For anyone who has ever stepped into a gym, it should come as no surprise that well-developed biceps are one of the most coveted training outcomes among workout enthusiasts. For years, biceps exercises have ranked in the Top 10 most popular searches on Google for workouts and exercises and they have consistently graced the pages of men's and women's fitness publications each month.
But building strength and muscle mass in the arms isn't just for show. The biceps serve a very important function for activities of everyday life (e.g., carrying groceries, lifting children, pulling doors open, etc.).Unfortunately, there has been little research to determine what exercises work best for targeting the biceps.
Keeping with its role as America's Workout Watchdog®, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned an independent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, to evaluate which of the most popular moves most effectively strengthen the biceps brachii.
"Part of our mission is to ensure people have the science-based information they need to safely and effectively achieve their health and fitness goals. For many people, that means selecting the most effective exercises for targeting the biceps," said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant, Ph.D. "This study helped us identify which exercise produced the highest degree of biceps engagement."
Led by John Porcari, PhD, researchers recruited 16 healthy female and male volunteers to evaluate the cable curl, barbell curl, concentration curl, chin-up, EZ curl (both wide and narrow grip), incline curl and preacher curl.
Using data from electrodes attached to the biceps brachii, anterior deltoid and brachioradialis of each subject, muscle activity was measured during each exercise.
After analyzing data, the researchers observed that the concentration curl elicited significantly higher muscle activity in the biceps than any of the others. Concentration curls are performed with the upper arm pressed against the leg, resulting in better isolation of the biceps muscle. During the other exercises movements, the upper arm is able to sway and contribute the movement as indicated by a higher level of anterior deltoid muscle activity. According to Bryant, "It's important to note, however, that several of the other exercises elicited more than adequate biceps muscle activation and can serve as viable options for improving biceps muscle strength and function."
To view the full study, visit http://bit.ly/acebicepstudy