Top 5 Exercises for Building Peak Mass


The biceps are arguably the most popular muscle in the body for male bodybuilders. This is why bicep curls follow as one of the most popular exercises. But, what many athletes may not know is that there are many different variations of curling exercises. In fact, each variation is better for activating different areas of the biceps brachii muscle.

This is because the biceps brachii muscle has two heads, hence the ‘bi’ fixture at the start of the name. As such, each head has a slightly different action on the arm and is better activated with different exercises.

One of the elements of this muscle that many lifters want to develop is the ‘peak,’ or the topmost part of the flexed bicep. The part that forms this shape is the outer, long head of the bicep. So, when looking to improve the ‘peak’ of the arms, then both the development of the bicep and targeting of the long head is necessary.

So, below, the top five best exercises to help develop upper arm mass and stimulate the long head of the bicep are given.

#1: Incline Bench Curls

Targeted Muscle: Long Head of the Biceps Brachii

One of the main differences between the long and short head of the biceps is that the long head stretches across the shoulder joint. This means that to optimally stimulate this head, you need to stretch the shoulder joint behind the body.

By sitting on an incline bench and placing the arms at an angle behind the body, this places more emphasis on the outer head of the biceps. This will then allow for better peak development.

#2: Lying Curls

Targeted Muscle: Long Head of the Biceps Brachii

This exercise is a good progression from the incline bench curls. But, it is more difficult due to the larger stretch placed on the shoulder and bicep because of a greater angle.

Also, this greater angle usually means that less weight can be lifted than in conventional curling. This could impact some aspects of muscle growth. There is also an increased risk of injury. But, with regular exercise variation and progression this exercise can make a good addition to your training program.

#3: Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Targeted Muscle: Short Head of the Biceps Brachii, Brachialis

While this exercise may not be the best for targeting the long head of the biceps, it is a great movement for stimulating growth in the brachioradialis, which sits under the long head and can push the 'peak’ higher when flexed.

Another benefit of this exercise is that it is usually the one in which lifters can move the most weight. Because the amount of tension placed on the muscles key to its development, this is a significant perk and a good reason to make sure hammer curls are included in your arm workout.

#4: Barbell Curls

Targeted Muscle: Long Head of the Biceps Brachii, Short Head of the Biceps

Just like hammer curls, barbell curls allow a lot of weight to be lifted and a high amount of tension to be placed on both the long and short head of the biceps, making this a good all round exercise to grow the arms.

To avoid placing too much tension on the short inner head of the bicep, make sure that your arms are shoulder width apart and to use a straight barbell if possible.

#5: Rotating Body-Crossing Dumbbell Curls

Targeted Muscle: Long and Short Head of the Biceps Brachii

Another aspect separating them long head from the short head of the biceps is that the long head is also involved in rotating the arm outwards. So, by using exercises that cause the arm to externally rotate as well as curl will place more stress on the outer head.

Crossing the dumbbell across the body while rotating the head outwards will help further develop the long head while also providing stimulation to the short head for good overall bicep stimulation.


While all the above exercises are good for bicep growth on their own, the best approach for maximizing arm do is to include a mixture of these movements and vary them across a program. This allows for greater muscle damage, stimulation of more muscle fibers and prevents training plateaus.

Nutrition is also an important factor, ensuring you are taking in enough protein as well as other anabolic supplements, like those from Olympus UK SARMS, can help maximize muscle growth in your arms and help build a great bicep peak.

Richie Hedderman started Hurricane Fitness in 2011. Starting out as a Boxer at the age of 11 and winning County, Provincial, National and International medals in Boxing, he began running fitness classes and personal training. 

Since then he has gone on to work alongside Olympic, World and European Champions and has trained many clients, both at home and abroad, with a wide range of goals and needs.

You can find him on his website; or on his facebook or Instagram page


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