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Best Exercises to Build Your Biceps at Home

By Born Tough on

Most people struggle to build up their biceps because they don’t have access to a gym. But you don't really need to hit the gym or have expensive equipment to do it. In fact, there's a whole variety of ways to work out this important muscle group without ever leaving your home.

Here you will learn about the best exercises you can perform to build up your biceps at home using dumbbells, barbells, and homemade weight alternatives.

1. Biceps Structure

Biceps Structure

Before jumping into exercises, you must know the anatomy of the biceps in order to understand how this muscle group works and which parts to focus on while doing a workout.

A bicep is a two-headed muscle that flexes your arms at the shoulder and elbow joints where the biceps is attached. Building good biceps requires exercising both the shoulder and elbow joints equally.

2. How to build your biceps at home?

You can build your biceps at home by using the following methods:

2.1. Lift Heavy Objects

A great way to build up your biceps at home is to lift heavy objects. Dumbbells and barbells in particular are famous for this purpose. However, you can also use simple household objects, e.g. heavy books, rice bags, etc. as an alternative way to perform such exercises.

2.2. Feed Your Biceps

The best way to grow your biceps at home is to have good nutrition included with your workout. Make sure to feed your working muscles with sufficient amounts of proteins by eating a healthy diet. Otherwise your muscles will not grow.

Try to intake at least 1.3g of protein per lb of body weight every day.

An average person weighing 72 kg (160 lbs) should consume 160 to 200g of proteins per day.

2.3. Use Body Weight

If you are not a fan of lifting heavy objects, you can build your biceps by using your own body weight. There are many exercises that utilize your own body weight as a means to exert force on your biceps. Examples include push-ups, chin-ups, pull-ups, etc.

3. How to Begin?

3.1. Use Home-Based Weight Alternatives

Use Home-Based Weight Alternatives

It’s convenient to own a set of dumbbells or barbells and use them to work your biceps at home. But you don’t necessarily need to own a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. You can perform the same exercises by using various homemade weight alternatives. In order to build your own dumbbells or kettlebells, you simply need:

  • A rod (curtain bar or any other steel bar)
  • Two water-filled bottles
  • Two backpacks,
  • A few heavy books

3.2. To make a Dumbbell

To make a Dumbbell

Use a large soft drink bottle, the kind that comes in giant sizes. Fill this with a liquid or solid that will fit readily inside. Filling these bottles with sand or dirt will make them heavier than water.

3.3. To make a Barbell

To make a Barbell

Attach a bag to either end of the rod in order to make the barbell. Fill each bag with an equal amount of weight. Books are the most convenient option in this regard. However, you can stuff the bags with whatever you like; just make sure they're all the same weight.

To add complexity to your exercises, you can also use various other things such as bags of rice, canned goods, milk jugs, backpacks filled with sand or dirt, broomsticks, etc.

3.4. Decide Amount of Weight

The key to determining how much load to lift is not to consider how much weight you can move physically, but how much weight you can manage for a reasonable number of repetitions.

The amount of weight you should lift depends on your stamina and how many reps you can perform while carrying that weight.

To determine your ideal weight to lift, do one set of 12 reps. to determine if the weight you are lifting is:

  • Too heavy: If you cannot keep going after just four repetitions.
  • Too light: If you complete the set without sufficient effort and are able to continue.
  • Perfect: If your first few reps are easy and become progressively harder while you are cursing.

4. Best Exercises to Build Biceps at Home

4.1. Bicep Curls

Bicep Curls

Bicep curls are popular for building biceps since they are a terrific isolation workout.

They target biceps brachii (muscle on the upper arm) along with brachialis and brachioradialis (muscles in the lower arm).

There are many variations of bicep curls, such as concentration curls, zottman curls, etc., which can help you maximize bicep strength and growth. You can perform these curls with dumbbells, kettlebells or any of the homemade weight objects.

How to perform a classic Bicep Curl?

To perform a classic bicep curl:

Stand straight with your feet apart at hip-width and your core muscles engaged.

Hold either dumbbells or any improvised weights in both hands. Keep your arms hanging down straight and your palms facing front.

Now bend your elbows and raise your arms to lift your weights up to shoulder height. Maintain a straight spine and avoid engaging your hips.

Then lower the weights to the starting position and repeat.

Workout Plan:

Perform two to three sets with 8-10 reps.

4.2. Concentration Curls

Concentration Curls

Concentration curls are the most effective way to build your biceps at home. Since it targets a concentrated portion of your bicep (main biceps and forearm), it is called a concentration curl.

According to a study by American Council on Exercises published in August 2014,

“The concentration curl is the most effective exercise for biceps because it isolates the biceps more than the other workouts examined.”

How to Perform?

  • Sit down with your back straight and your legs spread wider than your hips.
  • Hold the dumbbell or weight of your choice in your right hand and place your right elbow on the inner side of your right thigh. Place your left arm on your left thigh.
  • Gradually curl up the weight while keeping your chest up. Pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your bicep.
  • Then lower the weight to the starting position and repeat with the other side.

Workout Plan:

Perform three to four sets with 8-10 reps.

4.3. Wide-lifted bicep curls

Wide-lifted bicep curls

Wide-lifted biceps curl mainly targets the short head of the bicep, i.e. the inside of your biceps. It helps to add thickness and lateral girth to your upper arm.

You can do this workout without any extra weight or using at-home things like water bottles, soup cans, or a stack of books.

How to Perform?

  • Start by standing straight with your feet apart at shoulder width.
  • Lift your arms on both sides up to shoulder level by bending your elbows at 90 degrees. Make sure your palms are facing inward.
  • Then extend your arms straight slowly on both sides.
  • Again, bend your arms to the initial position and repeat.

Workout Plan:

Perform two to three sets with 15-20 reps.

4.4. Zottman Curl

Zottman Curl

A Zottman curl is an excellent workout for biceps and muscular devlopement in the forearms at home.

It targets the brachialis, brachioradialis, and biceps brachii at the same time.

The Zottman curl is named after George Zottman – the late 19th-century weightlifter. It combines a regular curl and a reverse curl to maximize effectiveness throughout the exercise.

How to Perform?

  • Stand straight with your arms extended downward by maintaining an underhanded grip.
  • Lift your arms up in the same manner as the biceps curl.
  • When the dumbbells or weights reach shoulder level, rotate your hands for an overhand grip with your palms facing downwards.
  • Lower your arms slowly and steadily in a reverse curl-like action.
  • Move your hands back to the overhand grip once your arms are fully stretched back down.

Workout Plan:

Perform two to three sets with 10-15 reps.

4.5. Back-Pack Curls

Back-Pack Curls

Backpack curls are great for building stronger arms at home. A backpack filled with heavy objects like books or water bottles can function the same as any other weight.

How to Perform?

  • Hang your backpack at the end of any handle, rod or stick. Stand straight and hold the backpack by the handles on both sides.
  • Lift the bag to shoulder level by bending your elbow slowly.
  • Then lower the bag back to starting position and repeat.
  • Make sure to maintain control and avoid swinging your arm.

Workout Plan:

Perform one set with 12-15 reps per arm.

4.6. Preacher Curl

Preacher Curl

Preacher curls are terrific for building biceps as they target the three main elbow flexors: biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

This exercise works the long head of the biceps brachii more than the short head because the arms are placed at an angle in this curl.

You can use any chair or wood surface at home instead of a bench to perform this exercise at home.

How to Perform?

  • To begin, adjust the backrest of the chair or bench to a 45-degree angle.
  • Then brace your arm against the bench while holding a dumbbell or weight of your choice.
  • Curl the weight toward your front until your forearm and biceps form a strong connection.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell until your elbow is extended to complete the rep and repeat.

Workout Plan:

Perform three sets with 10-12 reps.

4.7. Bicep Barbell Curl

Bicep Barbell Curl

Barbell curls target your biceps, brachii, and brachialis. It can help you get bigger biceps if practiced regularly.

You can perform it either with actual barbells or your homemade barbells. A broomstick with bags hanging on either side is a good option to use.

How to Perform?

  • Stand straight and grab your barbell or broomstick with both hands. Your fingers should be facing upward.
  • Bend your elbow and gradually lift the weights to your shoulder level. Pause for a moment.
  • Lower the weights slowly to the starting position and repeat.
  • Make sure to control your movement and avoid swinging the weights.

Workout Plan:

Perform three sets with 12-15 reps.

5. Takeaways

These exercises can help you achieve your dream biceps but make sure to eat a healthy diet along with getting proper rest. Building your biceps requires discipline and patience. Hence, don’t skimp on your workouts, work hard, and provide your muscles with the nutrients and rest they require.

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