Over the years, a number of studies have sought to investigate the best biceps exercises. It might surprise you at first—after all, have you ever read an article about the best way to fill out the sleeves of your lab coat? But on the other hand, you know the first thing you’d do if you ever got access to an EMG machine would be to hook it up to your guns. Be honest.
So what’s the usual winner? The concentration curl, a staple in the bodybuilding regimens of golden era lifters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. But here’s the catch: We’ve never met a single bodybuilder who whole-heartedly agreed.
Why the discrepancy? For one, experienced lifters know that while muscle activation matters, it isn’t the only thing that matters. At some point, the amount of weight you can move counts, too! Otherwise, exercises like leg extensions, which can have a higher EMG score for quads than squats and leg press, would dominate the leg workouts of champion bodybuilders. Of course, squats are the better move—and not just for quads.
So be forewarned: There’s a lot of info—and a lot of personal judgement—backing up our list of the best biceps moves, just like there was when we rated the best back, leg, triceps, and chest exercises. You don’t have to consider it a definitive list; just take it as the start of the discussion, and then go start investigating for yourself!