If you’re anything like me and I’m happy to admit it, one of the main reasons I got into weight training was to get bigger arms and chest.
With the Ultimate Dumbbell Bicep Workout at home, you have 4 of the best exercises to help you pack mass and peak those biceps like never before…
I’ve written out detailed descriptions for you to follow and included some awesome how-to videos from Scott Herman to make sure you get the very best from the exercises and complete the movements successfully.
It’s funny to think the bicep is actually one of the smaller muscles of the body but yet we focus so much time and effort on it. The bicep is a high “vis” muscle, its understandably a muscle we want to show off, big guns make you look fit.
Wearing a vest or even a t-shirt your biceps are a focal point. They are a trophy to show all the hard work you’ve been putting in working out.
“Despite the biceps, relatively small size compared with the muscles of the thighs, back, and chest, our love affair with the biceps no doubt arises from our culture’s association of big biceps with strength and masculinity,” says Tudor Bompa of Serious Strength Training. It’s the muscle most weight trainers love to train and is certainly one of my favs.
What you will need
- A set of dumbbells
- Do I need gloves? (optional) only if you feel like you need them, gloves help you with grip and prevent calluses, but you may find as your strength develops so will your forearms, your grip will become stronger and the need for gloves will lessen.
- Music – You’re at home play your own music, and play it loud, I do!
- Weight bench or solid chair – For concentration Curl.
Can I do these exercises if I’m new to this?
Yeah absolutely, you are one of the main reasons for this website. If you have just bought your first set of dumbbells follow the instructions and watch carefully the videos below. Start with a low weight, high reps and always warm up first
Remember a minute to a minute and a half rest between sets and drink water after each set. Fill a bottle from the tap before you start.
Anatomy of The Bicep
We all want bigger guns, and while doing the right exercises helps achieve this, knowing how your bicep works can add some extra size and peak to your bicep.
When most of us talk about the bicep we talk of the two-headed muscle. You can see both the short-headed and longheaded brachii in the picture on the right.
There’s also a small muscle that lies just underneath the bicep the brachialis increasing its size can help increase the overall size of your arm.
And another important muscle in the forearm called brachioradialis is involved in elbow flexor movements.
“Knowing these additional muscles exist and accounting for them during your training will produce the greatest overall size and strength gains,” says Bill Geiger, M.A. of bodybuilding.com
Short head exercises – Preacher curls, spider curls with dumbbells
Long head – Hammer curl, Incline dumbbell curl
Brachialis – Hammer curl
Brachioradialis – Reverse grip curls
How Many Sets And Repetitions
Before we can start lifting any weights we need to talk about how many sets and repetitions you need to do. Predominantly we want to gain muscle size from this article. The number of sets and reps can vary if you are looking to tone or train for endurance.
To get bigger biceps we want to perform between 3 and 6 sets of 4 and 12 repetitions. Choose a weight that allows you to complete all reps but must challenge your bicep especially in the last set.
If you’re new take it easy with the amount of weight. After a 5 – 10 min dynamic warmup Try a few practice sets first. Use just the bars, try to get some form and get familiar with the exercises.
My Dumbbell Bicep Workout
Set 1 – Warmup just bars, for form – (20 reps)
Set 2 – 30%max weight – (12-15 reps)
Set 3 – 60 % – ( 8-12 reps)
Set 4 – 80% – ( 4 – 6 reps)
Repeat with all 4 exercises, 3 exercises (recommended) if you’re training another muscle in the same workout like the tricep.
note: Best not to train the same muscle groups more than twice a week, muscles develop most in rest periods 48 hours minimum.
We are ready to get started, ok so you’ve warmed up! Haven’t eaten for an hour or so and have a bottle of water with you, you should now be happy to start your first dumbbell exercise.
Alternating Bicep Curl
Used – Bicep brachii – Forearm flexors – Pronator teres – Wrist flexors
- Stand fully upright, knees slightly bent, and keep your feet shoulder width apart throughout the movement.
- Arms fully extended, and dumbbells hanging straight down at your knees.
- With an underhand grip, hold the dumbbells(palms forward)
- Flexing at the elbow, curling the left dumbbell up towards your shoulder.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position, and repeat the movement with the right arm.
- Continue alternating arms until you complete the desired number of repetitions.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Muscles used – Brachioradialis – Biceps (brachii) – Brachialis
- Stand up straight, feet in line with hips.
- Dumbbells should rest next to your thighs and your elbows should be straight, palms facing torso.
- Pull your shoulder blades down and back, and make sure your neck is aligned with your spine.
- Hold this position throughout the exercise.
- Just before you start, bend the elbows slightly to take the tension off of the bicep.
- Breathe out whilst slowly bending your elbow until the dumbbell touches your shoulder.
- Remember to keep wrists straight! either lift both dumbbells at the same time or alternate between arms, raising and lowering one dumbbell and then the other.
Muscles Used – Biceps brachii, Brachialis and the Brachioradialis
- Starting with an upright position, dumbbell in each hand held at arm’s length.
- Palms facing each other.
- Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Palms will be facing your body at the top of the curl.
- At the top of the movement, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing away from the body.
- Now slowly lower the dumbbells back to your sides.
Dumbbell Concentration Curl
Mucles Used – Biceps Brachii – Forearm Flexors – Brachialis
- Hold the dumbbell with your right hand, using an underhand grip (palms facing forward), and sit on your flat bench if you haven’t got a bench try and use a fairly hard seated flat chair.
- Legs are spread wide apart
- Lean forward at the waist and rest your right elbow on the inside of your right thigh with your arm at full extension.
- Rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh, slowly curl the dumbbell toward your shoulder
- When your bicep is fully contracted, slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
- Repeat for left hand.
Thanks to ScottfitnessHerman for the excellent video tutorials and Serious Strength Training