Weight Loss Made Practical » Exercise

10 Bicep Exercises You Can Do At Home

Most people know that you can build muscle at the gym. Luckily there are also exercises you can use to build bigger biceps at home.

For most of these bicep exercises, you would benefit from having fitness equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands. However, you can also do most of them with objects you can find in most households. Objects like a backpack with heavy things in it and a grocery bag work great in bicep exercises.

Biceps are a popular muscle group because they have a big impact on how your arms look. By doing curls with small variations you can change what part of the bicep muscles you focus on.

How heavy the weight you use should be, varies from exercise to exercise and individual to individual. If you are not sure which weight would be right for you, you can start with light weights and build up from there.

Keep in mind that even though there are upsides, your injury risk is generally also higher when you do exercises with more weight/resistance. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.

1. Side-lying bicep curls

This first option is an absolutely zero equipment bicep exercise although you may want to invest in something like a yoga mat if you don’t have a soft surface available. To do a side-lying bicep curl take the following steps:

  1. Lie on one side on the ground. Grab the hamstrings (back upper leg) of the corresponding side with the bottom arm. Keep your other arm somewhere it can’t create momentum during the exercise, for example behind your head.
  2. Slowly fold your bottom arm at the elbow as far as you can. Provide resistance with your leg. Keep your upper arm in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Stretch your arm again in a controlled motion. Keep providing resistance with your leg throughout the exercise.
  4. Repeat the same number of repetitions with your other arm.

Having weights like dumbbells available is helpful for working out your biceps but as you can see, there are also bodyweight options for training this muscle.

2. Standing bicep curls

Standing bicep curls are likely the first exercise that comes to mind if you think about bicep exercises. To do a standing bicep curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds some form of weight with a supinated grip which means with your hand palms facing forward in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weight back into starting position in a controlled motion.

If you have no fitness equipment at all you can use everyday objects like a heavy backpack or grocery bags. Resistance bands are a great low-investment option to make bicep exercises at home more challenging.

Other fitness equipment like dumbbells, a barbell, kettlebells, etc. are even more helpful. These may be more of a long term investment but they can also make a wide variety of other exercises more challenging.

3. Hammer curls

To do a hammer curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds a heavy object with a neutral grip which means with your hand palms facing each other in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weights back into starting position in a controlled motion.

If you have only one heavy object available you can train each bicep alternately. Make sure you repeat the same number of repetitions to avoid any muscle imbalances.

By changing your grip compared to the regular curl you target your brachialis muscle more. This muscle helps your arms achieve more power and look bigger.

4. Reverse curls

To do a reverse curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds a heavy object with a pronated grip which means with your hand palms facing backward in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weights back into starting position in a controlled motion.

By changing your grip even more compared to the hammer curl you target your brachialis muscle even more.

5. Chin-ups

For chin-ups you will need a pull-up bar. Most people think this type of fitness equipment requires a large investment and a separate home gym. However, there are relatively inexpensive doorway pull-up bars that are sufficient for exercises like chin-ups.

To do a chin-up take the following steps:

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with your hands at about shoulder-width with your hand palms facing backward.
  2. Pull your body up slowly until your shoulders are the height of the bar.
  3. Lower your body again into starting position in a controlled motion.

A pull-up bar also allows you to do exercises for other muscles like your abdominal and back muscles.

6. Crossbody curls

To do a crossbody curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds a heavy object with your hand palms facing forward in starting position.
  2. Slowly bring the weight of one side to the shoulder of the opposite side as far as possible by folding your arms at the elbow. Keep your upper arm as much in the same position as possible but it will inevitably have to move to be able to do the movement.
  3. Lower the weight back into starting position in a controlled motion.
  4. Repeat with the weight on the other side.

Crossbody curls change the upward angle compared to regular bicep curls. This leads to more focus on the long head of the brachii bicep muscle, the outer of the two brachii muscle heads.

7. Outward bicep curls

To do a standing outward bicep curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds some form of weight with a supinated grip which means with your hand palms facing forward in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Move the weights outward instead of straight up. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weight back into starting position in a controlled motion.

Again the different upward angle changes what muscles get engaged more. Outward bicep curls are more focused on the short head of the brachii bicep muscle, the inner of the two brachii muscle heads, compared to regular bicep curls.

8. Concentration curls

For concentration curls, you need something to sit on at about knee height. Something as simple as a chair works. Once you have that, to do a concentration curl take the following steps:

  1. Sit on your chair or another sitting object with your upper legs making about a 90-degree angle. Hold a heavy object in one hand, slightly tilt your upper body forward while keeping a good posture, and place the lower back of your upper arm on the inside of your leg on the same side.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weight back into starting position in a controlled motion.

Concentration curls allow you to avoid momentum and using the rest of your body to move the weight. This leads to your biceps working hard and hopefully in turn more and faster muscle gain.

9. Drag curls

To do a drag curl take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms hanging beside you. Each hand holds a heavy object with your hand palms facing forward in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Throughout the movement, you move your elbows back. Your hands with the weights basically follow the same line as your body.
  3. Lower the weights back into starting position in a controlled motion.

By moving your elbows back this exercise focuses more on the biceps brachii which are the muscles most people think of when hearing the word bicep.

10. Seated curls

For the next exercise, you will again need something to sit on. Once you have that, to do a seated bicep curl take the following steps:

  1. Sit down on the object so that you can let your arms hang beside you. Each hand holds a heavy object with your hand palms facing forward in starting position.
  2. Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you can. Keep your upper arms in the same position throughout the exercise.
  3. Lower the weights back into starting position in a controlled motion.

By doing a regular bicep curl sitting down you avoid using your legs to move the weights. This leads to more focus on your bicep muscles.