Are you looking for an effective biceps workout at home with dumbbells? If so, you’re in luck.
The truth is, effective bicep training is a bit more nuanced than “Grab a weight and curl it.”
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
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Biceps Workout at Home With Dumbbells: Everything You Need to Know
The great thing about your biceps is that they are the type of muscle group you can train just as effectively at home as you can in a gym full of equipment. We can pick from various dumbbell bicep exercises and train the muscle group in many ways.
And the best part is, you don’t need a full rack of dumbbells taking up space in your home. You’ll need two sets, which means four dumbbells in total – two lighter and two heavier sets.
Here are some recommendations for the dumbbells you need (and you really only need two sets), and it depends on your experience and strength:
Dumbbells Setup for a Home Workout
To achieve a very effective home dumbbell workout, you really only need two sets of dumbbells (4 dumbbells total):
- One light set of dumbbells for smaller muscles (biceps, triceps, shoulders)
- One heavy set of dumbbells for larger muscles (back, chest, legs)
That way, with only two sets of dumbbells, you don’t have a full room packed with a rack of 20 dumbbells (unless of course you want that). And more importantly, it’s not necessary to achieve a really great workout.
The dumbbells you purchase are based on your experience and fitness level, as well as your general strength. Here are some basic guidelines:
Light: 5 or 8# Dumbbells
Heavy: 15 or 20# Dumbbells
Light: 10 or 15# Dumbbells
Heavy: 20 or 25# Dumbbells
Light: 15 or 20# Dumbbells
Heavy: 30 or 40# Dumbbells
If you’re not sure about the weights, take a visit to your local Walmart, Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or similar store and test them out.
A good test to check your light and heavy dumbbell, is to do some dumbbell side raises to gauge your light dumbbell, and bicep curls to gauge your heavy dumbbells. You want to have mild resistance for each one, but not overloaded.
This is a good start, and you can adjust as you go along.
And for the very best dumbbells on the market that do an amazing job of protecting your floors, we highly suggest Rogue Fitness dumbbells. They are simply the best quality on the market. They are every bit as functional and effective as iron, and the rubber material offers 100 times the protection!
With your bicep workout, you don’t need to do much more than two to three sets per exercise, especially if you lead a normal, working life and just want to get fit and lean.
Before we move on, it’s recommended to invest in a workout mat for placing your dumbbells between sets. That keeps things organized and protects your floor from the dumbbells.
And be very careful when moving dumbbells around. A dropped dumbbell can be dangerous, and also very damaging to your home!
Bicep Workout Routine
Here is a simple, and very effective, bicep workout routine that you can do at home. For each exercise, try to start with the heavy dumbbell, and as your muscles fatigue, drop down to the lighter dumbbell.
- 2-3 sets per exercise
- 6-12 reps per set
- Rest 30 seconds between sets
- Rest 1-2 minutes between exercises
- Perform the workout one to two times per week – that is all you need for a great weekly bicep workout.
NOTE 1: You do NOT need to do all of these exercises below in one workout. Pick two or three each bicep day, and that will be a really solid workout!
NOTE 2: The images below the workout routine show both standing and seated options, and they’ll work the biceps slightly differently. So you can vary the exercises on different days.
|Alternating Dumbbells Curls||3||6-12|
|Dumbbell Hammer Curls||3||6-12|
|Seated Concentration Curls||3||6-12|
|Incline Dumbbell Curls||2||6-12|
|Reverse Dumbbell Curls||2||6-12|
|Standing Cross Curls||2||6-12|
|Two-Arm Dumbbell Rows||2||6-12|
Alternating Dumbbell Curls (Standing position)
Alternating dumbbell curls will be your foundation bicep exercise for a bicep workout at home. The curl requires a rotation of your forearm as you perform the curl, and is a top bicep exercise to build your biceps.
Standing dumbbell curls can be done in unison, or alternating one arm at a time.
- Start in the standing position, with your arms holding each dumbbell extended to your sides and your palms facing each other.
- With one arm a time, curl your arm up and rotate your forearm so that your palm faces your chest in the up position.
- Return your arm to the down position, rotating your forearm in the opposite direction so that it returns to the start position with your palm facing your body in the down position.
- Then perform the same motion with your other arm.
- As you perform each curl, tighten your bicep and focus on feeling the burn in your bicep.
Seated Dumbbell Curls
Seated dumbbell curls can be done in unison, or alternating one arm at a time as shown in the exercise above (in the standing position).
You can also create variations to this movement by keeping your palms facing forward throughout the motion (shown in the image above), or by rotating your forearms as you perform the curl up motion.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
These will like be a second foundation exercise with biceps workout at home with dumbbells. These are very similar to classic dumbbell curls (with forearm rotation), except that with hammer curls you keep your palms facing each other throughout the exercise.
- Dumbbell hammer curls can be done in unison, or alternating one arm at a time. With hammer curls, there is no forearm rotation, so you might opt to perform both arms curling at the same time (in unison).
- Start in the standing position, with your arms extended to your sides and your palms facing each other.
- Curl both arms up together in unison, with your palms facing each other throughout the motion.
- Return your arms to the down position in unison.
- As you perform each curl, tighten and focus on working your bicep.
Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Similar to standing dumbbell hammer curls, except performed from a seated position.
Seated Concentration Curls
Seated concentration curls are a variation of standing concentration curls, and are great for really isolating and working the bicep.
- From a seated position on a bench or chair, brace your elbow on your inner thigh, holding the dumbbell in the down position.
- Curl the dumbbell to the up position, maintaining the position of your elbow on your inner thigh in a solid and stationary position.
- Return the dumbbell to the down position.
- Perform the motion in a slow and controlled manner, and really focus on your bicep and feel the burn as you perform the curl.
Standing Concentration Curls
Standing concentration curls work your biceps from a different angle, and really isolate the biceps with the motion, as well as your focus.
Make sure to maintain a solid bend at the waist keeping your back straight and solid.
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls
Another great dumbbell curl, but you likely don’t have an adjustable bench at home unless you have a garage gym. If not, that’s OK! You can make do with most chairs or other related sitting positions. It might not be ideal, but you can still get a great workout.
Dumbbell Cross Curls
Dumbbell cross curls work your biceps at a different angle and are good for variation.
Reverse Dumbbell Curls
Reverse dumbbell curls are a great variation to classic dumbbell curls. They also work the tops of the forearm.
- Start in the standing position, with your arms holding each dumbbell extended to your front and your palms facing back (the backs of your hands face forward).
- With both arms in unison, curl your arms up so that the backs of your hands face you in the up position (and your palms will face forward).
- Return your arms to the down position which is also the start position.
- As you perform each curl, tighten your bicep and focus on feeling the burn in your bicep and the tops of your forearms.
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Dumbbell rows are also a great home bicep workout. The bicep is a secondary muscle worked in this exercise (back and lats are primary), but will still provide a great workout and important variation in your bicep workout.
Two-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Bent over two-arm dumbbell rows use the same motion, except lifting both dumbbells together. The key is to keep your back strong and straight.
How to Make Your Biceps Workouts Even More Effective (And Safer)
While bicep training might seem like, “Just grab a weight and curl it – don’t overthink” – there is more to it. Specifically, working your biceps from different angles and positions is vital for engaging the muscle as best as possible, challenging yourself, and triggering superior growth and hardness. (1)
For example, standing curls and dumbbell rows are two movements that train your biceps. But both train the muscle in their unique ways, offering their specific benefits for us. So for an effective biceps workout at home with dumbbells make sure to include these variations.
And make sure to use Rogue Fitness dumbbells, as their quality is creme de la creme! The rubber dumbbell material is a must to protect your home and floors.
Proper Warm-up for Home Bicep Workouts
Besides exercise selection, warming up with light cardio is essential. This will get your blood flowing and warm up your muscles. Training cold muscles is counterproductive because they are more prone to injuries and less able to produce force. And after your bicep workout do some bicep stretches if you so choose, but they’re not necessary for a great workout.
Safety is also essential to consider. Specifically, avoid dropping the dumbbells to the floor. That might seem like something cool, but you only increase the risk of dropping the weights on your feet or damaging the floor. Handle dumbbells with respect and caution. (2)
On the note of safety, it’s also important to lift weights you can control. Avoid swinging back and forth and using momentum to lift the weight. This only serves to take the tension away from the bicep and increase the risk of an injury.
Dumbbell Storage at Home
And finally, a few words on storage. Having two sets of dumbbells is excellent because you can easily store them in your closet or garage.
But make sure they are in a place where you can lift them by using your legs and not your back. If you are reaching at difficult angles, you can easily pull a muscle.
For example, having them on a stool or something can be ideal. You don’t want them to be in a corner where you have to get into an awkward position to lift because that can easily lead to a pulled muscle.
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- Men’s Health. (2018). 10 quick steps to build BIGGER BICEPS. Men’s Health. https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a755394/10-quick-steps-how-to-get-big-biceps-fast/.
- Coelho, S. (2020). How to use dumbbells and free weights safely during home workouts. Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-fitness-use-weights-safely-20200620-fi6bn244cvhfng57aajc4xmpde-story.html.