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The Top 10 Brachialis Workouts For More Functional And Stronger Biceps

 Written by 

Mauro Castillo

 Last updated on 

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Look no further if you’re looking for the top 10 brachialis workouts for more functional and stronger biceps. 

We know that almost every fitness enthusiast dreams of having big and toned-up arms. And many of those dreams begin with the brachialis muscle. 

A muscular man doing a brachialis workout at the gym
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This article will teach you about the following:

– Brachialis muscle: anatomy and function

– Benefits of strengthening the brachialis

– List exercises with dumbbells, kettlebells, bars, and cable machines. 

– A full brachialis workout. 

Buckle up and buy more oversized t-shirts because this is where it all begins!  

Brachialis Muscle: Anatomy & Function

The brachialis muscle is one of the primary muscles involved in elbow flexion. This is because it goes from the anterior part of the humerus, crossing the elbow joint and inserting into the ulna. This is what allows the forearm flexion at the elbow joint.

Unlike many people think, the brachialis is not involved in the pronation and supination of the forearm because it doesn’t have any insertion on the radius. This muscle also engages in delicate movements like holding objects while flexing the elbow.

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Source: Wikipedia

Benefits Of Strengthening The Brachialis

Everybody loves having big and strong arms, and there are almost zero downsides to having them. Benefits go from aesthetics to elbow and shoulder health. 

Increased Power and Strength

The arms are one of the critical components for transferring force from the legs and core to the rest of the upper body. For that reason having solid arms is a must to get more explosive and powerful.

Movements like deadlifts, swimming, sprinting, and cleaning all rely on strong arms, which is why they should be included in almost every training program up to some degree. 

Aesthetic Improvement

Having noticeable big arms is something most men and women look for when they begin their fitness journey. Not only does it looks good, but it feels good. It has a positive psychological impact which keeps you wanting for more. 

When your biceps look aesthetic, your clothing fits better, and your confidence increases. This is also an outstanding achievement for women since they must work harder than men to build upper-body muscle mass.

Improved Elbow and Shoulder Health

The brachialis tendon inserts both in the elbow and the shoulder joint. That is one of the reasons why muscular biceps are a prerequisite for elbow and shoulder health, especially for athletes who rely on those joints, such as pitchers and swimmers. 

Many people that complain of elbow joint pain usually get better as they strengthen their brachialis.

A man doing a brachialis workout using dumbbells
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Top 10 Brachialis workouts For More Functional And Stronger Arms

Below is a detailed list of the top 10 brachialis workouts for more functional and muscular arms. We divided them into two groups, exercises with dumbbells and kettlebells and with barbells and cable machines.

You’ll learn about how to do them correctly and some of their benefits.

Dumbbell And Kettlebell Brachialis Workouts

We’re going through a list of 5 brachialis workouts you can do with dumbbells and kettlebells. 

1. Dumbbell Zottman Curls

The Zottman curl combines two movements, a regular bicep curl (supinated grip) and a reverse curl (pronounced grip).


Grab a pair of dumbbells (light to moderate weight) for this movement. The starting position has both dumbbells on your sides in a supinated position. 

Then, flex the elbow joint until it reaches a 90-100 degree angle. Once you’re there, pronate the forearm and go down slowly until the arms are fully extended. 


The Zottman curls are a great variation to work the brachialis in conjunction with the pronation and supination of the forearm. This is commonly performed by pitchers who desire to improve their forearm mobility.

Another benefit of this movement is the grip strength it builds. Turning from the supinated to pronated position in the middle of the rep forces your grip to excel and hold the position without breaking the form. 

However, if you lack pronation or supination mobility, we recommend keeping the weight very low until you can gain range of motion.

2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Dumbbell hammer curls are one of the oldest and most effective exercises for the brachialis.


Pick a pair of dumbbells (moderate to heavy weight) and hold them with a neutral grip. Place the dumbbells on the outside of your thighs and keep your feet hip-width; this is your starting position. 

Flex your elbows until they hit a 90-degree angle while keeping the arms close to your torso. Avoid using your legs to gain momentum since this is “cheating.”

Once you hit the 90-degree angle, bring the dumbbells down and repeat for the desired reps.


This is a great isolation exercise for the brachialis since it puts the forearm in a neutral position compared to a regular curl (supinated grip.) 

This variation is easy to do and can handle heavier loads than most other types of curls. It also provides an aesthetic look to the arm, especially the lower portion (including the forearm.)

3. Kettlebell Hammer Curl

The kettlebell hammer curl is a progression to the DB hammer curl (a more challenging movement.) The way kettlebells are designed to make the weight distribution harder to control, thus increasing muscle activation and grip involvement. 


Pick a pair of kettlebells (light to medium weight) and hold them by the handles (ring). Place both kettlebells on the outside of your thighs and keep your feet hip-width. 

From that point, raise the kettlebells with a neutral grip by flexing your elbows. Keep the bells centered and controlled. Once you hit a 90-degree angle on your elbow, slowly bring the weights down until both arms are extended. This is one rep.


One of this variation’s main benefits is its emphasis on your grip. Holding the kettlebells by the rings with a neutral grip makes all the difference, which sets this movement apart from other variations. 

After a few reps, you’ll feel your hands and forearms burning from the muscle tension. 

4. Dumbbell Reverse Curl

Reverse curls are commonly known for building big arms and forearms. Few variations are better than this one, and it’s obvious why. This movement goes straight to the point.  


Pick a pair of dumbbells (light to medium weight) and hold each on the front of your thighs. Both hands should have pronated wrists (palms facing back or down) while keeping your feet hip-width. 

This is where elbow flexion begins. Raise both dumbbells until you hit a 90-100 degree angle on your elbow, and then go back down with a controlled tempo until your arms are fully extended. Repeat as prescribed.


The reverse dumbbell curl is a terrific variation to work on the brachialis because it puts the forearm in the ideal position to “isolate” the muscle. Although some people don’t have the mobility to pronate the forearm and keep that position throughout the range of motion, it can improve as you practice it. 

Once you have a few months of experience, not only will your brachialis see the difference, but your ability to pronate the arm will also improve

5. Seated Incline Hammer Curls

The seated incline hammer curls are a progression of the conventional DB hammer curl, with the difference of being seated on an incline bench. This setup puts the arm in a position that bias isolation which will translate to greater muscle activity. 


Grab a bench and set it up at a 45-60 degree angle. The starting position should have your head resting on the bench and your arms fully extended at the bottom. Pick a pair of dumbbells (medium weight) and use a neutral grip. 

From here, lift the dumbbells to the top while keeping a neutral grip. Slowly bring the weight down and repeat as prescribed. The repetition ends when the dumbbell touches your bicep.


The main benefit of this variation is the setup position. It puts the arm in a position of bias isolation, thus creating more muscle activity than the regular hammer curl. 

You’ll notice a solid bicep stretch every time the dumbbell reaches the bottom position.

Barbell And Cable Brachialis Workouts

Now that you know a few dumbbells and kettlebell exercises, it’s time to try different variations with the bar and cable machine.

6. EZ Bar Reverse Curls

The EZ bar is one of the oldest tools in any gym. This metallic bar is great for overhand grip and underhand grip exercises. It has a zig-zag shape that allows for multiple grips.

In the case of the reverse curls, we’ll use an overhand grip to focus the brachialis and the forearm muscles. 


Grab an EZ bar and load it with light to medium weight, depending on your fitness levels and goals. You want to stand up for this variation, so keep your feet shoulder width. 

Begin to bring the bar up (overhand grip) until your elbows hit a 90-degree angle. Then go down slowly until your elbows are locked in the starting position. 


This is one of the best bicep exercises because the bar allows for a pronated grip with a slight vertical angle for those who don’t have pronation mobility yet. 

After a few reps, you’ll find your forearm and brachialis muscles on fire.

7. Reverse Barbell Curl

The reverse barbell curls are one of the more difficult variations to work the brachialis. Like the EZ bar, it uses a pronounced grip (overhand grip), but the difference is that it can be very uncomfortable for those who don’t have the necessary mobility on the wrist.


Pick an empty or loaded barbell (Olympic bar) and place it in front of your thighs. Hold the bar with an overhand grip while keeping the hands on the outside of your thighs. This is your starting position. 

Then, flex the elbow until it reaches a 90-100 degree angle. This is your end position. Once you’re here, begin to descend the bar while keeping your arms close to your torso and avoid arching your back.

Repeat as prescribed. 


If you have the mobility to benefit from this variation, we encourage you to include it in your workout routine because it works wonders. It will fire your brachialis and forearm muscles after a few reps with little to no weight, especially if you’re a beginner. 

8. EZ Bar Reverse Preacher Curl

The EZ bar reverse preacher curl is a progression to the EZ bar reverse curl (more challenging.) The preacher setup (placing your arms on the pad and in front of your torso) biases an isolation position that will generate a greater muscle activation on your brachialis. 


Look for a preacher setup (most gyms have one) and place the EZ bar on the designated rack. Load the bar with a weight you can control but feels challenging. 

Hold the bar with an overhand grip and sit on the bench while keeping your arms on the pad. This is your starting position.

From here, raise the bar until you no longer feel the tension on your arms (this is your end position) and slowly and control the bar down again. Repeat as many reps as you desire.


The preacher setup allows a heavier load than the regular EZ bar reverse curl. This is a terrific variation to isolate your brachialis even more. You’ll feel your biceps peak in less than 3 sets of 20 reps.

9. Cable Rope Curl

The cable rope curl is a favorite of many fitness enthusiasts. Using the rope attachment, you should be ready to take your brachialis workout to the next level. 


Find a cable machine and attach a rope to it. Most ropes are 26 inches long, which should work perfectly. Hold each extreme of the rope with one hand while using a neutral grip. The movement starts standing up with the rope in front of your thighs. 

This is your end position. From this position, flex your elbows until the rubber bottom of the rope hits your chest (or closer to it). Slowly bring the rope down and repeat as many as prescribed. 


This movement will have your forearms and brachialis muscles quickly reaching their peaks. This setup allows for heavy loads to be used, which is fantastic for those looking to add more volume to their arms training.

10. Reverse Cable Curl

The reverse cable curl attaches a straight metallic bar to a cable machine. The movement pattern is similar to the reverse curl.


Get a cable machine and attach the straight bar to it. Use an overhand grip to pick a moderate to heavy weight and place the bar in front of your thighs. This movement starts standing up. 

From here, bring the bar up until your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle and bring the bar down again with control. Repeat as prescribed, and be mindful of not arching your back.


This is a significant variation to focus on the brachialis without worrying about lifting one arm more than the other. The cable allows for a symmetric load that takes some pressure off you and helps you focus on building big guns.

Full Brachialis Workout

Now that you’re well-educated on many brachialis workouts, it’s time to combine everything with this quick workout. Be mindful if you’re a beginner to keep the load light, but if you’re an intermediate or advanced lifter, don’t hold back and pick the heavier weights. 

Let’s go! 

A1: DB Hammer Curl

A2: DB Reverse Curl

A3: EZ Reverse Curl

3 sets, 12-15 reps, 60 secs rest. 

B1: DB Zottman Curl

B2: Seated Incline DB Hammer Curl

B3: Reverse Cable Curl

3 sets, 12-15 reps, 60 secs rest.

C1: Kettlebell Hammer Curl

C2: Cable Rope Curl 

C3: EZ Bar Reverse Preacher Curl 

2 sets, 10-12 reps, 60 secs rest. 

A man doing brachialis workouts with an EZ bar
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Frequently Asked Questions

What Exercise Works The Brachialis?

Some exercises that work the brachialis are the DB hammer curl, Preacher curl, Zottman curl, Reverse curl, and the Cable rope curl. Although there are several more, these are the most effective and commonly used.

How Do You Isolate Brachialis?

The best way to isolate the brachialis is by using a machine. Machines are usually designed to isolate single muscles as much as possible. However, preacher curls are another great way to isolate the brachialis because the arm is very stable.

Do Bicep Curls Train Brachialis?

Yes, bicep curls train the brachialis. Almost every exercise that flexes the elbow joint trains the brachialis. You can try different variations of bicep curls, and they’ll target the muscle differently.


I've been in the world of CrossFit since 2016. Started as a client, later became a coach, and eventually bought an affiliate with two friends from January 2020 to January 2022. In 2018 I won 1st place at a local competition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After I sold my shares in January 2022 I moved then to another city to run as the general manager of another affiliate STI CrossFit.

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