart. Tuck your upper arms into your sides, stand with your legs slightly bent for balance, and brace your abs.
- Bend your elbows and curl the bar up to your shoulders. Keep your wrists straight.
- Extend your arms, lower the bar, and repeat.
3. Cable Curls From Behind
This biceps peaking exercise is an excellent alternative to incline curls and is easier on your shoulders. Also, using cables means your arms are under constant tension, which may be better for muscle growth.
How to do it:
- Attach a D-shaped handle to a low cable machine and hold it in one hand. Stand with your back to the machine and take a large step forward, extending your upper arm slightly behind you. Brace your abs.
- Bend your arm and curl the handle forward and up to your shoulder.
- Extend your arm and repeat.
- Do the same number of reps on each arm.
While weight training exercises are invariably the best way to build a more prominent biceps peak, there are some bodyweight exercises you can use too. Chin-ups are usually thought of as a back exercise, but they’re also a useful biceps peak builder.
How to do it:
- Grip and hold a chin-up bar using a narrow, underhand grip. Your pinkies should be no more than six inches apart. Hang with your arms straight and feet clear of the floor. Pull your shoulders down and back.
- Bend your arms and pull your chin up and over the bar. Do not swing or kick with your legs. Let your arms do the work.
- Extend your arms and descend under control.
- Pause in the stretched position for a second and then repeat.
5. Concentration Curls
This exercise targets both the long head of your biceps and your brachialis, making it a very effective biceps peaking exercise.
Focus more on squeezing your biceps at the top of each rep than how much weight you lift. This is a good exercise for finishing your biceps workout.
How to do it:
- Sit on an exercise bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Lean forward and let the weight hang down between your knees. Rest your upper arm against the inside of your thigh. Place your free hand on your other knee for support.
- Bend your elbow and, without letting your arm move away from your leg, curl the weight up to your shoulder. Squeeze your biceps as hard as you can for 2-3 seconds.
- Lower the weight and repeat.
- Do the same number of reps on both arms.
6. Cable Spider Curls
You won’t see many people doing this exercise, and that’s a shame because it’s a killer move for building a bigger biceps peak.
How to do it:
- Attach a straight bar to a low pulley machine. Hold the bar with an underhand, narrow grip. Take 1-2 steps back and then squat down. Rest the back of your upper arms on your knees. This is your starting position.
- Bend your arms and curl the weight up until your forearms are vertical.
- Fully extend your elbows to stretch your biceps and repeat.
Big biceps are impressive, but big shapely biceps with a pronounced peak are even more so. Some people are lucky enough to have naturally peaked biceps, but with the right choice of exercises, you can always make your biceps higher.
Build mountainous arms by spending some extra time working the long head of your biceps and then propping it up by training your brachialis. This combination will give you the arms of your dreams.
For best results, train your biceps after you work your back, so they’re well warmed up, and again a few days later on their own. Working your arms twice a week (and eating nutritious food) will provide them with all the stimulus they need to get bigger and stronger, and in much less time!