A dumbbell exercise for biceps that can hit your abs on the identical time


Whether it’s carrying groceries, putting dishes away, or picking up your child, your arms are working hard to get you through life. With dumbbell bicep training, you can give them the attention they deserve.

Your biceps brachii, known as the biceps, is the muscle at the front of your arm. It contains two “heads” or parts. The « short head » is the inner part of the muscle closest to your body and the « long head » is the outer part, ACE Certified Personal Trainer Sivan FaganCPT, owner of Strong with Sivansays SELF.

A good bicep workout will include different bicep exercises to target different parts of the muscle. A wide grip bicep curl, for example, puts more emphasis on the short head, while a tight grip curl puts more emphasis on the long head. A regular bicep curl, on the other hand, works both heads of the muscle fairly evenly. With all three variations, you’ll hit the biceps in each, « but you’ll hit a bit more part of the muscle compared to another variation, » says Fagan.

This variety is important. « You always want to have different variations of a certain exercise because it hits the muscle fibers a little differently, » Fagan says. And by hitting muscle fibers differently, you can promote full muscle development and joint stability while reducing your risk of injury, she explains.

The under biceps routine, which Fagan created for SELF, includes both a wide-grip biceps curl as well as a single-arm regular-grip biceps curl. It also features two variations of the row, a classic upper body move that works your biceps as well as your back. Although a row is a compound movement that works various larger muscles, your biceps play an important role in assisting the movement.

It’s important to note that two of the four movements in this workout are single-arm or unilateral, which means that only one arm works at a time. Compared to two-arm or bilateral exercises, where both arms work together, one-arm exercises require more core stability because your core muscles must engage to keep your spine from rotating. So while one-arm moves primarily target your upper body, they also do some sneaky work for your abs and other core muscles.

Another benefit of one-arm exercises is that they allow you to put more strain on your muscles. « You’ll still be able to support more weight on one side than when doing both at the same time, » says Fagan. At the same time, double arm exercises like traditional rows and curls are also important for overall functional strength, which is why this routine also includes two double arm movements.

The routine below works well for completing a cardio session, lower body workout, or upper body push-up workout focusing on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It could also be a stand-alone workout on days when you’re really pressed for time, says Fagan. In this case, just be aware that this would be considered additional strength work, rather than a super comprehensive upper body routine, as it focuses on just biceps and back. A more comprehensive upper-body routine, Fagan says, would hit the chest, triceps, and shoulders in addition to the back and biceps.

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