Traditional biceps exercises involve curling movements using dumbbells, barbells or a cable machine, which aren't always an option when training at home. The main role of your biceps muscles is to flex your elbow, such as when you perform a biceps curl. Training your biceps with no equipment can be a challenge, but with the right exercise combination, you can build bigger and stronger biceps at home.
Static Biceps Contractions
Static contractions involve holding a weight in a fixed position, rather than trying to lift it up and down. You need to use a weight that's much higher than you'd use for a conventional exercise, notes trainer Pete Sisco. Usually this would involve loading a barbell with about double the weight you'd usually curl and trying as hard as you can to lift it using your biceps, but there is a no-equipment alternative. Find a heavy object around the house such as a dining table or couch and place your hands underneath it with your palms facing up. Then, attempt to perform a biceps curl. The object won't move, but you'll feel a strain in your biceps muscles. Sisco recommends holding each contraction for five to 10 seconds.
Pushups are a chest, shoulders and triceps move, but with some tweaking you can make them work your biceps. Your biceps work to stabilize your elbow joint during pushups and help to control the downward phase of each repetition. Rather than performing pushups normally, make the downward phase from the top position to the bottom much slower and really focus on squeezing your biceps hard. To make these harder, elevate your feet on a chair and try to count to 10 as you lower yourself.
Chin-ups and pull-ups are both highly effective bodyweight biceps moves. For chin-ups, hold a bar with a narrow grip and palms facing toward you, or reverse your grip and widen your hands for pull-ups. Chin-ups are a good no-equipment substitution for curls, notes strength coach Lee Boyce. Alternate between underhand chin-ups and overhand pull-ups each workout.
Considerations and Additions
Perform four to five sets of each exercise and combine your biceps workout with other exercises for your triceps, chest, shoulders and back. To make your sessions even more effective, consider purchasing some equipment to use at home. This could mean buying a set of dumbbells to perform curls, a set of resistance bands or a suspension trainer or gym rings to make your chin-ups and pull-ups tougher.