Best Biceps Exercise Without Dumbbells: Guide to Building Bigger Biceps

When it comes to building impressive biceps, many people immediately think of curling dumbbells or hitting the cable machine. However, what if you don’t have access to weights or a gym? Don’t worry; you can still achieve massive bicep growth with body-weight exercises and a few household items. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best biceps exercises without dumbbells, tips for maximizing your gains, and address frequently asked questions.

Why Biceps Training is Important:

Biceps Training
Biceps Training

The biceps, or biceps brachii, are one of the most visible and aesthetically pleasing muscle groups in the upper body. Well-developed biceps not only enhance your overall physique but also contribute to improved functional strength for activities like pulling, lifting, and carrying. Moreover, training your biceps can improve your grip strength, which is essential for various sports and daily tasks.

The Best Biceps Exercises Without Dumbbells:

The Best Biceps Exercises Without Dumbbells
Biceps Exercises Without Dumbbells

1. Chin-ups and Pull-ups:

Chin ups and Pull ups
Chin-ups and Pull-ups

Chin-ups and pull-ups are among the most effective exercises for building biceps without weights. These compound exercises engage not only your biceps but also your back muscles, making them incredibly efficient for overall upper body development.

Chin-ups involve grabbing a bar with an underhand grip (palms facing you), while pull-ups require an overhand grip (palms facing away). Both variations challenge your biceps in slightly different ways, so it’s beneficial to include both in your routine.

2. Inverted Rows:

inverted rows
inverted rows exercise

Inverted rows are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that targets your biceps, back, and core muscles simultaneously. You can perform this exercise using a sturdy table, a low bar, or even a pair of chairs.

Start by lying on the floor with your feet extended and your body in a straight line. Grab the surface (table, bar, or chairs) with an overhand grip, and pull your body up until your chest nearly touches the surface. Slowly lower yourself back down, and repeat.

3. Towel Biceps Curls:

Towel Biceps Curls
Towel Biceps Curls

If you have a sturdy towel or a resistance band, you can perform biceps curls without any equipment. Grab one end of the towel or band with each hand, and stand on the middle portion with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Keeping your elbows tucked in and your core engaged, curl your hands towards your shoulders by bending at the elbows. Slowly lower back down, and repeat for the desired number of reps.

4. Plank Biceps Curls:

Plank Biceps Curls
Plank Biceps Curls

This exercise combines the benefits of a plank and biceps curls, targeting your core and biceps simultaneously. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line.

Shift your weight onto one arm, and curl the opposite hand towards your shoulder by bending at the elbow. Slowly lower back down and repeat on the same side for the desired number of reps before switching arms.

5. Isometric Biceps Curls:

Isometric Biceps
Isometric Biceps

Isometric exercises involve holding a position without any visible movement, which can be incredibly effective for building strength and muscle endurance. For isometric biceps curls, grab a sturdy object like a doorframe or a piece of furniture with an underhand grip.

Pull against the object as if performing a biceps curl, but without actually moving. Hold the contracted position for 10-15 seconds, rest briefly, and repeat for the desired number of sets.

Tips for Maximizing Biceps Growth:

  1. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the difficulty of your exercises by adding more reps, sets, or increasing the time under tension. This progressive overload is crucial for continued muscle growth.
  2. Proper Form: Maintain proper form throughout each exercise to ensure you’re targeting the biceps effectively and minimizing the risk of injury.
  3. Variety: Incorporate different exercises and grip variations to challenge your biceps from multiple angles and prevent plateaus.
  4. Rest and Recovery: Allow your muscles adequate rest and recovery time between intense biceps workouts. Aim for at least 48 hours of rest before training the same muscle group again.
  5. Nutrition: Support your biceps training with a balanced diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to fuel muscle growth and recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can you really build big biceps without weights?

Absolutely! While weights can be helpful, it’s entirely possible to develop impressive biceps using body-weight exercises and resistance bands/towels. The key is to challenge your muscles with progressive overload and proper form.

How often should I train my biceps?

Most experts recommend training each muscle group 2-3 times per week, allowing at least one day of rest between sessions. For biceps, you can incorporate dedicated biceps exercises or compound movements that engage the biceps (like chin-ups) into your full-body or upper-body workouts.

Should I do biceps exercises before or after other exercises?

It’s generally recommended to train larger muscle groups (like back and chest) before smaller muscles like the biceps. However, if your primary focus is on biceps development, you can prioritize biceps exercises at the beginning of your workout.

How many sets and reps should I do for biceps?

The ideal set and rep ranges can vary based on your goals and experience level. For hypertrophy (muscle growth), aim for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps. For strength and endurance, try 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps or higher rep ranges (12-20 reps).

Can I train biceps every day?

While it’s possible to train biceps more frequently (e.g., daily), it’s generally not recommended, as it can lead to overtraining and impede muscle recovery. Allow at least 48 hours of rest between intense biceps workouts for optimal results.


Building impressive biceps without dumbbells is entirely achievable with the right exercises, proper form, and a consistent approach. By incorporating exercises like chin-ups, inverted rows, towel curls, plank curls, and isometric holds, you can challenge your biceps and stimulate muscle growth effectively. Remember to prioritize progressive overload, variety, proper nutrition, and adequate rest and recovery for optimal results. With dedication and patience, you can develop enviable biceps without relying on traditional weight training equipment.

Leave a Comment