The Critical Body logo

Total Gym bicep workouts and exercises

Get toned and strong with this Total Gym bicep workout
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 9th August 2021
A Total Gym pictured next to a flexed bicep

Understanding the science of your bicep muscles can help you to get better results because it’ll enable you to figure out which exercises are optimal.

For example, using a reverse grip puts your biceps at a mechanical disadvantage and actually works your brachialis and brachioradialis more.

Using a supinated grip, on the other hand, is ideal for bicep training because it challenges both functions of the biceps (elbow flexion and forearm supination) simultaneously.

Related: Total Gym forearm workout

Top 7 Total Gym bicep exercises

Each of these Total Gym bicep exercises works your muscles from a different angle so that you can get the best possible results.

1. Lying bicep curl

The lying bicep curl is a great exercise because it enables you to focus purely on the working muscles.

You also don’t need to worry about maintaining good posture by keeping your back straight because it’s already braced against the pad.

That said, don’t bend your neck forward to try and watch what your arms are doing. Instead, look straight at the ceiling and mentally think about flexing and stretching your biceps on each rep.

  1. Set the incline of the glideboard to an appropriate level.
  2. Grab the handles with an underhand grip.
  3. Lie back on the glideboard while keeping your feet and knees close together.
  4. Curl the handles toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows still.
  5. Contact your biceps as they make firm contact with the undersides of your forearms.
  6. Release the handles under control and repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

2. Preacher curl

Preacher curls are an excellent addition to any Total Gym bicep workout because they produce an incredibly intense muscle contraction.

It’s also easy to use the proper form on preacher curls because your elbows are braced against your knees, which means that you can’t generate any momentum with your shoulders.

And since your legs and hips are also planted firmly on the glideboard, this movement is a complete isolation exercise and thus one of the best for building muscle.

  1. Set your glideboard to the appropriate level.
  2. Grab the handles with an underhand grip.
  3. Place your feet on the board, and then brace your elbows against your knees.
  4. Curl the handles toward your shoulders by flexing your biceps.
  5. Keep curling until your forearms and biceps press right up against each other.
  6. Hold the peak contraction for a moment.
  7. Release the handles in a controlled manner until your arms are locked out.
  8. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

3. Single-arm curl

If you want to build symmetrical biceps (not just big ones), then make sure to include single-arm curls in your Total Gym bicep workouts.

This unilateral exercise helps to minimize the chance of developing muscular imbalances by ensuring that both of your biceps are receiving roughly equal amounts of work.

Since you’re training each arm separately, this muscle-building movement is naturally much more challenging. This obviously means that single-arm curls are great for building mass, but it also means that you might need to decrease the incline level for this one.

  1. Sit sideways on your glideboard and grab the handle with an underhand grip.
  2. Curl the handle toward your head.
  3. Allow your elbow to raise up slightly as the handle approaches your head (it really intensifies the peak contraction).
  4. Squeeze your biceps forcefully as they push right up against your forearm.
  5. Release the handle slowly until your elbow is fully extended.
  6. Repeat the movement with your other arm and do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps per side.

4. Chin-up

Chin-ups are one of the best Total Gym biceps exercises because they build your back and bis simultaneously.

Plus, chin-ups work your core more than isolation exercises. And who doesn’t love getting extra ab work whenever they have the chance?

  1. Connect the pull-up bar (often called the wing attachment) to your machine.
  2. Climb onto the glideboard and grab the handles with an underhand grip.
  3. Move your feet toward your hips and brace your core.
  4. Pull yourself up—by flexing your biceps and contracting your back muscles—until your chin clears the bar.
  5. Lower yourself back down under control until your elbows are almost (but not quite) locked out.
  6. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps.

5. Reverse curls

Even though this article is about the best Total Gym bicep workouts, you still need to train your brachioradialis and brachialis muscles if you want to optimize your arm development.

This involves curling with an overhand grip in order to put your biceps at a mechanical disadvantage, which is to say, in a weak position in which they can’t produce much force.

You can do reverse curls on your Total Gym in any position, whether that be prone, lying, or seated.

Try different variations and see which one you find most comfortable.

  1. Grab the handles with an overhand grip and kneel on your glideboard.
  2. Let your arms extend out in front of you.
  3. Curl the handles toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows relatively still.
  4. Keep curling until the tops of your forearms make firm contact with your biceps.
  5. Hold the contraction for a second, and then release the handles in a controlled manner until your elbows reach full extension.
  6. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

6. Incline curls

Incline curls are one of those Total Gym bicep exercises that virtually nobody does but which produces fantastic results with enough consistency.

Essentially, you want to sit on the glideboard in a reverse position and then hold the handles slightly behind your body. As you can see, this position places your biceps in a lengthened position and thus under a tremendous stretch.

So by combining this movement with the other exercises, which tend to work the biceps in highly contracted positions, you’ll be doing everything in your power to tone your arms and build biceps muscle.

  1. Sit on the glideboard in a reverse position and grab the handles with a supinated grip.
  2. Let the handles travel slightly behind your torso and hips.
  3. Curl the handles toward your shoulders by flexing your biceps.
  4. Keep lifting until the undersides of your forearms make forceful contact with your biceps.
  5. Hold the contraction for a moment.
  6. Slowly release the handles until your arms reach full extension.
  7. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

7. Hammer curls

If you want to blast your biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis with one convenient exercise, then make sure to include hammer curls in your Total Gym bicep workout.

You can connect a rope attachment to your machine to make this movement feel like the kind of hammer curl that you’d do at the gym.

Or, you can simply hold the handles with a neutral grip instead.

Since you’ll be stronger on hammer curls than on regular bicep curls, you can also increase the incline level for this one.

  1. Kneel on your glideboard and grab the handles firmly with a neutral/hammer grip.
  2. Lift the handles toward the front of your shoulders while keeping your elbows stationary.
  3. Squeeze your arms forcefully at the top of the rep.
  4. Lower yourself back down under control by letting your arms extend.
  5. Perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

In conclusion

Make sure to include a variety of exercises to get the most from your Total Gym bicep workout. For example, you want to perform movements with an overhand or neutral grip that work the brachialis and brachioradialis, which are two very important arm muscles.

Of course, there’s no need to perform every Total Gym biceps exercise in the same workout because that could result in overtraining.

If you work your arms twice a week or more, then you could always split the exercises over different sessions so that your program contains plenty of variety.

James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram