The Only 5 Calisthenics Biceps Exercises You Need to Build Muscle

If you’re a calisthenics athlete and want to bolster your two-headed upper arm muscle, I can help you.

In this article, I’ve shared the five best calisthenics biceps exercises that will strengthen your long and short heads using your body weight only.

Strong biceps make your arms look strong and aesthetic and enhance your performance during calisthenics pull exercises, such as pull-ups, ring rows, and muscle-ups.

5 Best Calisthenics Biceps Exercises to Build Burliest Arms

calisthenics bicep exercises
  1. Bodyweight Curl
  2. Standard Chin-up
  3. Neutral Grip Inverted Row
  4. Neutral Grip Chin-up
  5. Negative Chin-ups

1. Bodyweight Curl

Calisthenics Bicep Workout

The bodyweight biceps curl is also known as the underhand grip inverted row. It isolates the biceps brachii and helps increase strength and size.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Biceps, Posterior Delt, and Upper Trap
  • Equipment Needed: Dip Stand, Smith Machine, Gymnastic Ring or a Sturdy Table
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Benefits

  • The bodyweight curl highly engages the biceps brachii and helps build aesthetic upper arms.
  • It also improves wrist mobility and strengthens forearms.

Steps to do it

  1. Get under the bar and grab it with your hands, palms facing up.
  2. Walk your feet out, extend your arms, and keep your body straight from head to toe.
  3. Use your hands to pull your torso toward the bar until your biceps are fully engaged.
  4. Return to the start and go for the next repetition.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Ensure your arms are straight below your shoulders.
  • Use a hip-width grip to increase biceps engagement.
  • Keep your core, glutes, and thigh engaged throughout the movement.
  • I also suggest using the gymnastic ring to activate your biceps more efficiently.

2. Standard Chin-up

Calisthenic exercise for Biceps

A chin-up is a fundamental calisthenics exercise that targets multiple muscles simultaneously, particularly the two-headed upper arms. It requires grasping the bar with an underhand grip and pulling yourself upward until your biceps are engaged.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Biceps, Back, and Abs
  • Equipment Needed: Pull-up Bar
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  1. It helps build rounded biceps with body weight only.
  2. Bolster grip strength, improve wrist mobility, and build athletic arms.
  3. Chin-ups also engage the abdominals and back and enhance your upper body’s muscularity.

Steps to do it

  1. Hang onto the bar firmly with your hands hip-width apart, palms pointing up, and arms straight. That’s the start.
  2. Engaging your biceps, pull your chest up until your chin reaches above the bar.
  3. Pause for a second, feel the contraction, then return to the start. That’s one rep completed.

Tips and Mistakes

  • I recommend keeping your abs, glutes, and thighs tight to make your chin-up easier.
  • Lift your chest to the bar by pulling the elbows past the rib cage. This puts more stress on the upper arm and efficiently engages the biceps.1 ACE Technique Series – Chin-ups by Pete McCall – American Council of Exercise
  • Avoid using momentum or swinging your body, as it can increase the risk of injuries and reduce biceps engagement.

3. Neutral Grip Inverted Row

The neutral grip bodyweight row is an effective exercise that reinforces the back and biceps together and helps build a solid trunk.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Biceps, Latissimus Dorsi, and Trapezius
  • Equipment Needed: Dip Station or Gymnastic Rings
  • Mechanics: Multi-joint Exercise
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  • The inverted row engages the biceps from a different angle and helps build strength and definition.
  • It elevates your pulling strength and prepares you to do better during the other bicep exercises, such as chin-ups and pull-ups.
  • It makes your torso flexible and helps fix poor posture.

Steps to do it

  1. Position the dip station bar in a suitable and flat area.
  2. Get under the bar and grab the handles with a neutral grip, palms facing each other.
  3. Extend your hips, spread your legs (heels on the floor and toes pointing up), and maintain a straight body. That’s your starting point.
  4. Driving your elbows, pull your chest toward the bar until you feel the full contraction in your biceps muscles.
  5. Hold for a second, lower your body to the start, then repeat.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Visualize your biceps pulling your body up towards the bar, emphasizing the muscle contraction at the top of the row.
  • I also recommend using different widths to hit your biceps effectively and increase their size.
  • Avoid using momentum and perform each rep deliberately, feeling the contraction in each rep.

4. Neutral Grip Chin-up

The neutral grip chin-up is an advanced variation of the above exercise (neutral-grip bodyweight row). It requires pulling your entire body weight using your arms and places greater stress on the biceps’ long and short head.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Biceps
  • Equipment Needed: Bar
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Benefits

  • Target muscles from a different angle and help build strong and beefy biceps.
  • Enhance grip strength and sculpt your forearms.
  • It also scales your pulling strength for doing standard pull-ups.

Steps to do it

  1. Grab the handles with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and keep your arms straight.
  2. Brace your core and maintain a long spine. That’s the start.
  3. Focusing on contracting your biceps, pull yourself until your chin passes the bar.
  4. Feel the work in your biceps for a few seconds, then return to the start.

Tips and Mistakes

  • I recommend fully extending your arms at the bottom of each repetition. This provides decent stretch to the biceps brachii and helps stimulate muscle growth.
  • Keep your body stable by contracting your abdominal muscles.
  • Perform each rep with a strict form to elicit maximum biceps engagement.

5. Negative Chin-up

Negative pull-ups involve lowering your torso slowly and deliberately until your upper arms are fully straight. This exercise keeps your biceps under constant tension and helps increase muscular strength and endurance.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Biceps Brachii
  • Equipment Needed: Pull-up Bar
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  • Engage the biceps in a different way compared to other biceps exercises.
  • Improve your balance and muscle coordination.
  • Keep your mind and muscles engaged throughout the movement.

Steps to do it

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with a supinated grip and hang onto it.
  2. Keep your arms straight, core tight, and spine neutral.
  3. Pull yourself until your chest is close to the bar, then start lowering as slowly as possible until your arms are straight.
  4. Aim for three sets of 6-8 reps.

Tips and Mistakes

  • You can use both underhand and neutral grip to perform this exercise.
  • I suggest taking at least five seconds during the eccentric phase to utilize the benefits of negative reps.

Wrapping It Up

The biceps (anterior upper arms) are two-headed muscles: the long head and the short head. These heads work during the concentric phase when you curl your arms.

Strong biceps make your arms look aesthetic and enhance your performance during pull movements, such as pull-ups, rowing, and deadlifting.

If you want to isolate your two-headed muscles with minimal equipment, I recommend adding the above calisthenics bicep exercises to your workout regime, whether you train at home or in the gym.

Those five exercises (bodyweight curl, chin-up, neutral grip inverted row, neutral grip chin-up, and negative chin-ups) reinforce your long and short heads from different angles and help build sturdy, sculpted, and round biceps

I’ve also designed a 30-minute calisthenics bicep workout for those who want an organized routine.

  • Bodyweight Curl: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Chin-up: 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Neutral Grip Inverted Row: 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Neutral Grip Chin-up: 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Negative Chin-ups: 1 set x as many reps as possible.
  • I suggest keeping the rest time short between sets to spur muscle gain.

I hope you find this article useful. If you have any questions regarding this article, let me know in the comment section.

References

Photo of author
Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
Share to...