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The Best Bicep Workout Exercises for Home Gyms

bicep workout best

Your biceps are one of the most enjoyable muscles to train and show off. When asked to ‘show me your muscles’, no one ever breaks into a side chest pose or a lat spread; it’s always a bicep pose. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the more challenging muscles to build effectively, especially if you have limited equipment. So keep reading if you’re struggling to find a simple yet effective bicep workout from home. This article will explore the best bicep workout exercises for home gyms, including bodyweight, dumbbell, and other movements. Let’s take a look then, shall we?

Barbell Curl

Perhaps the best bicep workout you can perform is also the most common, being the barbell curl. It will train both heads of the muscle, is relatively simple to perform, and will give you great results. Obviously, you’ll need to get a barbell to perform a barbell. However, a standard straight barbell will do just fine unless you have wrist issues and the straight bar causes you pain. If this is the case, an EZ curl bar could be a handy inclusion in your home gym setup. Start with the barbell at your hips, with your palms facing forward. Next, keeping your core tight and only moving your arms below the elbow, curl the barbell to your chin. Then, in a controlled manner, lower the barbell back to the starting position to complete one rep. To make this bicep workout at home even more effective, ensure you aren’t swinging your upper arms. Many mistakenly use their shoulders and momentum from their hips to lift heavier barbells, but this will only take the stress off your biceps, leading to an ineffective workout. Instead, reduce the weight if you have to, as the proper form will give you the best bicep workout. Barbell Curls will work the following muscles:
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Biceps Brachialis
  • Biceps Brachioradialis

Dumbbell Curls

If you don’t have a barbell, you can perform a bicep curl with dumbbells just as effectively. Dumbbell curls are one of the most effective bicep workouts with dumbbells and are also incredibly versatile. Here are two of my favorite variations:

Standing Curl: The technique for this exercise is very similar to a standard barbell curl. But instead of lifting both arms at once, alternate your arms instead. Hand positioning can be either palm facing forward or palms facing your thighs, rotating the dumbbell 90 degrees during the curl. This bicep exercise will rival any bicep workout with cables and requires minimal equipment.

Incline Seated Curl: This is my favorite bicep curl variation. You’ll need a bench on a gentle incline setting. Sit down with your dumbbells and lift them to your chest alternatingly. Sitting at an incline helps to mitigate any momentum, putting all of the stress on your biceps. You’ll also get a better range of motion. The seated curl is more suited in the palms facing inwards starting position to minimize contact between the bench and the dumbbells.

Dumbbell curls will work the following muscles:

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Biceps Brachialis
  • Biceps Brachioradialis

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are primarily a back exercise but make an excellent addition to any bicep workout at home. For your safety, I recommend having a sturdy pull-up bar to perform your pull-ups. However, a little creativity can go a long way here. Monkey bars at your local park, ledges or beams around your house, or even tree branches can make for excellent pull-up bar alternatives.

To perform a pull-up:

  1. Stand underneath your bar.
  2. Grip the bar with your palms facing away from you. Your hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart to help engage your back.
  3. Pull yourself up using your arms and keep your core tight.

Once your chin clears the bar, lower yourself down under control to complete a rep.

Pull-ups can be a difficult movement to complete, especially if you’re a beginner. Try adding a resistance band if you need to make the exercise easier. Wrap the ends of the resistance bands around the bar and place one foot inside the band. Heavier bands will make for easier pull-ups, as they’ll ‘cancel out’ some of your weight, making it easier to pull yourself up.

Pull-ups are perhaps the best mass-building exercises you can do for your back and bicep development. They are a must-do exercise to include in any body weight bicep workout. The movement will train the following muscles:

  • Biceps
  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Erector Spinae
  • Forearms
  • Obliques

Chin-Ups

If you’re struggling to perform pull-ups or want an exercise with even more emphasis on your arms, try a chin-up instead. Chin-ups are a variation of pull-ups that put more stress on your biceps and forearms, making them the perfect addition for a bicep workout at home.

Like with pull-ups, you’ll need a pull-up bar or creative alternative. Stand underneath the bar, with your hands a little closer than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing towards you. Pull yourself off the ground, pulling your elbows down, remembering to engage your core. Once your chin has passed the bar, slowly lower yourself to the starting position to complete a rep.

The differences between pull-ups and chin-ups are subtle, but they make a huge difference. The difference in grip means that pull-ups primarily engage your back muscles and your biceps as a ‘secondary muscle.’ In contrast, your biceps are more of the primary muscle involved in chin-ups.

Beginners can make chin-ups easier with a resistance band or staring with negative reps. You can perform negative chin-ups using an elevated platform such as a chair, enabling you to start the chin-up in the top position. Then, lower yourself under control from the top position until your arms are fully extended. Then step back on the platform and repeat. Negative chin-ups are also great for getting past a plateau in reps.

 If you’re more advanced and looking to make the reps harder, try holding each rep for a few seconds before coming back down. Alternatively, hold a dumbbell with your legs.

Chin-ups will work the following muscles:

  • Delts
  • Spinal stabilizers
  • Biceps

Reverse Curls

Reverse curls are one of the most underrated dumbbell bicep workouts. They’re an excellent addition to any home bicep workout, require minimal equipment, and offer great results. To perform a reverse curl:
  1. Stand upright, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grab two dumbbells with an overhand grip.
  3. Start with the dumbbells resting at your side, and slowly lift the weights to your shoulders.
  4. Engage your core and your biceps during this movement, and try not to use momentum, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
To complete a rep, slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. This exercise is surprisingly tricky, and mastering the form can take time. Therefore, you should start with a lighter weight and go for higher reps. As you master your form, slowly increase the weight. You shouldn’t feel pain during this movement, so if your biceps start to hurt when you do reverse curls, you might want to lower the weight. To get the best bicep workout at home, I like to perform a superset with regular curls and reverse curls. I’ll do ten reps of standard curls with heavier weights, immediately switch to lighter dumbbells, and complete 10-12 reverse curls. This will absolutely kill your biceps, making for a perfect workout! Reverse curls will work the following muscles:
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Biceps Brachialis
  • Biceps Brachioradialis

Hammer Curl

If you step foot inside a gym, I can almost guarantee that someone will be doing hammer curls. This is because hammer curls are so effective at building your arms and make for a perfect bicep workout with dumbbells. Here are two of my favorite hammer curl variations:

Standing Hammer Curl: My favorite kind of hammer curl is the standing variation. To perform this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, grab some dumbbells with your palms toward your hips. Next, keeping your core tight and your elbows straight, lift a dumbbell to your shoulders, one at a time. Finally, slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side to complete a rep.

Seated Hammer Curl: If you want an even greater range of motion, the seated hammer curl could be a great addition to your bicep workout at home. Make sure your bench is on a slight incline, and perform the above mentioned action. The seated version also helps to limit momentum, making it perfect for beginners who want to master form and motion.

Hammer curls will work the following muscles:

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Biceps Brachialis
  • Biceps Brachioradialis

Final Thoughts

So, these are seven exercises to get an excellent bicep workout at home. These exercises are a great addition to any arm, upper body, or pull workout split and will help build other muscles, like your back. Experiment with all these exercises to find your favorite ones most effective for you and your routine. And make sure to have fun- bicep workouts are some of my all-time favorites, and by implementing these exercises, they could be yours too.

About the Author

James is a freelance writer with a passion for fitness. He has written for multiple businesses, and takes great pride in producing high-quality articles. When he’s not pounding away at the keyboard James is sweating it out at the gym, boxing, watching tennis, and playing video games

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