Bodyweight Exercises for the Biceps

When people think of getting big, muscular biceps they usually think of going to the gym and hitting the huge dumbbells in the weight room. Of course this is one way to build up your biceps, but simple body weight exercises can get the job done as well. One of the great parts about body weight exercises is that they can be done with very little equipment, and don’t require having huge sets of bulky weights laying around. Bodyweight exercises for biceps are easy to learn and are very effective.

Chin Ups

The only equipment required for chin ups is a bar that you can hang from. To do them properly, start by grasping the bar with your palms facing toward you. This is called an underhand grip. If the bar is too high, find a box or stool to put underneath you. Hands should be pretty close, with just a few inches between them. Once you are hanging, use your arm and upper body strength to pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. At the top your elbows should be fully bent and you should keep your knees bent and crossed to more evenly distribute your weight. Using slow and controlled movement, lower your body back down. This is one full chin up. This exercise works the biceps hard, but also hits other muscles, including your back. Chin ups are generally agreed to be one of the most effective bodyweight exercises for biceps, and they are a favorite among fitness experts because they target so many other parts of the upper body as well.

Resistance Band Bicep Curls

Unlike bicep curls with dumbbells, resistance band bicep curls use your body weight to make the movement difficult. For this, all you need is a resistance band that has a handle on each end. These come in differing levels of difficult. Most people do this exercise with a low or medium level resistance band. To perform the exercise, simply grab the handles on each end and step on the middle of the band. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart and planted firmly on the ground so that the band will not move. Arms should be straight and palms should be facing forward, away from your body. Using both arms at the same time, curl the band up, hold for a count or two if you choose, and release slowly. Bicep curls are one of the most direct ways of targeting the biceps, which is why this exercise is so great.

Dive-Bomber Push Up

Push ups are traditionally seen as a chest exercise, but variations on the movement can make it more focused on building biceps. Start with your hands and feet both on the ground and your hips in the air. Your body should look like an upside-down letter V. From here, lower your head and shoulders like you are trying to go underneath something. As you are pushing your head and shoulders in this motion, arch your back and end the movement with your knees and hips just a few inches off the ground. Reverse the movement by bringing your body back up again to start another push up.

Incline Push Up

This is another variation on the traditional push up that makes it hit the biceps more than it normally would. Incline push ups are very easy to learn and are quite similar to regular push ups. All you need for this is a box, stool, or bench of some sort that you can put your hands on. For this exercise, get in regular push up position but put your hands up and on the edges of whatever object you are using to put your body on an incline. Ideally they should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. As your lower down, arms should go out perpendicular to the body. As always, keep the rest of your body as straight as possible. Push up exercises are great because they build biceps but also work the chest and back to create a well-rounded upper body.

Pull Ups

Pulls ups are like chin ups in many ways, but the form is different and they hit the muscles in different ways. To do a proper pull up, find a bar that you can suspend your body from, just as you did with the chin up. This time, you should be using an overhand grip, with your palms facing away from you. Your hands should also be much more widely spaced, at a little more than shoulder width apart. Use your arms and upper body muscles to push your elbows down and pull your chin over the bar. Slowly lower yourself down to complete the movement. As with chin ups, legs should be crossed during this exercise. Pulls up are harder than chin ups for most people, so it should not be surprising if you can do a lot more chin ups at the beginning. However, that’s what makes this exercise so satisfying. It is fun to watch yourself progress as time goes by and conquer a move that most people categorize as very difficult.

Commando Chin Ups

This is a variation on the traditional chin up that hits the bicep in a new way. For this exercise, your hands should be very close together on the bar, and both thumbs should be facing you. This means your body should be lined up with the bar looking toward the end of the bar. Pull yourself up with your head going on the left side of the bar and try to touch the bar with your right shoulder. Lower yourself slowly and then raise yourself back up on the other side. This time your head should come up on the right side and your left shoulder should tap the bar. Lower yourself again with controlled movement to finish the exercise.