Are you looking for a workout that will build bigger biceps? There are plenty of great arm exercises designed to help you gain muscle, and you don’t even have to set foot in a gym. As long as you have a pair of dumbbells, you can do these bicep-building moves anywhere. A Bodybuilding.com article notes that when your goal is to increase the size of your biceps, you should place a priority on lifting heavy weights. Shannon Clark, the author of the article, explains that “since building more size is a combination of a heavy surplus, enough volume, and plenty of calories, it’s a wise decision to focus on exercises that will allow you to lift the heaviest weight possible.”
We’ve scoured the web for the best moves that will help you build the biceps of your dreams. Take a look at these five exercises, grab your dumbbells, and get started!
1. Basic dumbbell curl
There’s a reason basic dumbbell curls are so popular — the exercise move yields great results! A proper curl requires a weighted object, and you can do the move either sitting or standing. Once you are in your starting position, lift your weights to your shoulders, and then lower them until your arms are fully extended. Livestrong notes that proper form is key with this move; it keeps your muscles fully engaged and helps prevent injury.
If you’re standing while doing dumbbell curls, make sure your feet are hip-width apart. If sitting, sit in a chair without arms. You’ll need to create a strong set position, which you can do by tightening your abdomen and drawing your should blades back and down. Make sure you don’t lock your elbows when you lower your weight, and keep your elbows and upper arm aligned with your torso. Try to complete three sets of 12 repetitions. This video offers great tips for those hoping to perfect their form.
2. Incline dumbbell curl
Working your biceps at a different angle will ensure your arm workouts remain challenging. The Houston Chronicle explains that using dumbbells on an incline angle isolates the bicep muscle, which forces it to work on its own. This helps increase intramuscular coordination, which recruits more muscle fibers and motor units. The more motor units that are recruited, the more developed the muscle will become, The Houston Chronicle states.
To do an incline curl, Bodybuilding.com states that you should begin by sitting back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold them at arms length, keep your elbows close to your torso, and rotate your palms so they’re facing forward. Hold the upper arm stationary, and curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps. Continue the movement, making sure only your forearms are moving, until your biceps are fully contracted and the weights are at shoulder level. Hold this for a second, and then slowly bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.
3. Push-up position hammer curl
To do this move, featured on Men’s Health, grab a pair of weights and start in a push-up position with your palms facing each other. Curl the weight in your right hand toward your right shoulder, without moving your upper arm. Lower the weight, and repeat with your left arm. Alternate between right and left curls for 30 to 60 seconds.
Men’s Health notes that this is a great two-in-one move; not only does this exercise work your biceps, but it’s also great for your abs. Killer arms and a six-pack? Sounds like a win-win!
4. Hammer curls with dumbbells
Muscle For Life explains hammer curls are great for building up the brachialis, a smaller muscle that can make your biceps look bigger. To begin this move, WebMD says to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. You can also sit in an upright position.
Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other and your arms hanging at your sides. Flex at the elbows and curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level, and then slowly return the weight to the starting position. Make sure you keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the movement; don’t let them move forward. Feel free to alternate sides, focusing on one arm at a time.
No weights are needed to do this move. MDHealth.com says, in addition to working your biceps, push-ups also help build muscle in the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Make sure you’re using great form each time you do a push-up: Start with your hands about shoulder-width apart on the floor with your palms turned inward slightly. Stretch your body out so your hands are touching the floor, and the rest of your body is in a plank position. Lower yourself down by bending your arms, then push your arms straight to raise yourself back up.
MDHealth.com suggests experimenting with moving your hands closer or farther apart, which makes this move more challenging.