7 Bicep Isolation Exercises – [Workout Included]

Looking to grow your biceps and feel the pump in your arms? Try some of the following exercises and watch your biceps grow. At Fitkit, we know a thing or two about bicep exercises and how to isolate them effectively to get even bigger. 


What is a bicep isolation exercise? 

Isolation exercises are known as single-joint exercises that develop solely one muscle group. They are designed to strain specific muscles in a more targeted way, which is necessary for muscle gain and development. You should favour compound exercises (multi-joint exercises) over isolated exercises in your programme as they allow you to overload your muscles progressively. 

Bicep isolation workout

Bicep Isolation Exercises

If you want to improve your biceps muscle mass, isolation exercises can help. Below is a list of exercises to incorporate into your plan for the best results. Cherry-pick the exercises that feel the most beneficial or suitable for your workout, but browse through each in case you ever need to swap out an exercise in a busy gym. 

1. Dumbbell Bicep Curl

There are several different variations of the dumbbell bicep curl for you to choose from. You can perform a dumbbell bicep curl seated or standing up with or without wrist rotation. 

By completing a dumbbell bicep curl in a seated position, you can reduce the momentum of the arms and isolate the biceps even further.

If you opt for the no wrist rotation variation of the exercise; your palms should stay in the same position facing forwards during the exercise. However, if you incorporate the wrist rotation into your dumbbell bicep curl, your palms will face your body at the bottom of the exercise and turn them up as you get to the top. 

How to dumbbell bicep curl

2. Barbell Bicep Curl 

If you are looking to go heavier, the barbell bicep curl is one of the only bicep isolation exercises that will allow you to lift heavy weights. 

With the barbell bicep curl, the positioning of your hands is important to the part of the bicep you are targeting. To develop the outer head of the bicep, you should opt for a narrower grip; however, if you want to develop the inner portion of the bicep, you should go for a wide grip. 

You should aim for 6 to 8 reps per set, and your last few reps should feel hard to complete. 

How to barbell bicep curl

3. Concentration Curl

When completing concentration curls, the technique is easy to maintain due to the restriction of movement and positioning. Sit with your legs wide and position the bottom of your upper arm against your inner thigh for support. From here, curl a dumbbell upwards until failure. 

TOP TIP: Slowly return the weight to the original position; this will put your muscle under strain during both parts of the exercise. It is also important to complete this motion slowly to ensure you don’t overextend your elbow at the lowest point of the exercise. 

How to do a concentration curl

4. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Keeping your wrists in a neutral position, ideally facing one another, bring the dumbbell from a straight-arm relaxed position up to your shoulders, bending at the elbow. This will not only isolate your biceps but will work your forearms, and you will be able to increase the weight of the dumbbell over time. 

How to do dumbbell hammer curls

The dumbbell hammer curl can be performed standing or seated, depending on your preference. Make sure to perform the motion in a controlled manner and ensure that there is tension in the muscle during the lifting and release of the motion. 

5. Preacher Curl 

The preacher curl is one of the most effective exercises for bicep development. Performed on a bench designed for you to rest your upper arms against a tilted platform, you can easily engage the biceps as your body is in a prime position to isolate the muscle group.

The preacher curl uses the E Z bar, and we recommend starting with a light weight if you have not performed the preacher curl previously. As the arms are a stubborn muscle group to train due to excessive daily use, you can see developments by training with lower weights and higher reps. 

How to do preacher curls

6. Rope Cable Curl

Unlike any other exercise within our bicep isolation workout list, the rope cable curl is different as it optimises the cable machine instead of free weights. With the rope cable curl, the bicep has constant tension, which is ideal for muscle development and activation. 

You can either up the weight for the rope cable curl or opt for a lower weight and higher rep combination. If your gym doesn’t have a rope, you can choose to complete the rope cable curl with a single handle and train them singularly. 

How to do rope cable curls

7. Incline Dumbbell Curl 

Set the bench so that it is at a 45% incline. This exercise should target the long head of the bicep, and the more horizontal the bench is, the more the head of the muscle will be stretched. This is one of the best exercises for bicep isolation and will ensure you feel the burn. 

How to do incline dumbbell curls

Sample Bicep Isolation Workout 

Below is an example workout, which combines the bicep isolation exercises with some rough guidelines surrounding the recommended number of reps and sets you should complete.

  • Dumbbell bicep curl (8-10 reps x 3 sets)
  • Barbell bicep curl (6-8 reps x 3 sets)
  • Concentration curls (12-15 reps x 3 sets)
  • Dumbbell hammer curls (8-12 reps x 3 sets)
  • Preacher curls (8-10 reps x 3 sets) 
  • Rope cable curl (8-10 reps x 3 sets) 
  • Incline dumbbell curl (8-10 x 3 sets) 

Fitness equipment and machines for arm development 

There are many ways to build and grow your biceps, with a range of isolated exercises and different types of equipment. Whether you are looking for dumbbells to curl or specific bicep curl strength machines, we have a range of new and used equipment for you to add to your home or commercial gym. Explore the full range of weight training equipment to expand your offering for your clients or the exercises you can do in your home gym. 

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