Cardio • 10.05.2017 • Herwig Natmessnig

No Weights: 7 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Your Biceps

Having muscular arms is a sign of strength and fitness. Sporting a pair of guns is one of the easiest ways to make a big impression – especially among men. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that one of the most popular gym exercises is the biceps curl. Practically everyone who holds a dumbbell in their hand for the first time instinctively does a curl. But if you are looking for the most effective way to train your biceps, your workout needs to include more than just dumbbells and barbells. These are the best bodyweight exercises for your biceps:

1. Chin-ups

Starting position:
Grab the chin-up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Let yourself hang with your arms nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shoulders.

Athletic man doing Chin-ups.

How to perform the exercise:
Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar (end position). Then lower yourself back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Athletic man doing Chin-ups.

2. Isometric chin-ups

Starting position:
Grab the chin-up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. If you are unable to do a chin up, you can still do this exercise by using a chair or step to jump. Alternatively, and more challenging, you can bend your arms until they are at a 90-degree angle.

Athletic woman doing isometric Chin-ups.

How to perform the exercise:
Hold this position for as long as you can.

3. Negative/eccentric chin-ups

Starting position:
Grab the chin-up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.

How to perform the exercise:
Lower yourself down into a hanging position in a slow and controlled manner. Your arms should not be completely straight in the end position. Make sure to maintain tension in your arms and shoulders in the end position.

Note: If you cannot do a chin up, you can always do the negatives. Feel free to use a chair or step to jump up. Then, perform the exercise.

4. Commando chin-ups

Starting position:
Place your hands close together on the chin-up bar. Your thumbs should be facing you and your arms should be nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shoulders.

Athletic man doing Commando Chin-ups.

How to perform the exercise:
Pull yourself up with your head to the left of the bar. Try to touch the bar with your right shoulder. Then lower yourself back down to the starting position in a controlled manner. Then, pull yourself up with your head to the right of the bar. Try to touch the bar with your left shoulder.

Athletic man doing Chin-ups.

5. Head bangers (advanced exercise)

Starting position:
Grab the chin-up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Let yourself hang with your arms nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shoulders.

Athletic man doing Headbangers.

How to perform the exercise:
Pull yourself up until your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. While holding this position, push and pull your body back and forth in an explosive manner, as if you were trying to hit the bar with your forehead.

Athletic man doing Headbangers.

Would you like to do your biceps workout at home, but don’t have any dumbbells or a chin-up bar? No sweat, all you need is a towel and a door frame.

6. Towel biceps curls

Starting position:
Stand with your back to the wall. Make sure to keep your back straight and your abs tight. Your entire spine should be touching the wall. Grab both ends of the towel with your thumbs facing toward you. Put one foot in the sling. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and back.

Athletic woman doing Towel biceps curls.

How to perform the exercise:
Bend your arms and pull your hands up against the resistance of your leg. Keep your upper arms stationary and close to your body. Release the hold and return to the starting position. This exercise can also be done isometrically: Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and hold this position against the resistance of your leg.

Athletic woman doing Towel biceps curls.

7. Doorway curls

Starting position:
Stand opposite the door frame with your legs shoulder width apart. The wider your stance, the more difficult the exercise will be. Grab the door frame with both hands at chest height. Your thumbs should be facing you and your arms should be nearly straight. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and back.

Athletic woman doing Doorway curls.

How to perform the exercise:
Pull yourself forward until your chest nearly touches the door frame. Lower yourself back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Athletic woman doing Doorway curls.

Training tip: Choose three of the exercises and do 8-12 repetitions. Do three sets of each exercise with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets. During isometric exercises, try to hold the position as long as possible. Repeat this three times with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets.

Did you find the perfect biceps exercise for you? For stronger arms and upper body, download the Runtastic Pull-Ups app today.

Runtastic App icon - Pull-upsApple Store

App icon - Pull-upsGoogle Play

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Herwig Natmessnig

As a former professional athlete (white-water slalom), Herwig lives and breathes health and fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a physical challenge. And with his enthusiasm, the sports scientist feels right at home at Runtastic.
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