Science project

Which Exercise Gives Your Heart and Muscles the Best Workout?


So you’re interested in building up your bicep muscles and becoming more fit, but you aren’t sure which exercise to use? This science experiment will help you to compare how much your muscles are working, as well as how fast your heart is pumping, during each exercise.

Research Questions

  • Which type of exercise works your bicep muscles the hardest?
  • Which type of bicep exercise works your heart the hardest?


  • Thermometer
  • Stopwatch or watch with second hand
  • Weights

Experimental Procedure

  1. Press the thermometer against your bicep muscle for one minute. Do not flex the muscle. Record the thermometer’s measurement. This is the base temperature of your bicep at rest.
  2. Take your heart rate at rest. To do this, put your index and middle fingers together and place them on your neck, about two inches below your ear. Your fingers should be pressing next to your jawbone. You should be able to feel your heart pulsing beneath your fingers. Count how many pulses you can feel in ten seconds. (You should be able to feel about 10 to 15 beats during those ten seconds.)
  3. Hold the weight in your hand, and do one type of curl for thirty seconds to exercise your bicep muscle.
  4. Record your heart rate while a friend takes the temperature of your bicep muscle.
  5. Rest a bit until your heart rate and bicep temperature return back to their initial measurements.
  6. Repeat this process four times, and insert your data into a chart, such as the one below.

Type of Curl

Heart Rate

Muscle Temperature

Alternate Hammer Curl



Alternate Hammer Curl



Alternate Hammer Curl



Alternate Hammer Curl



Alternate Hammer Curl



Concentration Curl



Concentration Curl



Concentration Curl



Concentration Curl



Concentration Curl



  1. Use another curling exercise to repeat the process five times. Insert your data for this second curling exercise into the chart as well.
  2. Analyze your data. Which curling exercise worked your bicep muscles the most? Which one raised your heart rate the most?


  • First Place Science Fair Projects for Inquisitive Kids, by Elizabeth Snoke Harris. Pp. 52-53. 
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