15 Bicep Peak Exercises (Plus, Sample Program)

bicep peak exercises

Training to develop bicep peaks is not as simple as doing a few curls. 

You need to train the biceps with intensity, and a wide variety of movements to isolate the areas of the bicep that contribute to developing the peaks on your arms.

If you are looking to build bigger bicep peaks, you need to prioritize work more isolated exercises like incline curls, spider curls, and preacher curls, and ensure you’re working with a set and rep range that encourages hypertrophy (muscle growth).  

Below, we will discuss how to build a bicep peak, what exercises you should be adding to your biceps workouts, and give you a sample bicep peak workout plan.

If you are looking for a workout program to help you build bigger bicep peaks, be sure to check out the FitBod app and try workouts for free. 

Overview of the Biceps Muscles

barbell curl

The bicep muscle has two main heads (the short and long head). 

Short Head

The short head of the biceps runs on the inside of the arm down to the inner elbow, and is targeted by performing curls with wider grips and a more supinated (palms up) wrist position. 

The short head can often help develop more thickness (width) of the bicep (from the front view). 

You can also target the short head more by doing curls with the elbows in front of the body. 

A movement like barbell curls where you allow the elbows to lift as you curl is a good short head bicep variation.

Long Head

The long head of the biceps runs on the lateral side of the arm, and has a more pronounced peak. 

Developing the long head will give the arm a wider appearance from the side view, and give you the peak you are after. 

Exercises that have the elbows back behind the shoulder, performed with a narrow grip, and a more neutral wrist position are all good options. 

Hammer curls, close grip barbell curls, and seated incline dumbbell curls are all exercises that target the long head.


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How Do You Build a Bicep Peak

bicep workout

Below are a few tips to help you build a bicep peak.

1. Train the Biceps At Least Twice Per Week

Training the biceps at least twice per week allows you to add more training volume and stimulus to the muscle.

 Ideally, you would be training the amrs hard and allowing 48-72 hours between arm days. 

You could even train the arms three times per week if you had the time and wanted to really stimulate muscle growth.

2. Prioritize Exercises That Target the Long Head

Training both heads of the biceps is key for overall development, however if you want it to specifically target the bicep peaks, you need to make sure you are training the long head of the biceps. 

To target the long head, you want to make sure you are doing curls with a narrower grip..

3. Train In the Full Range of Motion

Training in the full range of motion allows you to stimulate the entire muscle in every rep. 

Cutting reps should leave gains on the table, so make sure you lower the weight slowly and hit the full stretch on the muscle. 

Once you fail with these full range reps, you could then do a few partial range reps to get a little more volume in.

4. Train Biceps BEFORE Back, If You Train them On the Same Day

If you train biceps on the same day as you do back, you will want to train the biceps first so that you can train them directly starting from a fresh, and strong starting point. 

While training them after back isn’t the worst idea, if you are looking to build bigger peaks you want to make sure to prioritize that first on your training day.

5. Train the Biceps with Heavy and Light Weight

Like most muscles, the biceps should be trained in a variety of rep ranges and intensities. 

Training with heavier weights in the 5-10 rep range can help stimulate a muscle growth. Bicep barbell curls and chin ups are great movements to do this with. 

You’ll also want to include some lighter weight training days, where you train the biceps in the 10-15 or even 20-30 rep range, using a weight where you reach failure within those rep ranges. 

Training higher reps will help you get a ton of blood flow and metabolite build up into the muscle and compliment your heavier training. 

Performing more of the isolated movements in this rep range is ideal.

15 Bicep Peak Exercises

Note: Each of the exercises below can also be found on the Fitbod app.

The 15 best bicep peak exercises are: 

  • Barbell Curl
  • Chin Up
  • Barbell Bicep Drag Curl
  • Incline Hammer Curl
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  • Machine Preacher Curl
  • Cable Bicep Curl
  • Single Arm Cable Bicep Curl
  • Cable Double Bicep Curl
  • TRX Bicep Curl
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  • Loop Band Bicep Curl
  • Loop Band Hammer Curl
  • Handle Band Bicep Curl

1. Barbell Curl

The barbell is a great mass building exercise that can also be done with a variety of grip widths to target the short vs long head of the biceps. 

When looking to train the long head, grab the bar with a narrower grip and perform bicep curls, making sure it goes all the way down. 

Be careful not to swing the weight, but instead focus on lifting the weight with the elbows into the body and pointing downwards towards the ground.

How To: 

  • Grab the barbell a shoulder width or slightly narrower grip, and perform a standard barbell curl. 
  • You want to make sure you do these with your elbow tucked into the body and do not swing the weight.

Pro Tip: Try taking a staggered stance, and allow the torso to lean slightly forward while keeping your chest up. This can help increase the range of motion and have you keep the bar off the body at the bottom.

2. Chin Up

The chin up is a great bodyweight exercise that can build muscle mass. 

Taking a narrower grip on these, even ones with a neutral grip (instead of supinated) will further help you isolate the long head of the biceps better.

How To: 

  • Grab a bar or chin up handles with a narrow grip, and start from the hanging position (arms straight). Pull yourself up by making sure you keep the elbows into the body (don’t let them flare out) and pull your chin up over the bar. Lower yourself slowly and get full elbow extension, and repeat.

Pro Tip: Play around with your grip width, as you want to make sure you can have all your fingers on the bar (pinkies) too. If you have trouble with your wrists not staying supinated, try taking a wider grip.

3. Barbell Bicep Drag Curl

The barbell drag curl is done similar to the barbell curl, however you do not let the elbows move forward at all as you lift the weight. 

Your priority here is to keep the elbows back and drag the barbell up the front of the body, which helps to load the long head of the biceps up more.

How To: 

  • Take a narrow grip on the barbell, and set yourself up like you would a barbell curl. Perform a curl, but do not let the bar come off the body, which will force the elbows to move backwards as you lift the weight to the chest. 

Pro Tip: Think about lifting the thumbs to the armpits, and allow the elbows to move upwards and back as the bar comes to the chest.

4. Incline Hammer Curl

The incline hammer curl is a great exercise to target the long head of the bicep, which will contribute to building a bigger peak. 

The incline bench will place the elbow back more to expose the long head and train the fullest range of motion, and the neutral hammer grip will emphasize the long head as well.

How To:

  • Set an adjustable bench so the back support is about 30 degree reclined from upright. Sit down and grab two dumbbells, one in each hand, and have the palms facing you. Let the arms hang down, and perform a hammer curl, making sure to not let the shoulder rounded forward or the elbows more forwards as you lift the weight.

Pro Tip: You don’t need to lift the dumbbells all the shoulders. Rather, stop them at around chest height, as pause there to get a good contraction.

5. Incline Dumbbell Curl

The incline dumbbell curl is similar to the incline hammer curl, with the only difference being that you do not need to have the palms facing the body. This is a standard dumbbell curl, however the incline curl does load up the long head more since the elbow is positioned back more.

How To: 

  • Do this the same way you would an incline hammer curl, with the exception that you can have your palms far forward instead of towards the body.

Pro Tip: You need to really focus on keeping the chest up, shoulder back, and squeeze your shoulderblades together. This will help you expose the bicep at is origin (at the shoulder)..

6. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The dumbbell hammer curl targets the long head of the biceps since the lifter has a neutral grip (palms facing the body). This positioning, coupled with keeping the elbows back in the curl, can help build bigger peaks.

How To: 

  • Stand tall and perform a regular curl with the palms facing your body. You want to make sure to not let the elbows lift forwards as you curl.

Pro Tip: Make sure you do not hunch your shoulder forward as you lift the weight, as this decreases the range of motion and doesn’t allow you to get the best contraction that you could.

7. Machine Preacher Curl

This can be done to build bigger arms in general, and hits both the short and long head of the biceps. Bigger arms will also lead to bigger peaks, so you want to make sure that you are still training the short head of the bicep as well.

How To: 

  • Sit down in a machine preacher curl position and perform a bicep curl, making sure to keep the back of the arms on the pads.

Pro Tip: Try to train in the fullest range of motion, without relaxing at the bottom or the top position. Keeping tension on the muscle at all times is key..

8. Cable Bicep Curl

The cable bicep curl can be done to train the short and long head of the biceps, contributing to more arm growth. You can use a variety of grips to also target various areas of the arm.

How To: 

  • Stand in front of a cable stack and place the pulley at the low position, with a handle attachment. You can use a straight bar, rope, or v bar. With your elbows to your sides, perform a curl in the full range of motion, making sure it does not swing the elbows upwards.

Pro Tip: Stand 2-3 feet away from the cable, so that the cable isnt directly underneath you. This will allow you to have tension at the bottom of the curl, and to have your hands and elbows slightly in front of you to increase the range of motion.

9. Single Arm Cable Bicep Curl

Doing single arm cable bicep curls can be helpful if looking to bring up a weak arm, or if you have troubles getting food muscle contractions with both arms at once. Doing them one arm at a time allows you to place all your focus on one arm at a time and expose any weaknesses you may have.

How To: 

  • You will do this just like a cable bicep curl, however you will need to use a D-handle attachment so that you can lift the weight with one arm at a time. 

Pro Tip: It may be helpful to place yourself slightly offset from the pulley so that the side of the body you are working is in alignment with the pulley itself.

10. Cable Double Bicep Curl

This is a good cable bicep curl exercise to train the short head of the muscle and help you get better arm growth and thickness of the bicep. 

How To: 

  • To do this, stand in the middle of the cable system and set the D-handles at shoulder width. Grab one in each hand with your arms to your sides, like a “T”. Perform a biceps curl, keeping the elbows up (in line with the pulley).

Pro Tip: Move slightly forward with your feet once you are set up, as this will help you not hunch forward as you curl the hands into the body.

11. TRX Cable Curl

The TRX cable curl is a good exercise to train the biceps without needing free weights, as you can adjust your body posture to make it harder or easier spending on your abilities.

How To: 

  • Stand in front of a TRX anchor and face the straps. Grab the handles and lift the arms in front of you, with your palms up. Perform a bicep curl, lifting the elbows upwards as you curl yourself, making sure to pull the pinkies to eye level. As you lower back down, keep your elbows elevated, as dropping them would decrease the loading on the biceps.

Pro Tip: Keep the elbows high as you do this. The lower they are the less biceps are involved.

12. Dumbbell Bicep Curl

The dumbbell bicep curl is done like a regular barbell curl, with the exception that you are using dumbbells which move independently of one another, and can help address strength or muscle growth asymmetries. You can also add in some wrist pronation or supination to find the angles that are best for your wrists.

How To: 

  • Stand with two dumbbells, one in each hand, with the arms down to your sides. Turn the palms forward, and stand up tall. Perform a curl and make sure that you do not swing the weight upwards.

Pro Tip: As you curl the weights upwards, keep you elbows into your sides and think about turning the pinkies up to the sky. 

13. Loop Band Bicep Curl

The loop band is a versatile piece of equipment that you can do biceps with. While you may not be able to get great loafing throughout the full range of motion, it can be a good way to train the arms with little equipment. 

How To: 

  • Stand on a loop band, and grab the sides. Perform a standing curl the same way you would with dumbbells, with the hands grabbing the loop band in a neutral position (like a hammer curl).

Pro Tip: Make sure you have the band securely underneath your foot.

14. Loop Band Hammer Curl

You can do the hammer curl with a loop band by turning the wrists so that they are in a more neutral position. This will help load up the long head of the biceps

How To: 

  • Stand on a loop band, and grab the sides. Perform a standing curl the same way you would with dumbbells, with the hands grabbing the loop band in a neutral position (like a hammer curl).

Pro Tip: Stagger your stance and have the band under your front foot. This will make sure the bands are anchored slightly in front of you so that you can have a greater range of motion.

15. Handle Band Bicep Curl

The handle bands are similar to a loop band, with the exception that they have built-in handles for you to grab into, making it a bit easier to keep your grip while doing exercises.

How To: 

  • This is done just like the loop band bicep curls above, however you will grab the handles as you do it.

Pro Tip: The handles are great because they can really help you make sure to curl with the palms up. Make sure to do this, and even try to turn the pinkies upwards at the top as well.

Mistakes to Avoid When Training the Long Head of the Bicep

cable bicep curl

Below are three of the most common mistakes to avoid when training the long head of the biceps for bigger bicep peaks.

Don’t Lift Your Elbows Too Far Forward

Lifting the elbows up when you do curls is not wrong, in fact it’s a great way to build muscle mass and target the short head of the biceps better. 

But if you are after a long head, and looking to build massive bicep peaks, you will want to keep your elbows back (closer to your body) when you do curls. 

Don’t Do Half Reps

Half reps may be a cool way to boost your ego, but they will do little in helping you isolate the long head as effectively as you could. 

When training the long head, you want to perform the curl in the fullest range of motion to get the biggest stretch on the muscle. 

Don’t Use a Wide Grip

Using a wide grip when doing curls is a great way to build the short head of the biceps, however if you want to really isolate the long head of the bicep you are going to want to use a more narrow grip. 

Sample Bicep Peak Program

Below is a 2-day bicep peak program for all levels using barbells, dumbbells, and cables. These workouts should be done in the same week, 2-3 days apart to allow for full recovery between sessions.

Note For Fitbod Users

  • All of the below exercises can be found in the Fitbod app, making it even easier to learn proper form (videos), track your progress, and adjust your week to week workouts to achieve optimal results.
  • However, these workouts may not appear exactly as they are below in the Fitbod app. The workouts below are examples to demonstrate how you potentially could structure your workouts in the Fitbod app using the recommendations in this article.

Day 1 – HEAVY WEIGHT Bicep Peak Workout 

  • Incline Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 5-10 reps, resting 90-120 seconds between sets. Make sure to go all the way down and get a full stretch on the long head. As you curl, do not allow the elbows to move forward.
  • Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 5-10 reps, using a narrower grip (hip width or slightly inside). Rest 90-120 seconds between sets, and use strict form. 
  • Cable Bicep Curl: 4 sets of 5-10 reps, using a narrower grip (or an angled curl bar if possible). Rest 90-120 seconds between sets. 

Day 2 – HIGH REP Bicep Peak Workout

  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, resting 90 seconds between reps. After each set, perform a drop set by decreasing the weight 10% and doing as many reps as you can.
  • Cable Double Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, resting 90 seconds between reps. After each set, perform a drop set by decreasing the weight 10% and doing as many reps as you can.
  • Machine Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, resting 90 seconds between reps. After each set, perform a drop set by decreasing the weight 10% and doing as many reps as you can. Perform these with a narrower grip.

Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try Fitbod for free.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Exercises Work the Peak of the Bicep?

Bicep exercises that are done with a narrow grip, the palms neutral, and the elbows behind the shoulder joint (or at least not in front) are some of the best ways to work the peak of the biceps. Exercise like the hammer curl, incline hammer curl, narrow grip barbell curl, and drag curl are all great ways to work the peak of the bicep.

Do Hammer Curls Work Bicep Peak?

Yes, hammer curls work the bicep peak as they primarily target the long head of the bicep. The hammer curl targets the long head as it is done with a more neutral wrist position and requires that the elbows do not move forwards as you lift the weight.


About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.