Going to the gym during the pandemic can be difficult. But if you want bigger biceps at home, there are many great plans for you to follow.
Bicep workouts you can do at home without weights are the new norm when it comes to training.
You don’t have to spend money on expensive dumbbells just to get a good workout.
Some people might not even have the storage space needed for all of these weights so being creative is crucial.
This article explains how you can tweak certain classic bodyweight exercises and what else you need to do to grow your biceps.
- 1 What are biceps and what is their role?
- 2 How the biceps work together with the triceps
- 3 What are the benefits of strong biceps?
- 4 Free biceps workouts with no weights
- 5 Resistance bands training
- 6 The best time to train biceps
- 7 Do I need to warm up before a biceps workout?
- 8 Are there any stretches for biceps?
- 9 Food and supplements to grow biceps
- 10 How to relieve biceps muscle soreness
- 11 Is bodyweight biceps training better than weighted biceps training?
- 12 How long does it take to build biceps?
- 13 Bigger biceps are achieved with training, food, and rest
- 14 FAQ
What are biceps and what is their role?
Let’s start your bicep workout plan at the basics. The bicep muscles are formed with a long head and with a short head.
These muscles are located in the upper front part of the arms. These 2 muscles that form the biceps are connected to bones by tendons.
The role of the biceps is to assist the arms with pulling movements.
How the biceps work together with the triceps
If the biceps are responsible for pulling movements, the triceps are responsible for pushing movements or with elbow extension.
Comprised of the medial, lateral, and long head, the triceps are one of the leading muscle groups for all types of hand movements from carrying weights to writing.
What are the benefits of strong biceps?
All muscles of the body perform at full capacity when strong. But strong biceps have a distinct role in almost any physical interaction of the hands.
Biceps supinate the forearm
You would not think a simple gesture such as turning your palms upwards involve the biceps. But this movement involves both heads of the biceps.
The stronger your muscles are, the more control and the more force you can exercise in this and other functions.
Biceps also pull or supinate the forearm. Whenever you lift anything, you pull or you activate the biceps for the movement.
Biceps are secondary group muscles activated when you bring your arms forwards or to the sides.
While only partially active in these movements, strong biceps can help you gain strength in such simple movements.
Free biceps workouts with no weights
When you want to train your biceps with no weights, it’s easy to think you are tied for options.
But there are tons of exercises you can perform to target your biceps without weights or equipment.
To build large biceps, you will need to use dumbbells and similar weights.
But if you want your biceps to simply look better, even bodyweight exercises that use gravity or your body’s weight as resistance are up for the task.
Here are our recommendations.
Did you know you can do push-ups for bigger biceps? One of the oldest exercises can be tweaked so that you target your upper arms for the best strength gains.
The key is to turn your palms so that your fingers point towards your knees. This is where every time you get to do a push-up you send most of the stress of the movement on the biceps.
As with the traditional push-up, the position of the palms is going to influence just how much you feel your biceps working. The closer your hands are to your waist, the more your biceps are involved in this movement.
This pull-up variation for biceps can also be performed on certain objects such as chairs. It would add an extra level of effort.
But you can also increase the amount of power needed to lift yourself by moving your body or your center of gravity a bit forward. The versatility of this exercise recommends it for all types of fitness goals.
This exercise involves multiple muscles but since you have to pull your weight, it also places a lot of focus on the biceps that work hard at all stages of the movement.
Ideally, you have a pull-up bar in your house or in your backyard to perform this exercise. If you want maximum biceps activation, you can simply grip the bar with the palms facing towards you.
This is where you get all of the benefits of biceps activations visible from the first pull-up as you will feel these muscles working.
If you don’t have sufficient strength to perform a single pull-up, you can use elastic bands as an aiding progression tool.
You can use a long band anchored on the pull-up bar that you step in with one leg which helps you perform the move easier.
Ideally, you would use the Rogue Fitness Pull Up Bar for this exercise. This heavy-duty bar is proven in gyms and it can be a great addition for weightless training at home.
In the absence of a pull-up bar, you can get creative and invent one at home.
You can use a strong pipe and 2 chairs or 2 supportive armchairs to create a basic pull-up station. The idea of the bar and the chairs is for them to hold your body weight while you perform a rowing movement.
Most of these inverted rows are going to be performed from a position where your body is nearly parallel to the ground.
This is why you will be able to control much of the efforts and sets to failure simply by lying down on the floor when you get too tired.
The inverted row is a movement that can be performed with the palms facing away or facing towards you. This rowing movement is going to target your backs’ muscles but it also targets the biceps.
The inverted row can be seen as one of the progression-based exercises as well. The position of your feet which is the only contact point with the ground implies different levels of resistance.
The closer your feet are to the bar, the easier the row is as your body is more upright. The further your feet are from the bar, the more difficult it is for you to perform the inverted row as all of your body’s weight now lies on your biceps.
Towel inverted row
A similar exercise can be performed in the same position as the inverted row but using a towel.
Instead of relying on a wide grip for the inverted row, you add a towel over the bar and you grab each end of the towel with one hand, keeping both of your hands close above your chest.
Then, you start to lift your body to perform a towel inverted row.
This exercise is going to be an excellent solution to build the large head of your biceps.
Since the angle of the movement changes, it also allows you to challenge your biceps from a different angle. It’s crucial to get this exercise correctly as much as possible and not rush through the movements.
A short thick towel is best as it has the top chances of holding your body weight. You can use any strong pipe on 2 chairs as an anchoring bar for this exercise.
Inspired by the military, commando training involves maximum strength gains as well as good athletic abilities.
These are also the characteristics of commando chin-ups. These types of chin-ups are among the best when it comes to short-range biceps movements.
You can start doing chin-ups with commando inspiration if you have a pull-up bar such as the Rogue Fitness Pull Up Bar.
To perform this exercise, you need to sit perpendicularly under the pull-up bar with one hand in front of the other gripping the bar.
You will then easily transition towards a pull-up where your head goes up next to the bar alternatively.
This style of chin-up is going to be one of the best alternatives to those who can’t do reverse hand pull-ups.
Reverse exercise can put too much pressure on the wrists for some people and simply finding a chin-up variation to a classic pull-up is the best alternative.
If you don’t have any fitness equipment at home or while traveling, there are more exercises you need to be familiarized with.
The next fantastic exercise you can perform simply standing up and crossing over one leg to the side of the arm you want to work on.
You grab the ankle from a leaning position and you perform a curl using your leg as resistance.
Progression is easy in this exercise as you simply add tension by stiffening up your leg more.
Sidelying biceps curls
A similar method of exercising your biceps can be considered with the side-lying biceps curls.
These old-school forgotten exercises are an excellent source of motivation as well as bring new movements to your weights-free routine.
Lying on the right side, you grab your right thigh when the right knee is bent. You then try to lift your torso only relying on the biceps while the right hand is anchored on the elbow to the ground. You then repeat the movement lying on the left side with the left arm.
The following video explains how to perform this exercise correctly.
Resistance bands training
Resistance bands offer excellent bodyweight training options.
It’s estimated that you can do more than a few hundred exercises just using a suspension system such as TRX.
But which of these exercises specifically targets the biceps?
Here are a few of the most popular TRX resistance bands biceps exercises.
2-hand TRX curls
The classic curl from a standing position is an excellent start if you have TRX bands or the MoonRun Trainer at home.
With your body slightly under the bands, you get your elbows up and perform controlled curls as many times as you can.
This exercise can increase in difficulty the further your feet are from the bands. The more parallel to the ground you are, the more difficult the exercise becomes. You indeed have the best control over how much your biceps work with this exercise.
If you don’t like TRX resistance bands, you can try the innovative Gorilla Bow. This training system is an excellent choice for 2-hand bicep curls without weights.
Using different resistance bands offers a different stimulation to your muscles.
1-hand TRX curls
A similar approach to biceps curls with TRX or other similar resistance bands can be achieved with one-hand only.
You have to sit sideways as opposed to the 2-hands TRX curls where you sit facing the bands.
Using one hand only, you allow your body to get lower towards the ground while holding both bands and you then do the curl for a full movement.
You can also train one hand at a time using the BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0. This fun training system also uses resistance bands to build biceps instead of dumbbells.
The following video explains how to do biceps curls with a single hand.
Biceps crossovers represent one of the simplest exercises you can perform when it comes to the large biceps head with TRX resistance bands.
You need to cross your hands during the curl as you would be hugging yourself.
This nearly upright exercise mostly involves the biceps but it will also activate forearms to support the pull or the curl movement.
The best time to train biceps
Biceps are rarely trained every day. Most people recommend training biceps up to 3 times per week.
This is rarely a matter of 3 consecutive days but rather an approach that allows at least 1 recovery day in-between training sessions.
Here’s a simple biceps training plan you can follow.
|Monday||3 bodyweight exercises|
But not all people have time for 3 training sessions per week. In this case, you should incorporate biceps training exercise with other bodyweight exercises.
Most professionals recommend complex exercises in the case of busy users. 2 demanding exercises are sufficient in this case.
- 4 sets x 12 reps push-ups
- 4 sets x 12 reps biceps pull-ups
Do I need to warm up before a biceps workout?
You should always look for ways to warm up your biceps and most other muscles before a workout.
This can look very different depending on your personal preferences.
Some prefer to perform easy versions of the exercises of the day’s specific workout. But you can learn how to stretch your muscles both before and after your workout to avoid possible accidents and to relieve some of the stress on the muscles.
Are there any stretches for biceps?
If you want to learn how to stretch your biceps for your warm-up routine, there’s one drill you need to master.
You need to pronate your biceps (inverse supination movement) where you bring the biceps inwards towards the chest while squeezing the triceps.
This exercise is best performed while holding to an object such as a chair’s backrest.
You lean forwards while holding the top of the backrest feeling your biceps stretching and pronating or rotating it inwards.
You then contract your triceps and hold the contraction for a few seconds. You can repeat this warm-up technique a few times before jumping into the actual workout.
Food and supplements to grow biceps
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles. They are an integral part of a healthy diet as well.
- You need to ensure the meals you consume are high in protein when you try to build any muscles.
- Some of the best protein sources include beef and eggs.
- Chicken can be a cheap source of protein as well.
- Consider milk as a pure source of protein at a low price which is also high in Calcium, essential for tendons’ health.
- Oatmeal, vegetables, and fish are also high in beneficial nutrients for muscle growth. The Omega fatty acids in fish and fish oil are highly beneficial for the health of your joints.
While you can’t target nutrient absorption for one muscle group only, you will see benefits when eating healthy foods and looking to gain muscle even when using no weights.
If you’re not getting sufficient protein and other nutrients from your diet, you can also consider supplements.
Most protein supplements are made from real whey which means it digests quickly and you can serve it right after your training session.
How to relieve biceps muscle soreness
Muscle soreness is highly likely with intense bodyweight exercise not just with weightlifting exercises. You can do this by stretching or by massaging.
- When you have sore biceps, you can massage them with one hand for up to 5 minutes on the entire length of the biceps for faster recovery
- Using the fingers on the opposing hand, you start to massage the biceps from top to bottom while your hand is resting on a soft surface such as a pillow
- You can also massage each biceps head individually, especially insisting on the tight areas or the areas of the biceps that feel sore
- Alternatively, you can use the Hyperice Hypervolt for a deeper tissue massage, especially if you train biceps multiple times per week.
A Hypervolt massage gun has multiple heads you can adjust to your massage depending on what feels more comfortable for you.
With deep tissue massage, the Hypervolt is one of the top tools you can use to massage yourself. And you might consider it for other parts of your body as well.
Make sure you watch the following video to understand the correct biceps massaging technique if you want to relieve muscle soreness faster.
Is bodyweight biceps training better than weighted biceps training?
Bodyweight exercises can be better than their weighted alternative prices. You don’t need to spend on expensive fitness gear just to see these muscle benefits.
But they are also better in terms of freedom location. All of the exercises described above can be beneficial when it comes to training at home or even when away from home.
However, the amount of muscle you can gain is somewhat limited by the lower resistance. This is why you might not get bodybuilder-like biceps simply abiding by a bodyweight training routine.
How long does it take to build biceps?
Building muscle is a slow process. Given you put these exercise and nutrition tips into practice, it can take a minimum of 3 months to start seeing muscle growth in this area of your arms.
If you fail to see biceps growth, you need to switch up your training route and how you perform these exercises to stimulate the muscle differently.
For example, you can perform a chin-up and only go half the way down during a repetition to maintain full muscle contraction during your training set.
Bigger biceps are achieved with training, food, and rest
You can train biceps intensely to see them grow. You don’t necessarily need weights for this purpose.
But at the same time, you also get the opportunity to use fain training systems such as the Human Trainer with its resistance bands to stimulate your biceps from different angles.
You need to set up a basic training route with at least 2 training sessions for your biceps per week.
Once you start training, you also need to take your nutrition seriously. Ensuring you consume sufficient protein, fibers, and vegetables is as important as maintaining good hydration.
If you suffer from sore muscles, you can simply try massaging techniques as those described above.
You will also need to get at least 8 hours of sleep (if not more) to build muscle. Many people don’t know the muscles and cells in general regenerate while sleeping.
Does push-up help the biceps?
As seen above, push-ups can help biceps, but not in their traditional form. You need to perform push-ups with the palms pointed towards your knees instead of them pointing outwards.
Why aren’t my biceps growing?
Your biceps aren’t growing because they don’t get stimulated with exercise enough.
They might also see growth stagnation periods or even regression when you aren’t eating enough of the right foods. This is why you need to eat more healthy food to see your muscles grow.
Do biceps grow fast?
Some believe you can gain an inch in biceps size every 2 weeks. But this highly depends on your genetics as well.
You will see progress in about 3 months according to science. Even with the slow progress, it should not take more than 6 months to see bigger biceps.
Why do curls make your biceps bigger?
Curls are effective because they are isolation exercises. Unlike pull-ups or other compound exercises, biceps curls isolate the muscles properly.
You can control the angle and the resistance of this exercise making it one of the most effective for biceps growth.
What is a good size for biceps?
Up to the age of 29, a biceps size of 13.3 inches is normal. Up to the age of 39, a biceps size of 13.9 is normal. After the age of 50, a biceps size of 13.5 inches is normal.