There are many ways to work the biceps. What bicep exercise is the best? A new ACE (American Council on Exercise) commissioned study has an answer to this question!

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse wanted to find out what exercises activated the biceps bracchi the most. They recruited 8 men and 8 women ages 18 to 24 to participate in the study.

Over two days, participants performed 8 exercises while wearing electrodes on their biceps brachii, anterior deltoid, and brachioradialis. Participants lifted 70% of their one rep maximum with 2 minutes between exercises. They were tested while performing the following exercises:

  • Cable curl
  • Barbell curl
  • Concentration curl
  • Chin-up
  • EZ Curl (with both wide and narrow grip)
  • Incline curl
  • Preacher curl

All of the exercises activated the biceps brachii. However, one exercise was the clear winner. Drum roll please… the concentration curl! The concentration curl produced more than 95% activation of the biceps brachii and less activation of the anterior deltoid than most other exercises. The rest of the exercises produced muscle activation of the biceps bracchi ranging between slightly under 70% (preacher curl) to just above 80% (cable curl).

Researchers conclude concentration curls should be part of your workout routine. They also suggest including some of the other exercises, as well, for a functional workout involving multiple muscles used in everyday life.

Want to show off your “guns”? Add the concentration curl into your arm routine to isolate and activate the biceps bracchi!

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