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How to Train Your Biceps Short Head for Bigger and Stronger Arms

If you're looking to build stronger arms it's crucial to focus on training both the long head and inner (short head) parts of your biceps. The long head is responsible for giving your arms that peak when flexed while the short head adds width and thickness.

Unfortunately, many individuals tend to overlook the importance of targeting the short head in their bicep workouts either due to lack of knowledge or considering it less significant. However, incorporating exercises that specifically target the short head can greatly enhance arm development, ensure balanced proportions and minimize potential injuries.

In this article we will guide you through some exercises for training your biceps short head. Whether you prefer working out at home or hitting the gym we'll also provide explanations on why these exercises are beneficial and how to execute them correctly. Let's dive in!


What is the Biceps Short Head and What Does It Do?

The biceps brachii muscle is located in the arm running from the shoulder to the elbow. It consists of two parts known as the head and the short head, which have origins and functions.

The short head of the biceps originates from a projection on the shoulder blade called the coracoid process. It attaches to a bump on the forearm bone called the tuberosity. Its main roles include flexing the elbow (bringing your forearm closer to your arm) , supinating the forearm (turning your palm up) and adducting the shoulder (bringing your arm closer to your body).

On the hand originating from a notch on the shoulder blade called tubercle is the long head of biceps, which also inserts into that same attachment point as its counterpart. The long head functions in elbow flexion, forearm supination and shoulder abduction (moving your arm away from your body).

As you can observe both heads of the biceps serve purposes. Differ when it comes to their impact on movements involving the shoulder joint. The short head pulls your arm inward while engaging with it whereas it's primarily responsible for pulling your arm when activated. 

You have the option to highlight either your biceps or another muscle group by adjusting the positioning of your arms during bicep exercises.


How to Target Your Biceps Short Head

young man in sportswear an exercise class in a gym

To effectively work your biceps, short head position your arms closer to your body than your shoulders. This positioning minimizes the engagement of the long head and maximizes the activation of the short head.

Some ways to achieve this position are:

  • Using a wide grip on barbell or EZ-bar curls
  • Using a preacher bench or an incline bench for curls
  • Using a hammer grip or a neutral grip on dumbbell or cable curls
  • Using a chin-up grip on pull-ups or lat pulldowns

These guidelines are not set in stone as it is nearly impossible to separate one part of a muscle from another. However, these general principles can assist you in directing attention towards your biceps head and increasing its workload.

The Best Biceps Short Head Exercises

Now that you have an understanding of how to focus on your biceps short head, lets explore some effective exercises that can be incorporated into your training routine. We will provide instructions on how to perform each exercise, highlight the specific muscles targeted and discuss the benefits they offer.

1. Wide-Grip Barbell Curl

The wide grip barbell curl is an exercise for developing both size and strength in the biceps short head. When you use a wider grip it specifically targets that portion of your biceps and minimizes the engagement of other muscles.

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight with a barbell in your hands, using an underhand grip that is wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides and your chest up.
  • Curl the bar up toward your shoulders, squeezing your biceps at the top.
  • Lower the bar back down with control, keeping tension on your muscles.
  • Repeat for as many reps as desired.

What muscles does it work:

  • Biceps brachii (short head)
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Forearm flexors

What benefits does it offer:

  • Increases muscle mass and strength in your biceps short head
  • Improves elbow stability and mobility
  • Enhances grip strength and forearm development

2. Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is an exercise that targets the head of your biceps. When you use a bench or an incline bench it helps to prevent any cheating or swinging movements while performing the curl. Additionally this exercise allows for a stretch of your biceps, at the bottom of each repetition, which enhances both the range of motion and muscle damage.

How to do it:

  • Sit on a preacher bench or an incline bench with a barbell, an EZ-bar, or a pair of dumbbells in your hands, using an underhand grip.
  • Rest your upper arms on the pad and extend your elbows fully.
  • Curl the weight up toward your face, keeping your wrists straight and your elbows fixed.
  • Lower the weight back down until your arms are straight, feeling a stretch in your biceps.
  • Repeat for as many reps as desired.

What muscles does it work:

  • Biceps brachii (short head)
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Forearm flexors

What benefits does it offer:

  • Isolates your biceps short head and minimizes cheating
  • Increases the range of motion and the muscle damage in your biceps
  • Improves the peak contraction and the mind-muscle connection in your biceps

3. Spider Curl

The spider curl is a modified version of the preacher curl exercise that focuses on your biceps short head from a perspective. By leaning over a bench or bar you position your arms in front of your body, which increases the pressure on the section of your biceps. Additionally this technique prevents any involvement or support from muscles by eliminating momentum.

How to do it:

  • Set up a bench at a 45-degree angle or use the back of an incline bench.
  • Grab a barbell, an EZ-bar, or a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and lie face down on the bench, with your chest resting on the top and your feet on the floor.
  • Let your arms hang down perpendicular to the floor, with your elbows fully extended.
  • Curl the weight up toward your face, keeping your elbows in place and your wrists straight.
  • Lower the weight back down until your arms are straight, keeping tension on your biceps.
  • Repeat for as many reps as desired.

What muscles does it work:

  • Biceps brachii (short head)
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Forearm flexors

What benefits does it offer:

  • Targets your biceps short head from a different angle and creates more tension
  • Eliminates any momentum or assistance from other muscles
  • Improves the peak contraction and the mind-muscle connection in your biceps

4. Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is an exercise that targets muscles in your arms including both heads of your biceps, your brachialis and your forearm muscles. When you use a grip during this exercise it puts focus on the short head of your biceps while also minimizing strain on your wrists.

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, using a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides and your chest up.
  • Curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, keeping your palms facing each other and your wrists straight.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down with control, keeping tension on your muscles.
  • Repeat for as many reps as desired.

What muscles does it work:

  • Biceps brachii (both heads)
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Forearm flexors

What benefits does it offer:

  • Works both heads of your biceps and improves their overall development
  • Strengthens your brachialis and enhances the thickness of your arms
  • Increases grip strength and forearm development

5. Chin-Up

The chin up is an exercise that not only helps in developing a strong back but also targets the biceps short head. When you use a grip that's shoulder width apart or narrower it engages the inner part of your biceps more effectively and provides a challenging workout using your body weight.

How to do it:

  • Grab a pull-up bar with both hands, using an underhand grip that is shoulder-width apart or narrower.
  • Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your legs crossed behind you.
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, squeezing your biceps at the top.
  • Lower yourself back down with control until your arms are straight, keeping tension on your muscles.
  • Repeat for as many reps as possible.

What muscles does it work:

  • Biceps brachii (short head)
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Deltoids
  • Forearm flexors

What benefits does it offer:

  • Activates more of the inner part of your biceps and challenges them with bodyweight resistance
  • Builds a strong back and improves posture and stability
  • Enhances grip strength and forearm development

How to Incorporate These Exercises Into Your Routine

Once you have familiarized yourself with the exercises for targeting your biceps short head you may be curious about how to integrate them into your workout regimen. To assist you in this endeavor here are a few tips and recommendations.

  • When planning your arm workouts it's an idea to prioritize exercises that target your biceps short head. For instance you could structure a workout day focused on biceps by starting with wide grip barbell curls. After that you can move on to curls, spider curls, hammer curls. Finish off with chin ups. Alternatively you could have a day where you begin with chin ups and then proceed to lat pulldowns, rows and hammer curls.
  • To achieve your desired goals it is essential to consider the weight, number of repetitions and sets. For instance if your aim is to increase muscle mass and strength in the biceps short head it is recommended to use a weight that falls within the moderate to range. This will allow you to perform 6 to 12 reps, per set and complete 3 to 4 sets for each exercise. On the other hand if you're focusing on enhancing muscle endurance and defining the biceps short head opting for a weight would be more suitable. In this case aim for 15 to 20 reps per set. Complete 2 to 3 sets, for each exercise.
  • Mix up your workouts. Vary the intensity as you go along. For instance you can switch up the sequence of exercises, adjust the grip width or angle, change the tempo or speed of your movements, tweak the rest time between sets or even alter the number of reps or sets. By doing you'll keep your muscles on their toes. Prevent them from getting too accustomed to a particular routine.
  • To effectively train your biceps short head it is recommended to dedicate one to two days, per week. For instance,  you can focus on biceps exercises on Mondays And include a pull day routine on Thursdays. By allowing time for recovery and growth between workouts you will optimize the development of your muscles.
  • Make sure not to overlook the importance of training all the muscles, in your arms including the head of your biceps. Incorporate exercises that specifically target this area like incline curls, cable curls or drag curls. Additionally don't forget about working your triceps with exercises such as skullcrushers, dips or pushdowns. By focusing on both muscle groups you'll be able to achieve symmetrical arm development.

Conclusion

The short head of your biceps plays a role in shaping and strengthening your arms. By incorporating exercises into your training routine you can enhance the development of your arms, achieve better proportion and reduce the risk of injuries.


To target and work on the part of your biceps some recommended exercises include wide grip barbell curls, preacher curls, spider curls, hammer curls and chin ups. These exercises place emphasis on the short head of your biceps and stimulate them effectively.


When incorporating these exercises into your workout plan it's important to structure your arm workouts around them. Selecting weights, reps and sets based on your goals is crucial. Additionally, remember to vary the exercises and intensity over time for better results. Aim to train your biceps short head at least once a week but avoid exceeding twice a week. It's also important not to neglect the long head of the biceps or other muscles in your arms.


By following these suggestions and tips diligently you can effectively strengthen your biceps. You'll soon begin noticing improvements, in terms of increased arm size and strength.