Best Bicep Machines
A pumped physique just isn’t quite the same without a pair of well-built biceps. And while it’s true that many compound exercises indirectly activate them, adding isolation work into the mix can be helpful for hypertrophy. Whether a true bicep curling machine, or perhaps a bicep bench, these units can help isolate the bicep brachii and both its short and long heads. Compound movements, which are those which utilize multiple muscle groups and joints, can’t put as much emphasis on blood flow to one isolated area, almost by definition. Any form of rows, pull-ups, and deadlifts, will indirectly activate the bicep muscle as the bicep works in tandem with most pulling motions found in the majority of back workout exercises. But this means the workload is spread out over a large area, and if you’re seeking the peak of a contracted bicep, then preacher curls and dumbbell curls are the way to go.
Best Bicep Machines
Typical barbell movements for biceps lend themselves to cheating so much there’s even an exercise referred to as “Cheater Curls.” The inclination to arc and swing the back with an Olympic bar is tough to resist, and this not only reduces the degree to which the biceps are worked, but it can also lead to lower back injury. Dumbbells likewise lend themselves to cheating, whereas an isolation machine, whether a bench or cable unit, protects the rest of the body while focusing all the effort onto the arms themselves. Also, most lifters know by now that about 3/4 of the arm mass is triceps, but that doesn’t mean the biceps are useless. Integral in all motions pulling, they also connect to the forearm and work grip will pumping up and down.
The debate over rep and set schemes will linger so long as lifters lift, but most folks agree that isolation exercises are best performed with higher repetitions and an emphasis on form. Focus on the contraction and movement itself, as the fact you’re isolating the muscle places enough stress onto it without maximizing the weight. Hypertrophy is also the typical goal for isolation movements (ie: leg extensions, calf raises, etc…), and that also lends itself to a lighter weight. Furthermore, too much weight borne on one single muscle group is just asking for strain, so aim high and earn the burn.
1. Mular Preacher Arm Curl Weight Bench and Roman Chair
Made of heavy-duty steel, the bench measures 29.1 x 35.4 inches and can adjust height-wise from 29.5 to 36.2 inches at 50 pounds. Height-adjustable, the multi-functional bed has five levels of height between 29.5 to 36.2 inches. Colored black, the unit can hold EZ bars or short barbells, or dumbbells, and offers a maximum load capacity of 330 pounds. Exercises possible vary from the barbell curl, preacher curl, reverse curls, or dumbbell curls. Flip the unit around, and it doubles as a Roman Chair for hyper-extensions or sit-ups by way of padded ankle-holders.
2. Muorka Commercial Arm Preacher Curl Bench
A free weight model, the Muorka bench can be used with either barbell or dumbbell. Constructed from heavy-duty steel, the bench features rubber base caps to prevent slipping across the floor. The 2-inch thick arm pad adjusts into six positions between 31- and 35 inches high, and the bench offers a maximum load of 440 pounds. The entire bench measures 28.5 inches long by 30 inches wide and 35 inches high. The 44-pound unit can be moved around easily enough and used for multiple purposes. Users can use either a barbell rested in the adjustable bar-holder, or a dumbbell, for curls with either an EZ bar or short barbell. The bar-holder adjusts between 18 and 22 inches in height to accommodate users of many sizes.
3. Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Bench
Equipped with a six-roll leg developer, this Gold’s Gym model offers more than just upper body opportunities. With the adjustment of a knob, the flat bench pops up into an incline position with adjustable V-handles for curls, either reverse or traditional. The 13.23-pound unit measures 45- x 23- x 15-inches and weighs 114 pounds. The detachable curl yoke can be switched on and off at the user’s leisure, and the entire unit has a total 600-pound weight capacity, 300 pounds for the user and 300 pounds for the load. The rolled preacher pad helps isolate the biceps and forearm for both reverse and traditional curls.
4. Body-Solid GCBT380 Cam Series Biceps/Triceps Machine
The Body-Solid unit features an adjustable lifting arm which be re-positioned for either bicep or triceps work, or downward for an isolated preacher curl. Measuring 45- x 43- x 40-inches, the machine weighs 79 pounds and can be easily moved about a home or garage gym. A plate-loaded unit, the machine is built for use with 1-inch diameter standard-sized weights, or Olympic plates with an OA8 Olympic Adapter Sleeve sold separately. With an upholstered arm pad positioned at a 30-degree angle, the unit’s V-bar handle can reposition for either bicep curls or triceps press-downs.
5. Body-Solid DBTC Pro Dual Bicep/Tricep Machine
Those looking for a commercial-grade arm machine would be interested in the weight-stack model by Body-Solid. Measuring 57- x 44- x 66-inches, the unit weighs 172 pounds without weight stacks. The welded unit utilizes fiberglass-reinforced nylon pulleys and features an adjustable arm pad and seat. With a switch the unit seamlessly changes from bicep to triceps, each utilizing dual grip handles. Best used by fitness clubs or an advanced garage gym, the unit’s big benefit is a smooth action along cables, relative to the awkward juggle or free weights and dumbbells.