The Best Bodyweight Biceps Exercises With and Without Equipment
Building strong biceps is possible without the use of weights. Bodyweight biceps exercises can build strength with or without the luxury of a pull-up bar.
Among the most familiar sights in the gym is the young man who spends hours in front of the mirrors, pounding out set after set of bicep curls. He is at the gym day after day, week after week, doing endless sets of bicep curls, but his arms never get more prominent, he never gets more robust, and he ends up using the same weight for eternity. If only he knew about the benefits of bodyweight exercise and knew that he could reap those benefits while focusing on his biceps. Best of all, he could have spared himself the embarrassment of perpetual stagnation at the gym.
Bodyweight Biceps Exercises
A few bodyweight exercises are incredibly practical at building strength in the biceps:
- Chin-ups – The basic chin-up is one of the best bodyweight biceps exercises available. The movement centers around elbow flexion while simultaneously emphasizing shoulder and abdominal stability. The chin-up can train strength endurance with prolonged sets or can train maximal strength with its many variations. One-armed chin-ups effectively double the resistance and are devastatingly tricky for the core to stabilize. The advanced gymnastics lever pull emphasizes the biceps during the power and requires incredible strength through the entire body. The only downside of the chin-up and its variations is that they need a chin-up bar, an accessory that may not always be available.
- Half Curls – The half curl, in contrast to the chin-up, requires no equipment and can build surprising strength and size in the biceps. Begin the movement by lying on one side with hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place the hand of the grounded shoulder under the same leg, gripping the thigh just above the knee. The elbow should point toward the ground. Contract the biceps to raise the torso against the resistance of the legs. Increase the resistance by decreasing the use of the oblique abdominal muscles.
- Curl Grip Pushups – While the pushup is not the first exercise that comes up in conversations about building biceps, one particular variation can train these show muscles quite well. The curl grip pushup starts with arms at twice shoulder width. Position the hands so that fingers point out to the sides. Expect the descent and rise to feel different from those of a typical pushup.
In addition to building biceps strength, these bodyweight exercises build core strength, increase mobility, and promote a healthy body composition. Bodyweight workouts emphasize compound movements, which make strength around the primary muscles. It allows for rapid progression in building functional strength. By nature, bodyweight exercises also promote mobility, as they require the body to move through automatic movement patterns. They also promote healthy body weight, as they can only be performed to their full effectiveness at useful body compositions.