Building Bicep Peaks


When someone ask you to “show me your muscle” the first thing you do is roll up your sleeve and show off your mighty biceps or lack thereof.  It is for this reason among others that weekend warriors and bodybuilders alike have always have a tendency to work this muscle harder and with the utmost intensity.

For your biceps to be their most impressive though they not only need to carry a good amount of sheer size but also have a good mountainous peak to them. Sure genetics can play a role in development with either having longer or shorter muscle attachments which would either make your biceps longer and more football shaped or shorter but with a more exaggerated peak.  But do not fear, because there’s a way to create a great peak on your biceps for those that are not genetically blessed with it.  So sit back, relax, grab a pen and paper if you need to because you are going to be armed with some knowledge.


Arm Anatomy 

biceps_brachii_and_brachialis1353280009033 (1)

The front of the upper arm consists of the biceps brachii or simply the biceps in common gym jargon and the brachialis. The bicep as most of us are familiar with is a two-headed muscle that lies on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow.  Another little discussed muscle among bodybuilding circles called the brachialis that lies underneath the biceps warrants being discussed here for those seeking complete arm development. This muscle can be seen on the outside of the arm a highly defined body builder in contest shape or an anatomy chart. Cool thing is when this muscle grows it pushes the bicep muscle up and as you guessed it is the key to developing that awe inspiring peak to you arms.

So now that we know the key muscle that we need to focus on to forge our bicep peaks to the next level our next step is to find movements to force the brachialis to take on more of the work.  Unfortunately the problem with effectively stimulating the brachialis is that with most standard curling motions the biceps acts as a main flexor in those movements. So we have to think outside the box and choose specific curling exercises that puts the biceps in a mechanically weak position, so that the brachialis can play the lead role. Spoiler alert! It is all about the angle.
Since the brachialis does not attach to your deltoids like your biceps do but slightly below doing any movement with your arm up to the height of you shoulder or higher forces this hidden gem to step up to the plate and puts a de-emphasis on the biceps.  This is also why when you flex your arm to show it off you naturally bring it up to the height of your shoulder since it looks more impressive that way.
Now to the nitty gritty. Below is a list of some exercises which will really emphasize your brachilias and help to create a good bicep peak to your arm.
  • Concentration Curls (Dumbbell, Barbell or cable machine)
  • Spider Curls [Incline Bench] curls with Barbell, Dumbbells or Cable
  • Vertical side of Preacher Bench (Barbell, Dumbbells or cable)
  • Lying Overhead High Pulley Curls
  • Seated Overhead Lat Machine Curls
  • Bicep Machine “Table Top”


Some trainers have also recommended to use hammer curls which can activate less of your biceps and in turn more of your brachialis but they also involve more of your forearm muscles such as the brachioradialis.  Another misconception is to rotate your forearm during bicep curls to help them “peak better”.  Actually because the brachialis muscle does not insert on the radius bone doing curls involving pronation or supination of the forearm offers little as well. Just keep it simple and focus on doing curling motions where your elbow is at the high of your shoulder or higher. Be creative and find an exercises that you grove on and work at it progressively harder.

Sure having great bicep peaks like Robby Robinson can be a genetic gift. However regardless of your genetic potential you can still build a good peak on your arm. See the picture below of Larry Scott who was blessed more with long full biceps but by changing his exercise routine and focusing more on his brachilias he was able to change the shape of his biceps completely.  On the other side of the coin progress comes to people that work hard in the gym in the right direction.  So good genetics without hard work can be wasted anyway. So get started on focusing on your brachilias so you can start selling those tickets…to the gun show.


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