Targeting the Biceps
Traditionally described as a two-headed muscle, the biceps (biceps brachii) is one of the most variable muscles of the human body.
When training the bicep muscles, it is important to distinguish between the long head and the short head of the biceps. The long head is the outer portion of the muscle and the short head is in the inner portion of the muscle.
It is important at this stage we point out that there is some debate as to what are considered the best exercises and techniques for isolating each head of the biceps, the two most notable being the Elbow Theory and the Grip Theory:
- Elbow Theory: This theory argues that the key to targeting each head in the biceps is based on the proximity of the arms in relation to the body, stating that when the elbows are pulled back behind the body, this targets the long head more (elbows in front of the body are better for targeting the short head).
- Grip Theory: This theory places importance on grip placement and angles as primary factors for targeting each biceps head. Using a supinated grip (palms up) targets the short head.
The Biceps Long Head
If you only have a really strong long head, your biceps will look huge from the side, but flat from the front.
Recommended Exercise: Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl
This is a great overall biceps exercise, which particularly emphasises the biceps long head (that nice stretch you feel? That’s the long head).