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7 Best Dumbbell Exercises to Get Big Biceps Like Billy Blanks

Billy Blanks, the creator of Tae Bo, is going strong at 66 (Image via Instagram)
Billy Blanks, the creator of Tae Bo, is going strong at 66 (Image via Instagram)

Billy Blanks is a name synonymous with fitness and martial arts. The 66-year-old actor is still swinging, 46 years after he invented the Tae Bo fitness system.

With a story somewhat concurrent with The Karate Kid, Billy Blanks set out to achieve something great at the young age of 11 when he joined Karate and Taekwondo classes. An anomaly in his hip joints, which impaired his movement, was the source of much ridicule for Blanks, leading people to believe that he wouldn't accomplish much.

In the late 1980s, Billy Blanks developed the Tae Bo workout using the components of his martial arts and boxing training. He later opened his own studio in Los Angeles (where he attracts many celebrity clients), and the popularity of his workout grew.

Blanks sold over 1.5 million VHS tapes in his first year and may have grossed between $80-130 million in sales. Billy Blanks is going strong, even at 66, and continues to inspire young fitness enthusiasts from across the world.


Best Dumbbell Exercises for Big Biceps Like Billy Blanks

Barbell curls are considered the best exercise if your aim is to build big biceps. They are popular as they allow you to use the most weight, and hasten up the process of getting bigger biceps.

Dumbbell curls, however, are also important when it comes to growing biceps. They have an advantage over barbell curls in that they allow more freedom of movement and can target the biceps from a variety of angles and with different grips. This allows your biceps to be more well-defined and muscular.

Here are 7 dumbbell exercises that will give you the biceps of your dreams:

1) Dumbbell Supinated Biceps Curl

A supinated or underhand grip places constant tension on your biceps. The supinating grip variation will train more forearm muscles due to the rotation of the wrist.

Supinating biceps curls are done by holding your dumbbells with your palms facing towards your thighs and then supinating them (rotating your wrists outward) as you curl up. This adds an extra range of motion to the exercise.

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Here's how to do it:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip while standing upright.
  • Curl them up towards your shoulders while rotating your forearms around so that your palms are facing your shoulders instead of your thighs.
  • Pause for a brief moment at the top and return to the starting position.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.

2) Dumbbell Reverse Biceps Curl

To get well defined biceps like Billy Blanks, you need to train all the muscles around your biceps. The reverse grip works out the long head of your biceps brachii. It also trains the smaller forearm extensor muscles, which often get ignored.

Here's how you can do dumbbell reverse biceps curls:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them with an overhand grip (your knuckles will face away from you).
  • Maintain your wrist position as you curl the dumbbells to the outside of your shoulders.
  • Pause for a brief moment at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
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3) Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The neutral grip of the hammer curl variation is easier on your elbows and shoulders as your shoulders are neither internally nor externally rotated. Hammer curls will work out the long head of the bicep and the brachioradialis, which is an important forearm muscle.

Here's how to do dumbbell hammer curls:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your side, with your wrists neutral, while standing upright.
  • Curl the dumbbell until the end of the dumbbell is near your anterior shoulder.
  • Pause for a brief moment and slowly lower the dumbbells down to the starting position.
  • Perform 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps each.
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4) Zottman Biceps Curl

The Zottman biceps curl is a combination of supinated curl and reverse curl. Your biceps are worked as a flexor and supinator on the way up while the wrist extensors are worked on the way down. This exercise works your biceps through a full range of motion and targets all the muscles involved in elbow flexion.

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Here's how you can do it to get ripped biceps like Billy Blanks:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your side while standing upright with your upper body engaged.
  • Curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders after rotating your forearms so that your palms are facing your shoulders.
  • Pause for a brief moment; then turn your palms away from you until they are facing forward.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells down while keeping your wrists neutral.
  • Return to the starting position and perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.

5) Concentration Biceps Curl

This is an excellent exercise to build bigger biceps. All the focus is on one arm, and your biceps are more engaged because you are sitting down.

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Here's how you can do concentration curls:

  • Sit down on a bench keeping your legs spread apart.
  • Lean over while keeping your chest up, and grab a dumbbell firmly in one hand.
  • Press your triceps into your inner thigh, keeping your arm straight.
  • Curl the dumbbell slowly till you reach your anterior shoulder.
  • Pause for a brief moment and slowly straighten your arm.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps per side.

6) Dumbbell Incline Biceps Curl

Dumbbell incline biceps curls are probably the toughest dumbbell biceps exercise around.

Here's how to do it:

  • Lie down on an incline bench holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms hanging by your side.
  • Curl the dumbbells using your preferred style until you feel the squeeze in your biceps.
  • Pause for a brief moment and slowly return to the starting position, feeling the stretch in your biceps.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
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7) Dumbbell Pinwheel Biceps Curl

The pinwheel biceps curl will serve to train your biceps from a different angle and will give you chiselled biceps like Billy Blanks.

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Here's how you can do pinwheel dumbbell biceps curls:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and hold them at your sides while standing tall.
  • Now, curl your right hand towards your left shoulder, feeling the squeeze in your biceps.
  • Lower back to the starting position and curl the opposite hand in a similar manner.
  • Return to the starting position and keep alternating between opposite arms.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of 8-16 reps.

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Edited by Sabine Algur
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