Home Exercises for Biceps

You don’t have to go to a gym to get a good arm workout; with just a pair of dumbbells, you can do several different biceps exercises at home. The Mayo Clinic notes that one set of 12 to 15 repetitions is usually enough for most exercisers; if you are looking for a more intense workout, you can do extra sets. Adjust the weight of the dumbbells you use so that completing the last repetition is a challenge.

Biceps Curls

Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Lower the dumbbells so that they rest against the front of each thigh and squeeze your elbows close against your body. Stand in front of a mirror as you do this, if possible, so that you can have constant visual feedback on your posture. Place your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and squeeze your abdominal muscles tight to improve your stability.

Keep your elbows stationary against your body as you bend both arms at the elbow, curling the weights up toward your shoulders. Bring the weights as far up as you can get them without swinging your elbows forward or arching your back. Hold for a moment, then lower the weights back down to the starting position. Both up and down movements should be done with a smooth, controlled motion; exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower the weights.

If keeping good posture is too much of a challenge, either use a lower weight or curl just one weight at a time, alternating sides; this will make staying upright and not swinging your elbows forward that much easier.

Hammer Curls

Position yourself as described above for the biceps curl exercise, except that instead of facing forward, your arms should face in toward your body. Start with both palms even with the side of your body, then bend your arms at the elbow, bringing the weights up toward your shoulders. Your thumbs should face upward throughout the motion. As with the biceps curl, exhale as you bring the dumbbells as far up as you can without arching your back or swinging your elbows forward.

Inhale as you lower the weights slowly back to the starting position. Again, if maintaining proper posture without swinging your elbows or rocking forward and back is too much of a challenge, use lighter weights or curl just one weight at a time.

Concentrate Curls

You only need one dumbbell for concentrate curls. Sit down on a chair without arms or side rails and spread your knees and feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Grasp the dumbbell in your right arm and bend forward, keeping your back straight (don’t arch or hunch), to brace your right elbow against the inside of your right thigh, just before the knee joint. If necessary, you can brace your left arm against your left leg to help support and stabilize your back.

Lower the weight until your right arm is nearly straight, then bend your right arm at the elbow, curling the weight up until it nearly touches your chest. Concentrate on keeping your right elbow stationary throughout the entire exercise; you can push your elbow out against your thigh to help stabilize it, but avoid the temptation to use your thigh muscles to push in against your elbow, thus helping you swing the weight up.

Lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Complete a full set of repetitions on the right side, then repeat with the left.

About this Author

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to such websites as eHow, Garden Guides, LiveSTRONG and Trails.com. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.