bodyweight bicep exercises
Fitness

18 Bodyweight Bicep Exercises For Building Bigger Biceps

Barbells, dumbbells, and cables are what first come to mind when you think of training the biceps. But what if you are working out at home and you don’t have access to any equipment?

No problem – there are plenty of extremely effective bodyweight bicep exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime with no equipment at all. 

In this article, I’m about to lay out the 18 best bodyweight moves for building muscle mass in the biceps.

1. Inverted Curl

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

Equipment used 

Bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Set up a bar about four feet above the floor. Lie under the bar with straight legs and grab hold of it with an under hand grip with your hands about shoulder width apart.
  2. From this starting position, pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Tips 

Keep a straight body throughout; squeeze the biceps tightly in the top position.

2. Towel Curl

Muscles worked

Biceps

Equipment used 

Everyday bath towel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Stand with a folded towel looped under your right knee, holding its ends in your hands with a neutral grip with your arms fully extended.
  2. Curl the towel up to bring your knee up to chest level.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Perform 12 reps on each leg.

Tips 

On this exercise, you are able to control the resistance by adjusting the amount of push down on the lifted leg – to make it harder simply push down with more force.

3. Close Grip Chin Ups

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

Equipment used 

Pull up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Grab a chin up bar with an under hand grip with your hands six inches apart.
  2. From a fully extended arm position, pull your body up to bring your chin over the pullup bar.
  3. Lower to full extension and then repeat.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tips 

Squeeze the biceps tightly in the top position; do not swing or allow momentum to rob the biceps of the benefit of the exercise; make sure to move through a full range of motion; maintain core stability.

4. Isometric Chin Ups

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

Equipment used 

Pull up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Grab a chin up bar with an underhand grip (holding the bar with palms facing) with your hands about shoulder width apart.
  2. From a fully extended arm position, pull your body up to bring your chin over the bar.
  3. Hold the tp position with your chin over the bar for 30 seconds
  4. Lower to full extension and then repeat.

Tips 

Squeeze the life out of the chin-up bar in the top position. Maintain core stability throughout the move. This is a tough exercise, so you may have to work up to a 30-second hold!

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5. Band Bicep Curl

Muscles worked

Biceps

Equipment used 

Resistance band

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a resistance band looped under your mid feet. Hold the ends of the band in your hands with a palms forward grip at full extension at your sides.
  2. From this starting position, Curl both arms up to shoulder level.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Tips 

Use a heavier band on each succeeding set as you lower the rep count by 2 reps. Do not swing or bend your back.

6. Head Banger Pull Up

Muscles worked

Biceps, front delts, lats

Equipment used 

Pull up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Grab a pull up bar with an under hand grip with your hands six inches apart.
  2. From a fully extended prone chin up position, pull your body up to bring your chin over the bar.
  3. Push your body away from the bar to extend your arms with a horizontal movement.
  4. Pull back to bring your head back to the bar.
  5. Lower to full extension and then repeat.
  6. Perform 3 sets to failure.

Tips 

This is a fantastic movement for the biceps muscle but it is a very advanced exercise. Work up to it and focus on quality over quantity. Keep your upper body rigid throughout the movement.

7. Band Hammer Curl 

Muscles worked

Biceps, front delts, forearms

Equipment used 

Resistance band

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a resistance band under your mid feet. Hold the ends of the band in your hands with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) at full extension at your sides.
  2. Curl both arms up to shoulder level.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Tips 

Perform the exercise slowly and deliberately, squeezing the biceps tightly in the fully contracted position.

8. Bear Crawl

Muscles worked

Biceps, front delts, forearms, lats

Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on all fours, with your palms and toes being the points of contact. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart.
  2. Round your back and lift your butt in the air.
  3. Take a large step forward with your right hand and follow through with your left foot. 
  4. Continue to move forward 5 paces.
  5. Reverse to return to the start position.
  6. Perform 5 ‘reps’ of 5 paces forward and back.

Tips 

Contract your biceps as you move forward and backward. Move fluidly with no pauses.

9. Commando Chin Up

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front dets

Equipment used 

Pull up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Hang side on from a bar with a neutral commando staggered grip (palms facing each other).
  2. Pull your body from a prone position up to touch your chin to the bar.
  3. Lower to full extension and repeat.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tips 

You can arch your back lightly you come up; do not swing or kip, however. be sure to lower to full extension and squeeze your biceps at the top of each rep.

10. Lateral Push Up Walk

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts, core

Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Lie on the floor with your hands and feet wide apart and legs fully extended. You should be in the top of the classic plank position.
  2. Step your arms laterally to move to the sides, following through with your legs.
  3. Perform a push up.
  4. Take another lateral step with arms and the feet.
  5. Move 5 paces to the right and then return to the start position.
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Tips 

Keep your core tight throughout the movement; do not allow your butt to rise into the air.

11. Side Plank

Muscles worked

Biceps, front deltoids, lats, core, obliques

Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Lie on your side with your feet stacked, legs straight and your boy resting on your right forearm. Place your left arm in the air.
  2. Lift your hips into the air.
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 30 second hold.

Tips 

Keep your boy rigid as you perform this exercise.

12. Suspension Trainer Curls

Muscles worked

Biceps

Equipment used 

Suspension trainer

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Set up a suspension trainer  on an upright above your body and grab the handles so that the straps are at a  30 degree angle.
  2. Extend your arms back to full extension. Your body should now be at a 45 degree angle. 
  3. Pull your body back to an upright position by curling your arms up to full contraction.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Tips 

Keep your entire body rigid throughout the movement. Squeeze the biceps tightly in the fully contracted position.

13. Pull Ups

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

Equipment used 

Pull up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Grab a chin up bar with an overhand hand grip with your hands about shoulder width apart.
  2. From a fully extended prone position, pull your body up to bring your chin over the pullup bar.
  3. Lower to full extension and then repeat.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tips 

Maintain a rigid body; do not swing or ‘kip’ your way up to the bar.

14. Archer Pull Ups

Muscles worked

Biceps, front delts, lats

Equipment used 

Pull Up bar

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Hang from a pull up bar with an overhand grip and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Pull yourself up to bring the chin over the bar.
  3. Pull your body to the right to touch your chin to your hand.
  4. Return to the center position.
  5. Lower to full extension.
  6. On the next rep bring your chin cross to meet your left hand.
  7. Work up to doing 3 sets of 8 reps.

Tips 

This is an advanced move that you will have to work up to. Keep your body rigid in the opposition and squeeze your biceps when your hand meets your chin.

15. Decline Push Up

Muscles worked

Biceps, pectorals, front delts

Equipment used 

Bench

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Place your feet on a bench with your hands on the floor and your kegs extended. Your hands should be slightly sider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Lower to the floor to bring your head to the floor.
  3. Push back to the start position.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.

Tips 

Keep your butt down when you do this exercise; maintain a tight core.

16. Dive Bomber Push Up

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

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Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on the floor with your hands about shoulder width apart and your feet together. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe.
  2. Straighten your arms to be in the regular push ups top position. Now walk your feet in to form a pike position with your body so that your butt is high in the air in an inverted V position.
  3. With a tight core, lower your body until your chest is about an inch from the floor.
  4. Now perform an arching movement as if you were crawling under a fence and push back up to full arms extension.
  5. Reverse the motion to return to the start position.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps. 

Tips 

Perform your reps in a continuous, fluid movement.

17. Chaturanga

Muscles worked

Biceps, lats, front delts

Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down in the top plank position. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  2. Pull your elbows back toward your ribcage as you slowly lower your torso to the floor. 
  3. Hold the bottom position for a count of 10.
  4. Return to the start position.

Tips 

Keep your hips slightly higher than your chest level. Maintain a tight core throughout.

18. Monkey Bars

Muscles worked

Biceps, front deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Monkey bars

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Hang from the first rung of a set of monkey bars with both hands in n overhand grip.
  2. Reach your right hand out to the next rung and then follow through with your left hand.
  3. Continue to move through the entire ladder.
  4. Perform 5 lengths of the money bar ladder.

Tips 

The monkey bar exercise is an awesome bicep move. Progress through the ladder quickly, contracting your biceps with every rung change.

Creating a Bodyweight Bicep Exercise Plan

The biceps are the show muscles of the body. This article has shown that there’s more to building them than barbell and dumbbell curls.

I have provided you with a treasure trove of bicep blasting bodyweight exercises across every intensity level to work your guns at home.

Choose two or three of these bodyweight exercises and combine them into an 8 set bodyweight arm workout. Do this every 5 days and you’ll be rewarded with locked and loaded guns that are set to impress. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need heavy weights to build biceps?

No, you do not need heavy weights to build biceps. By varying your resistance level you will be able to work both the fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers that make up your biceps muscles. There are some awesome bodyweight exercises that will overload your biceps. 

Are pushups good for biceps?

No, regular push-ups are not an effective biceps exercise. They work the triceps on the back of the upper arm. According to the principle of reciprocal innervation, when you work a muscle group (triceps) its opposing muscle group (biceps) will be shut off. 

What are the 3 best bicep exercises?

The 3 best biceps exercises are the standing cable curl, the alternate standing dumbbell curl, and the close-grip chin-up (this is the best of the bodyweight exercise). 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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