Heard of people flexing their muscles? Well, the bicep is one of them. You may want your biceps to be bigger, or you may want them slender and toned. You may choose to show them off or keep them covered under longer sleeves. But you can’t ignore them.
Ask any child to show his strength and he will strike a pose showing off his biceps. Biceps are a symbol of strength, irrespective of size. Hence, they tend to be noticed over any other muscle.
Shaping your arms with the help of gym equipment is the most preferred option. But what if you can’t make it to the gym regularly? Here are some bicep workout routines that can be done at home with little or no equipment. Yes, it is challenging, but not impossible. With the right exercise combinations and diet, it is possible to build those perfect biceps at home.
1. Static biceps contraction
Static contractions involve holding any weight in a fixed position, rather than lifting it up and down. In a gym, you would load up a barbell heavier than the weight you are used to lifting and try holding it. As an alternative, find a heavy object in your home. A table or a sofa would do. Place your palms facing upwards underneath it. You don’t have to lift it, just attempt to do so. You should feel the strain in your biceps. Hold each contraction for 10 seconds for 2 or 3 sets.
2. Towel pull ups
All you need is a towel and a sturdy bar or a branch of a tree that is high enough. Sling the towel over the bar. Hold the ends of the towel with each hand. Pull yourself up until your chin rises above the bar. Hang in the pulled up position for as long as possible. Then, pull yourself down, back to the original position slowly. Although this exercise concentrates on the muscles in the lower part of your hands, these small muscles support many activities that involve your biceps.
3. Half-moon rotations
This is one exercise where you don’t need any props. Stand up straight with your toes facing forward and your feet placed as wide as your shoulders. Lift your arms sideways so that they are in line with the shoulders and parallel to the ground. Keep your palms facing downwards. Rotate the arm until the palms are facing upward and then rotate them back for your palms to face downwards. Perform this exercise with a high number of repetitions for effective results.
4. Bicep curl
Bicep curl can be performed with or without weights. For an alternative at home, use some heavy objects according to your preference. For example, a bottle filled with a litre of water or a kg of rice in multiple quantities. Hold the object keeping your arms down on either side and then curl them up with your arms bending only up to the elbows. The elbows should be tight and should not move. Be conscious of your breathing, inhale when you lift and exhale when you return to original position.
5. Inverted rows
For this exercise, lie on the ground with something like a bar or a table above you. Ensure that it is strong and firm and can take your weight. Grab that object and pull yourself upwards. Try holding on to that position for at least 10 seconds and return to the original position. Do this at least three times.
6. Elevated pike push-ups
Push-ups are usually used as a chest exercise, but with a few tweaks here and there they can be used for arm building, too. Getting your feet off the ground will place all the strain on your shoulders and arms. For an elevated position, you can use a firm chair or a bench. Placing your feet on the bench, get into the push-up position. Slowly walk your hands backwards until your butt is sticking out in the air. Then, slowly walk your hands back to the original position. Lower your head until it is just above the ground and repeat the process all over again. Keep your stomach tight the whole time.
7. Self-resisted bicep curl
Stand against a wall with knees slightly bent and your abs tight. Place the non-dominant arm at your side with palm facing outward. Place your other arm over the wrist of the working arm. Fist your working arm and make a bicep curl. Once the fist goes all the way up to the shoulder, put some pressure on your wrist and push the working arm back to the original position. For better results, resist your working arm while going back to the original position. Finish the set and repeat with the other arm.
8. Suspension biceps curl
For this, it would be better if you have a workout cable or resistance band. You can buy one online and it doesn’t cost a lot. Hang the cable from a bar that is high above your head in such a way that the two handles are facing you. Ensure the handles are of equal length both sides. Face the bar and grasp the handles. Lean back with your abs tightened, straight body and arms extended in front of you. Make sure that your knees and elbows are not bent. Curl your body up to the handles and go back to the original position.
9. Cable bicep curl
A cable bicep curl is similar to a normal biceps curl you do with dumbbells. Place your feet at the centre of the cable and lift the handle to your sides with both your hands. Lift them up and lower them down continuously. Ensure that your elbows are firm at your sides and don’t move. Inhale while lifting up and exhale while pulling down.
10. Towel bicep curl
Place a towel horizontally in front of you. A cable can also be used for this. Place on foot in the middle of the towel. Make sure both your knees are slightly bent. Lift both the ends of the towel to either side of your body. Lift the towel with your hands while simultaneously resisting it with your legs. Keep your upper arms still and firm against your body so that the pulling power comes from the elbows.
11. Plank for biceps
The plank can be performed with many variations—side, front and reverse. Planks, in general, engage both upper and lower parts of your body. A plank exercise is one where you balance your body on the strength of your forearms. The front facing plank engages the biceps and the reverse plank engages your triceps. In the front facing plank, your elbows must be right below your shoulders with your body stretched out absolutely straight till your toes. This puts tension on your biceps, thereby strengthening them.
12. Concentration curl
The concentration curl is one of the most effective exercises for biceps. It is usually done with dumbbells but as an alternative, as mentioned before, water bottles, water cans or small buckets filled with water can be used. Sit down on a bench and place the heavy object in front of you. Use your right arm and grab the object with an underhand. Place the back of your arm against your inner right thigh. Now, hold your upper arm in stationary position and lift the object up until it is in level with your shoulders.
Biceps can be developed with a whole bunch of household chores too! Take two bottles filled with water, raise your arms sideways or forwards and rotate your wrist. They strengthen your arms. If there is a wet bed spread to be hung out for drying, you can volunteer and help your mum out. The twisting action you do for draining the water helps your biceps.
There are a few other things to remember during your biceps workout:
- Decrease the rest time between the sets so that your muscles don’t cool off. Hold your position for an extra few seconds before releasing them.
- Don’t do them every day. Your muscles literally tear inside when you stretch them. So give them rest. It is recommended that you work your biceps only two times a week.
- Don’t completely ignore your triceps. It is important to work both triceps and biceps together.
- Eat a lot of protein and a controlled amount of carbohydrates and fats.