This article will show you the best bodyweight bicep exercises so that you can strengthen and improve your arms anytime you like, with a minimum amount of equipment required.
What are the Biceps Muscles?
The biceps muscle (biceps brachii) is a two-headed muscle located in the upper arm. It is responsible for arm flexion and supination (rotation of the forearm so the palm faces upwards). The biceps muscle originates at the shoulder blade and inserts into the forearm.
It is a relatively small muscle that plays an important role in arm movement, such as lifting and pulling objects, and is often a focus of resistance training exercises for building upper arm strength and size.
The biceps muscle is commonly trained through exercises such as bicep curls, chin ups, and hammer curls.
In this article we focus primarily on bodyweight bicep exercises.
- What are the Biceps Muscles?
- What are the Functions of the Biceps Muscles?
- Best Bodyweight Biceps Exercises
- 1. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Supinated Chin Up
- 2. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Towel Chin Up
- 3. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Inverted Row with Supinated Grip
- 4. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – TRX Bicep Curl
- 5. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Chin Up on Gymnastics Rings
- What Reps and Sets Should You Use to Build Muscle?
- What are the Advantages of Bodyweight Exercises?
- Learn More
What are the Functions of the Biceps Muscles?
The biceps muscle, also known as the biceps brachii, is a two-headed muscle located in the upper arm. It has two main functions:
The biceps muscle is responsible for bending the arm at the elbow joint, bringing the hand closer to the shoulder. This is the primary function of the biceps muscle and is used in movements such as lifting and pulling objects.
The biceps muscle also helps to rotate the forearm so that the palm faces upwards. This is known as supination and is an important movement for activities such as turning doorknobs and holding objects.
In addition to these primary functions, the biceps muscle also plays a role in stabilizing the shoulder joint during certain movements.
Strong biceps can improve upper body strength, power, and overall arm function, making it a commonly targeted muscle in resistance training exercises.
Best Bodyweight Biceps Exercises
Add these into your training.
1. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Supinated Chin Up
The supinated chin up is a type of chin up exercise where the palms face towards the body, typically positioned at shoulder-width apart and under the chin, while pulling the body up towards the bar.
This grip targets the biceps and upper back muscles more than the traditional chin up where the palms face away from the body.
How Do Supinated Chin Ups Build Bigger Biceps?
Supinated chin ups build bigger biceps by targeting the biceps brachii muscle, which is one of the main muscles responsible for arm flexion.
The supinated grip places greater emphasis on the biceps as the palms face towards the body, which requires the biceps to work harder to lift the weight of the body.
Additionally, the chin up is a compound exercise that involves multiple joints and muscle groups, including the biceps, shoulders, and back, which leads to increased activation and stimulation of the biceps, resulting in larger and stronger biceps.
Regular performance of supinated chin ups, combined with proper nutrition and recovery, can help to build bigger biceps over time.
2. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Towel Chin Up
The towel chin up is a variation of the chin up exercise where a towel is used as a grip aid. To perform the exercise, a towel is placed over the pull-up bar and the hands grasp the ends of the towel, with palms facing each other.
The body is then lifted towards the bar, pulling the towel towards the chin, leading to increased activation of the biceps and upper back muscles. The towel chin up can provide a challenging grip and forearm workout, as well as increase overall strength and muscle activation compared to traditional chin ups.
3. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Inverted Row with Supinated Grip
The inverted row is a bodyweight exercise that targets the upper back, shoulders, and biceps.
The exercise is performed by lying face-up under a bar (such as a Smith machine bar) with the feet on the ground and hands gripping the bar, with palms facing upwards (towards the body).
The body is then lifted towards the bar by pulling the shoulders back and down, while keeping the body in a straight line.
The inverted row is a great exercise for improving posture, strengthening the upper back, and developing a stronger and more defined upper body. It can also be modified to increase or decrease difficulty, making it accessible for people at various fitness levels.
4. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – TRX Bicep Curl
The TRX bicep curl is a resistance training exercise that targets the biceps brachii muscle using a TRX suspension trainer.
To perform the exercise, the TRX straps are adjusted to hip height and the hands grip the handles with palms facing forward. The body is then lifted towards the TRX straps by bending the elbows, while keeping the body in a stable position.
The TRX bicep curl is a versatile exercise that can be performed with different variations to increase or decrease difficulty, making it suitable for individuals at different fitness levels.
The TRX suspension trainer provides instability, which requires the biceps and other supporting muscles to work harder to maintain proper form, leading to increased muscle activation and growth.
5. Bodyweight Bicep Exercises – Chin Up on Gymnastics Rings
The chin up on gymnastics rings is a bodyweight exercise that targets the upper back, shoulders, and biceps.
It is performed by hanging from gymnastics rings, with palms facing towards the body, and pulling the body up towards the rings, leading to chin height.
The instability of the gymnastics rings requires greater core and upper body stability, leading to increased activation of the muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and biceps.
The chin up on gymnastics rings is a challenging exercise that can help to build upper body strength, improve posture, and increase overall muscle activation compared to traditional chin ups performed on a stable bar. It can also be modified to increase or decrease difficulty, making it accessible for people at various fitness levels.
What Reps and Sets Should You Use to Build Muscle?
The number of reps and sets that are best for building muscle can vary depending on individual goals and fitness levels, but a general guideline is to perform 8-12 reps per set, with 3-5 sets per exercise. This rep range is often referred to as the “hypertrophy range” as it has been shown to be effective for promoting muscle growth. However, it is important to note that a variety of rep ranges can be effective for building muscle, and incorporating different ranges into your workout routine can provide a well-rounded training stimulus.
Additionally, it is important to use a weight that is heavy enough to challenge the muscles, but still allows you to maintain proper form throughout the entire set. As you get stronger, it is important to progressively increase the weight used in your exercises to continue to challenge your muscles and promote growth.
It’s also recommended to include variety in your workout routine, including both compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, and isolation exercises that target specific muscles. This can help to ensure that all muscle groups are being trained effectively and can help to prevent overuse injuries.
It’s always best to consult with a certified trainer or healthcare professional before starting a new workout program, to determine the best rep and set ranges for your individual needs and goals.
What are the Advantages of Bodyweight Exercises?
Bodyweight exercises are exercises that use the weight of the individual’s own body as resistance. They offer several advantages, including:
- Convenience: Bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere and at any time, without the need for equipment or a gym membership.
- Cost-effective: Bodyweight exercises do not require any equipment or gym membership, making them a cost-effective way to get in shape.
- Versatility: Bodyweight exercises can be modified to increase or decrease difficulty, making them suitable for individuals of various fitness levels.
- Improving functional strength: Bodyweight exercises often involve multiple muscle groups and functional movements, which can improve overall strength and stability.
- Improving balance and coordination: Bodyweight exercises often require stability and balance, which can help to improve these skills over time.
- Easy to incorporate into a routine: Bodyweight exercises can easily be added to a workout routine and can be performed for short periods of time, making them a convenient way to stay active.
- Low-impact: Bodyweight exercises are typically low-impact, making them a great option for individuals who are looking to reduce stress on joints and prevent injury.
Overall, bodyweight exercises are a versatile and effective way to improve strength, stability, and overall fitness, without the need for expensive equipment or a gym membership.