Given their position in front of the limb, it is no doubt that pump-up and toned biceps muscles are one of the most noticeable and striking features anyone can hone. Aren’t they just rock on sleeveless shirts or even on simple white t-shirts?
Aside from the fact that it works wonderfully and looks great in terms of overall general appearance, large upper arms or biceps also provide greater strength and arm function, allowing you to execute a wider range of tasks including heavy ones.
And to help you achieve those stunning biceps muscles, we have created a list of bicep exercises using one of the most versatile gym equipment out there – the dumbbells.
If done with the correct posture, enough rest in between, and adequate warm-up, you’ll surely be able to bulk up those biceps in no time. You can also see an improvement in your overall health when combined with a proper diet as well!
So keep reading as we give you some of the best biceps workout that will allow you to define your muscle mass, improve your strength as well as increase your aesthetic appeal.
Before we begin, it is best to understand first what makes up your bicep muscles to be able to train harder and gain muscles more efficiently.
From the Latin name biceps brachii meaning two-headed muscle of the arm, our biceps are divided into two major sections which are the short head and long head. Both of these large muscle groups come together in the middle of the arm which makes it the most prominent muscle of the upper arm.
The short head biceps brachii is located closest to the chest that runs alongside the long head, this attaches the shoulder blade and elbow while the long head biceps brachii sits on the outer side of the front of the arm.
These two-headed biceps brachii are then supported by deeper and lower brachialis muscles and brachioradialis that support flexion of the elbow joint.
The best dumbbell bicep workout allows you to work all areas of the biceps for fuller, thicker, and well-defined arms. One primary exercise that is going to be the key to bulking up your biceps are curls.
[You might also want to check out: Dumbbell Back Exercises]
Best Dumbbell Bicep Workouts and Exercises
1. Alternating Biceps Curl / Standing Dumbbell Curl
The alternating biceps curl is a classic weight training exercise that will help strengthen and keep your arms defined. This is a great workout routine that you can do anywhere.
A tip? Depending on your tolerable weight limit, it is best to choose a pair of dumbbells that you can lift multiple times while maintaining a good posture.
Aside from dumbbells, you can also use other variations such as with the use of kettlebells, resistance bands, or a barbell a.k.a the standing barbell curl.
How it’s Done
- Stand up with your feet apart. Hold one dumbbell in each hand while allowing your arms to relax down on each side of your body, palms facing forward.
- Raise one dumbbell by bending your elbow until it approaches your shoulder’s height, then gradually lower it back down. Afterward, start doing the same procedure to the other arm. Make sure to keep your elbow tucked in close near your ribs and shoulders relaxed.
- Do 8-10 curls while keeping your upper body in proper form
2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
The next bicep exercise that is considered a variation of the first one is the dumbbell hammer curl. Their minimal difference is that they work from a slightly different angle.
When performing hammer curl, avoid bending your back, avoid swinging your arms too much and make sure to keep knees slightly bent, both arms straight to the ground the whole time, avoid placing arms behind your torso too. This is to ensure that the lift is focused on squeezing your biceps and not the other parts, hence preventing the risk of injury.
How it’s Done
- In a standing position feet shoulder-width apart, hold one dumbbell on each hand along the sides of your body, palm facing inwards.
- Curl your elbow to raise both dumbbells close to your shoulder, once it’s there, take a short pause, squeeze, then slowly lower it down back to the starting position.
- Keep your arms and body straight all the way all the time. For beginners, you can perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps using a lightweight dumbbell.
3. Incline Dumbbell Curl
If you want a more challenging workout that requires more effort, incline dumbbell exercise is one thing you should definitely try.
First off, you need to set the bench to an incline position, lie on your back, allowing your arm to sit slightly behind your body. And since you are starting from where you have lesser power than usual, this means it will put more pressure and challenge on your long head biceps brachii, hence helping you add some bulge and allowing you to achieve that larger arms.
How it’s Done
- Lie on an incline bench that is between 50 and 60 degrees while holding dumbbells on each hand with palms facing each other.
- Lift both dumbbells by bending your elbow until it reaches as close to your shoulder. Make sure that your biceps are fully squeezed and contracted.
- Slowly lower it back down until you reach back to the starting position with completely straightened arms.
4. Zottman Curl
Zottman curl is considered to be one of the best arm workouts because it targets all major muscle groups that make up the biceps. It is done by rotating from an underhand grip to an overhand grip through the move.
How it’s Done
- In a standing position, hold one dumbbell on each hand along the sides of your body, palm facing forward.
- Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbow and curl the dumbbells close to your shoulder.
- Take a pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward again.
- In that position, gradually lower the weights down.
- Then rotate the dumbbells back to the beginning position and repeat.
5. Concentration Curl
Concentration curl is probably one of the most common biceps workouts you most often see in any gym. This workout allows you to focus on the peak and isolate the arms flexors to improve muscle mass. It also allows the muscles to contract to their maximum.
How it’s Done
- Sit on a bench while resting one arm that holds the dumbbell beside your thigh. Make sure to keep your torso upright and balanced. To do this, place your off-hand on your thigh.
- Ensure that you get a good bicep squeeze while curling the weight up.
- Pause at the top, then slowly lower it back to the starting position.
Wrapping it up
Now that you have an idea of some various biceps workouts to get your arms to pump up, why not go ahead and give it a try! You’ll definitely be confident to flex those quality arms in no time!
However, please note that it is still highly recommended to seek the help of professional trainers for proper guidance to minimize injuries and strain. Also, if you are experiencing any pain during the workout, best to stop immediately. Don’t lift weight beyond your maximum capacity as this might cause injury on your elbow, wrist, or shoulder. A gradual increase in weight is recommended.
If you like this article, make sure to check out our other articles at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.