5 Best Unilateral Bicep Exercises to Build Defined Arms

Unilateral Bicep Exercises

Unilateral exercises have always been a part of my training. They help focus more on weaker parts and improve strength and muscle imbalance.

I’ve already shared unilateral movements for every muscle group, and today, I’ll share the five best single-arm bicep exercises.

The unilateral exercises help build firm, rounded, and symmetrical biceps and develop aesthetic arms.

Whether you train at home or in the gym, integrate these one-arm bicep exercises into your training program.

5 Best Unilateral Bicep Exercises to Build Aesthetic Arms

1. Concentration Curl

Dumbbell Concentration Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Dumbbells
  • Target Head: Both Long and Short Head

Benefits

  • Concentration curls put precise stress on the biceps and help enhance size and definition.
  • It also minimizes swinging and promotes strict form.

How-to Instructions

  1. Sit on a bench with legs apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in one hand, arm extended down.
  3. Place the elbow against the inner thigh for support.
  4. Curl the weight toward your shoulder.
  5. Squeeze the biceps at the top, then lower the weight with control. That’s one rep.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Ensure a complete extension and contraction.
  • Look at your biceps throughout the movement for mind-muscle connection.

2. One-arm Preacher Curl

single arm bicep exercises

About Exercise

Benefits

  • Preacher curl allows you to engage your biceps effectively by providing stability and controlling movements of the other body parts.

How-to Instructions

  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with an underhand grip and sit at the preacher’s curl bench.
  2. Keep your rear arm against the pad with your shoulder down and back straight.
  3. Curl weight towards the shoulder, contracting your biceps.
  4. Uncurl your arm with control and repeat again.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Adjust the sitting pad to a suitable height for optimal arm positioning.
  • Focus on extension and flexion of your elbow for maximum biceps contraction.

3. Single-arm Hammer Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Dumbbell
  • Target Muscles: Biceps and Forearms

Benefits

  • The unilateral hammer curl targets the biceps from a different angle and helps increase their size.
  • It also engages the brachialis (forearm muscles) and helps build burly arms.

How-to Instructions

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your one hand, sit on the bench/stand upright.
  2. Keep your arm straight at your side with your palm facing in.
  3. Curl your arm until you feel the work in your biceps.
  4. Squeeze the biceps at the top, then lower the weight with control.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Start with light dumbbells.
  • Keep your elbow close to your body throughout the movement.

4. Cable Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Cable Pulley
  • Target Muscles: Short and Long Head

Benefits

  • The cable curl allows you to engage your biceps in a smooth and controlled resistance for optimal muscle engagement.

How-to Instructions

  1. Set the hook to an appropriate height and attach a d-handle.
  2. Stand facing away from the cable machine and grab the handle with an underhand grip.
  3. Curl the handle toward your shoulders, keeping elbows close to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps at the top, then uncurl your arm until it is extended.

Tips and Mistakes

  1. Keep your elbow close to the body throughout the movement.
  2. Extend and contract your biceps fully.

5. Unilateral Incline Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment Needed: Dumbbell and an Adjustable Bench
  • Target Muscles: Long and Short Head

Benefits

The incline cable curl highly stimulates the biceps’ heads while curling and provides excellent stretch while lowering your arm, helping your biceps grow.1 Oliveira, Liliam F et al. “Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii EMG in different dumbbell curls.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 8,1 24-9. 1 Mar. 2009

How-to Instructions

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, sit on a 60-75 degree incline bench.
  2. Allow the arm to hang straight with your palm pointing forward.
  3. Curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder until you feel the full contraction in your biceps.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Use light dumbbells than other bicep exercises.
  • Let your arm extend fully to feel the stretch in your upper arm.

Related Unilateral Exercises:

References

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Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

About Me

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

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