July 13, 2021
Arms are important; after all, they allow us to carry things with ease. Our biceps are particularly important, and that is where most of the strength lays. This part is what allows you to carry all your grocery bags from the car to the house, all in one go.
That being said, each biceps workout is different. Even the simple fact that your have your palms facing inward than outward can change the effect. This is why you need to make a biceps workout that contains multiple exercises.
This article will give you a couple of ideas. A good biceps workout at home is a combination of multiple exercises that will tackle the right muscles. All you need is a dumbbell in each hand, along with enough determination.
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The biceps are a group of muscles found at the front section of the upper arms. Also referred to as “biceps brachii,” they are split into two different muscle groups, the long head and the short head.
The long head goes from your shoulder joint all the way to the upper arm. The short head runs alongside the long head, but starts around the coracoid instead.
The main function of the biceps is to help rotate your forearm. This is why a regular biceps workout is essential. Biceps may be seen as large muscle group, but they are far from being the arm’s most powerful flexors.
Instead, there are various muscle groups that will help stabilize and give you more strength. You just need to learn how to use the pair of dumbbells efficiently enough to give yourself a nice biceps workout.
Biceps exercises are pretty much a number of repetitions, but you are still faced with the question: “how long should the reps be?” Well, this will mostly depend on what your objectives are:
Three sets of these should be enough to improve your biceps form. If you see your muscle endurance improving, it is not necessary to increase the number of reps.
Instead, try adding or increasing the weight of your dumbbells. In most cases, this should be enough to give you more of a challenge.
There’s no correct answer here, but at the same time, don’t go all Captain America on your weights; you can’t do this all day. If you train every day without rest, your muscles won’t grow bigger; they will just get more tired and weaker.
Plus, the more you work, the more predisposed to injuries you will become. You need to give your body time to catch a breather. Before you move on with your workouts, you need to allow your muscles to rest.
That being said, there are certain aspects that will influence how often you should do a biceps workout, including:
Most people go for once or twice a week – on their arms day, to be more specific. Obviously, you need to train evenly so that you don’t end up with bulky arms and a slick lower half.
However, you’ll still have total body days in the mix as well, or you may arrange your workouts accordingly. As a rule of thumb, about 2-3 weeks should be plenty to help your biceps grow. Mix up your exercises with a 7-day workout plan targeting different muscles.
When you are at the gym, you may have different equipment you can try to get your biceps into shape. However, when you are at home, you don’t usually have that kind of equipment – unless you set up your own gym alternative at home.
That being said, if you want to work your biceps at home, you might want to gather this equipment first:
The number of dumbbells that you get, as well as their weight will depend on what kind of lifter you are. If you are a beginner, then you might want to settle for 5-8-pound dumbbells.
On the other hand, if you are an intermediate lifter, then you should consider upping the weight. In this case, 10-12-pound dumbbells should work better for you.
It is always a good idea to have different sets of different weights – or at least some weight attachments. Certain exercises might work better with higher/lower weights, so you need to be prepared.
You can also work your biceps without having to use weights. The trick is to do the right movement so that you activate the right muscles. You’ll find out about how you can work your biceps that way later on.
Working out your biceps can be a pain – sometimes literally. To get through the process, you should change your focus a bit. Here are our tips:
When giving your biceps a workout, try visualizing the way in which your biceps are contracting in order to move the weight of the dumbbells. This will create some neural pathways going from your brain to the biceps. This psychological drive should improve your drive, allowing your muscles to grow.
When you stick to a certain tempo, you will add more tension to your biceps. When you count the two-second lowering movement, you keep your body from rushing the reps.
When you count low on the reps, you will have the tendency to push harder through the sets. This is because you will foresee the ending in sight. When you count up, particularly in a longer set, it might be more difficult for you to remain motivated.
With the theory handled, it is time to start your biceps exercises. And believe us, there are many exercises that you may do. For now, take out your workout bench, your exercise mat and your dumbbells. Here are some simple movements that will give your biceps a good workout:
To do the dumbbell curl, lay down on the workout bench as a starting position. An incline bench would be the ideal option here, as it gives you more support.
Have a dumbbell in each hand, with the palms facing forward. Curl up the weights, stop at the top, and then use complete control to lower the weights back down.
With the hammer curl, you might want to go slightly easier on the weight of the dumbbells. While lying on your workout bench (preferably an incline one), hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
Curl the weights, make a pause at the top, and then lower your arms with complete control. Don’t forget that if you want your muscles to work during the dumbbell hammer curl, you need to squeeze when you reach the top.
If you happen to have a preacher bench in your home gym, you might want to try some preacher curls. You will also need an EZ-bar for this, one that features an underhand grip.
The staring position is with your arms straight, at the bottom, with your palms facing ahead. Curl the bar up, squeeze your biceps, and then slowly lower the bar down. Your arms should be in a fully straight position.
As an alternative, you may want to use dumbbells instead, rather than the bar. However, this will turn the exercise into a dumbbell preacher curl. Make sure you keep your arms parallel with one another.
This is pretty much the same as with the preacher curl, with just a slight difference. Instead of holding the bar with your palms facing forward, your palms should be facing you instead, in a reverse grip.
To put it in simple terms, you need to have a double overhand hold. Curl the weights, pause at the top. Use control to lower your arms until they are fully straight.
Bicep curls are like dumbbell curls – only instead of lying down on a workout bench, you are standing tall on your own two feet. This will give you more of an opportunity to work on your core.
Start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees just slightly. This will protect your knees from incurring any damage. Hold the dumbbells using an underhand grip.
Your arms should be fully extended and in line with your body. Your palms should be facing ahead. From that position, curl the weights all the way up to your shoulders.
Remember to squeeze the biceps when you reach the top, because that’s what will put your muscles in motion. Use a controlled motion when you lower the dumbbells, and make sure your back always stays straight.
Once you are back at the starting position, repeat the biceps curl. Three reps of 10 curls should be able to offer you a good bicep workout.
When doing the reverse curl, you are basically doing the curl with a slight twist: a reverse grip. Hold the dumbbells with your hands facing down in an overhand grip.
Slowly curl the dumbbells up and lower the weight back down. Remember that when you hold a dumbbell with this move, you should always keep your palms facing downwards.
The Zottman curl is one more movement that will tackle a variety of muscle groups. Named after George Zottman, a weightlifter from the 19th century, you will work the lower arms and the upper arms alike.
Start the workout standing tall, with the knees slightly bent, holding the dumbbells in an underhand grip. Curl your arms in the same manner that you would for a bicep curl, but rotate the hand when you reach the top.
This way, when you return to the starting point, you will do so with an overhand grip. In other words, your palms will be facing down in a reverse grip.
Make sure that you lower your hand in a slow and controlled manner, and that you squeeze your biceps. When the arms are fully extended, rotate the hands once more and go back to the underhand grip.
The classic dumbbell curl is usually a starting point in each biceps workout. That being said, there are several biceps exercises that you can make from it. This includes the seated alternating dumbbell curl.
Seat yourself on a chair, or a 90-degree bench if you have that possibility. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms in an underhand grip.
Slowly lift one single arm at a time and squeeze the biceps at the top. Lower that one arm, and once you are back in the starting position, repeat the same motion with the other arm as well.
The crossbody curl is a biceps workout somehow similar with the alternating dumbbell curl. However, instead of going straight up with the weights, you will be crossing your body.
Start the biceps exercises with both your arms extended by your side. Your hands should be holding the dumbbells in an overhand grip.
While keeping your elbows in the same position, lift the dumbbell in a diagonal biceps curl, squeezing the biceps at the top before lowering with control. Once you are back in starting position, repeat this motion with the other arm.
The W curls have their name rightfully so, as when you reach the top of the movement, your arms make a W. This exercise will not only work your biceps, but your back as well.
During this biceps workout, keep your arms to the side, holding the pair of dumbbells in an underhand grip. At this point, the back of your hands should face your sides.
Slowly bring the lower arms up, making a 45-degree angle. Raise the forearms even more, until your arms make a W. Squeeze your biceps at the top, lower at the starting point, and then start over.
Start by keeping your arms parallel to the ground, your body forming a T-shape. During this biceps workout, you need to keep the arms in an underhand grip. Your palms should be facing up.
Keep your elbows in the same position as much as possible, with your upper arms parallel to the floor. Bring your forearm up until it forms an angle of about 90 degrees.
Squeeze and return in the same position that you started with. Repeat the motion with the other arm.
As mentioned, there may be times when you can’t use any weights. Perhaps you are traveling and didn’t want to bring them with you. Perhaps you didn’t get the chance to buy them yet. Or perhaps you just want a break from your dumbbells during this workout routine.
Regardless of your reasons, there are plenty of exercises that you can do without a pair of dumbbells. This doesn’t mean you won’t be using any kind of weight; you will just use your own body weight instead.
Here are a couple of exercises you might want to try:
This is the kind of exercise for the biceps that everyone underestimates, but without fail, leaves them sore at the end of a workout.
To do this exercise, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Both arms should extend straight out, until your body forms a T. Your palms may face down, but for an even better effect, keep the palms facing forward.
Rotate the shoulders and arms slowly until they start tracing circle. Start small, with golf ball-sized circles. After that, you may do bigger circles, the size of a football.
Do 15 circles in each direction. For each type of circle, do 3 sets. You will see that at the end of the workout, your biceps will feel more worked as compared to doing weight exercises.
For this exercise, you will need a chair or the edge of a couch, but make sure that it is secure enough and that it will not send you falling down the floor.
For this exercise, your back should face the edge of the object you are propping yourself against. Place the hands on the edge, shoulder-width apart and shift your bottom and pelvis forward. There should be a 3-6-inch gap between you and the object so that you can dip down.
Keep the knees slightly bent, your feet planted, bend your elbows and dip your body down – and then go back to the starting point. Do 12 of these in 3 sets.
The plank is always a good move to strengthen your biceps – but for the move to be even more efficient, you might want to add some side-to-side movement instead.
Put yourself in an elevated plank position. Have the arms stretching right beneath you, your palms firmly placed on the ground, your toes pressing on the ground, and your body in a straight line.
This is your plank position, and you should already feel your biceps working. But for an even better effect, start walking with both the feet and the hands from side to side – one step left, one step right.
Keep this up for one minute. If you feel like you are up to the challenge, try increasing the rep by 30 seconds.
When you are working out your biceps at home, there are certain aspects that you may want to remember. For one, even if you are not at the gym, you need to keep the routine as close to it as possible. Here are our tips:
While you may find warm-ups an annoyance and you want to get straight down to business, you should not skip this step. You will see that something as simple as the hammer curl should be easier to do after a warmup.
The nature of the warmup exercises. Some prefer to do some light stretching. Others prefer a quick cardio workout. The idea here is to give your blood flow an increase, which will help your biceps exercises have an even bigger effect.
Many people might be tempted to relax as much as possible during the biceps exercises, as they won’t want to get too tired. However, when you get to the top of the movement, it is always essential to squeeze your muscles.
By squeezing, you will be focusing the tension on your upper arm, breaking down muscle fibers and building fresh muscle mass. The squeeze is actually the main part of that effort.
Don’t think that if you work constantly, without stopping, you will build up more muscle. The truth is actually the opposite. You need to give yourself at least one rest day per week, so that your muscles can fully repair themselves.
The same thing applies to the breaks between workouts. You might feel like you want to keep going, but resting up pays more. If you don’t allow your muscles to heal, you will end up underperforming, which won’t do much good for your workout after all.
If you are looking to work your arms at home, then you need to create a routine with the most effective biceps exercises for you.
Each person has their own needs and preferences with their upper body, and your workout at home should mirror that. Remember, you need to warm up, squeeze and be consistent!
Written by: Andreea-Lucia Iavorenciuc