Exercises for the Long Head of the Bicep

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Running down the front of each of your upper arms is your biceps brachii, a muscle primarily responsible for bending your elbow and rotating your wrist from a palm down to palm up position. The biceps has two separate heads, including the short head and long head. Because of where the long head originates at your shoulder, it’s able to do more than just bend your elbow and rotate your wrist. When putting together a battery of exercises that develop the long head of the biceps, include exercises covering all the movements the long head is involved in.

Long Head

  • Both the short and long head of the biceps insert at your radius just below your elbow. While the short head of the biceps originates at the coracoid process of your scapula bone, the long head goes beyond that position and originates at your supraglenoid tuberosity bone in your shoulder joint. Because it crosses both your elbow and shoulder joints, not only is it able to perform elbow flexion, it also flexes your shoulder joint. Therefore, according to Mark Robertson of Bodybuilding.com, to focus on the long head, extend your shoulder slightly behind your torso whenever you’re completing biceps exercises. This motion elongates your long head and forces it to work harder.

Seated Incline Curls

  • To perform seated incline curls, you’ll need an exercise bench and a pair of dumbbells. Set the bench so that it’s reclined at either 45 or 60 degrees. Sit on the bench and recline back while holding the dumbbells with your arms hanging to the floor and your palms facing each other. Begin with your right arm. Bend your right elbow and rotate your wrist so that it faces the ceiling to bring the dumbbell up to the right shoulder. Lower it back down, rotating your wrist inward to return to starting position. Repeat the exercise on the left arm and continue alternating until you’re finished with the set.

Concentration Curls

  • According to ExRx.net, the long head of the biceps is more heavily recruited than the short head during concentration curls. Sit on the edge of the bench and hold a single dumbbell in your right hand. Lean forward slightly and place your right elbow against the inside of your right thigh. Begin with your elbow fully extended so that the dumbbell hangs toward the floor. Bend your elbow to lift the dumbbell up to your shoulder and then lower it back to starting position. Complete all repetitions on your right side and then switch arms.

Drag Curls

  • The drag curl places focus on the long head because you start the movement by extending your shoulders. The exercise can be performed with either a pair of dumbbells or a barbell. Stand and hold the weight in front of your thighs with your palms facing forward. Slide the weight up your thighs and then your torso by driving your elbows backwards to extend your shoulders. Once your forearms are parallel to the floor, bend your elbows to lift the weight all the way to your shoulders. Lower the weight back to starting position and then repeat.

Training Tips

  • The exercises can be done independently, but those looking to build size in their biceps should perform them in the same biceps workout. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise while using a weight that causes your biceps to become tired at the end of each set. If you're incorporating the long head of the biceps into your full-body workout, perform these exercises after you've done all multi-joint exercises, such as pullups and rows, for which the biceps are involved. You don't want them to be fatigued during multi-joint exercises.

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  • Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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