15 Best Dumbbell Bicep Exercises For Ultimate Growth

Everyone loves big biceps, not only because they’re the apple to the eye but also allow you to lift heavy weights during the compound movements, such as the deadlift. You can also do the best dumbbell bicep exercises at home to build beefy biceps.

I’ll share as many as fifteen dumbbell exercises for biceps that you can do with and without a bench. These exercises will strengthen your long and short heads and help you build defined biceps. So whether you’re a beginner or pro, you can do these exercises for ultimate growth.

Benefits of Doing Bicep Workouts with Dumbbells

Biceps Dumbbell Workout for Beginners

Let’s take a look a some of the crucial advantages of working out biceps muscles with dumbbells:

  1. Building sizeable biceps is pretty easier with dumbbells as they provide a complete range of motion and help you specifically target the long and the short head.
  2. They are also easy on the wrists compared to barbells and enable you to lift heavy loads without the risk of pain and injuries.
  3. Dumbbells allow you to use one arm at a time so that you can focus on the weak parts and fix imbalances.
  4. You can do at least fifteen bicep exercises with dumbbells only, higher than the barbell, cables, and bands.

Okay! It’s time to learn more about the muscle you’re are going to train.

the basic anatomy of the biceps muscles

The biceps are the front part of the upper arms located between the deltoid and elbow. They are responsible for controlling the motion of two different joints – the shoulder and the elbow.

The biceps are two-headed muscles: the long head and the short head.

  • Long Head: The long head of the biceps muscle is the larger of the two muscle that forms the entire biceps brachii muscle. It works as flexor of the arms at the elbow joint with the help of short head.
  • Short Head: It is a flexor and supinator of the elbow joint.

The brachialis is also an essential part of the upper arms, along with these two heads. It is the primary mover of elbow flexion and generates nearly 50 percent arms power.

If you want your biceps to look attractive on shirts and t-shirts, you’ll have to hit the right muscles with the right exercises in the right way. Below I’ve shared some of the best dumbbell bicep workouts for beginners and intermediate that may help you grow your two heads over time.

The Best Biceps Dumbbell Workout for Beginners

  1. Dumbbell Concentration Curl
  2. Alternate Dumbbell Bicep Curls
  3. Dumbbell One-arm Preacher curl
  4. Dumbbell Seated Biceps Curl
  5. Incline Alternate Bicep Curl
  6. Alternate Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  7. Dumbbell Preacher Hammer curl

Let’s see how to do these exercises step-by-step.

1. Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Best Dumbbell biceps workout
Concentration Biceps Curl

How to do Concentration Bicep Curl

  1. Sit on a bench, lean forward, and grab a dumbbell with your right hand with an underhand grip.
  2. Place your elbow on the inner part of your right thigh and hold your opposite arm on the left knee for balance.
  3. Curl your arm until you feel the good contraction in your biceps.
  4. Hold for a second and then uncurl your arm. That’s one rep!
  5. Once you complete 8 to 12 reps, switch on another side and complete the equal number of reps.
  6. Aim for three sets with 1-2 minutes rest between set.
  7. Make sure to squeeze the biceps while curling.

Benefits of Concentration curl

The Concentration curls provide higher muscle activation than any other biceps curls – according to a study conducted by the American Council of Fitness (ACE).

Biceps curls data by Ace fitness
Source: Acefitness.org

When you lean forward, your arm is under your body and in front of your eyes which allows you to focus on the biceps while curling the dumbbell, that’s the reason it elicits higher muscle activation.

2. Alternate Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Best Dumbbell biceps workout for stronger arms
Alternate biceps curls
  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand straight in the shoulder-width stance. Keep your arms straight and elbows tucked at your sides.
  2. Slightly rotate the wrist and curl your right arm to bring the dumbbell toward your shoulder until your bicep is engaged.
  3. Hold for a second and return to the beginning position.
  4. Switch to another side and follow the same steps to complete one rep.
  5. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps with 1-2 minutes gap between every set.

Benefits of Alternate bicep curls

  • It doesn’t require a bench.
  • You can target one arm individually.
  • You can lift more weight as compare to two-arms biceps curls.

3. Dumbbell One-arm Preacher curl

Best Dumbbell exercises for biceps
Dumbbell one-arm preacher curl (You can also do that on an incline bench)
  1. Set a bench at 60-degree incline and grab a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Slightly lean forward and place the back of the arm on the pad.
  3. Curl the dumbbell until your arm is align with your shoulder height.
  4. Hold for a second and return to the initial position. That’s one rep!
  5. Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps, equally for each arm.
  6. Keep your arms firmly on the bench and don’t let your elbow off from the pad.

Benefits of preacher curls

The preacher curls help increase the arm’s strength and the size of your biceps. This exercise focus on negative movement. Negative movement promotes muscle growth as well as improves strength.

4. Dumbbell Seated Biceps Curl

best bicep exercises with dumbbells
Seated Biceps Curl
  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and sit on the edge of a flat bench.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms straight.
  3. Curl the dumbbells until they reach the shoulder height.
  4. As you raise a dumbbell, slightly rotate your wrist so your palm is facing your body.
  5. Hold for a second at the top and then bring the dumbbell to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Shoot for 3 sets of 8-12 reps with 1-2 minutes interval time between set.
  7. Avoid flexion and extension of your wrists. Do not shrug your shoulders during the lift.

Benefits of Seated Biceps Curl

The seated dumbbell curl is suitable for beginners as it doesn’t require core involvement. So if you couldn’t do the standing bicep curls, you can do this. However, it requires a workout bench.

5. Incline Alternated Dumbbell Bicep Curl

best dumbbell bicep exercises
Incline Alternated Biceps Curl
  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip and lie on a 45 to 60-degree incline bench on your back. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms straight. That’s the start.
  2. Brace your core and curl your right arm until you feel the good contraction in your bicep muscle.
  3. As you raise a dumbbell, slightly rotate the wrist so your palm is facing your body.
  4. Hold for a second and then return your arm to the start.
  5. Now repeat with your left arm to complete one rep.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
  7. Lower the weights until your arms being fully extended and keep your arms sturdy during the movement.

Benefits:

The incline dumbbell curl works on the long head, short head, and brachialis together which makes it an excellent workout to incorporate into your dumbbell bicep workout routine to develop big guns.

6. Alternate Dumbbell Hammer Curl

bicep dumbbell exercises
Alternate Hammer Curl
  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms are facing each inward.
  3. Curl one arm until it reaches the shoulder level of the same hand.
  4. Hold for a second and then return to the initial position.
  5. Follow the same with the other arm to complete one rep.
  6. Make sure to squeeze the biceps while curling.
  7. Complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps with 1-2 minutes interval time between set.
  8. Keep your body straight and allow only your arms moving during the movement.

Benefits of Alternate Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is one of the best bicep dumbbell workouts that require no bench and can be easily done at home. It improves grip strength, strengthens the long head and forearms, and helps you build bigger biceps.

7. Dumbbell Preacher Hammer curl

biceps workout with dumbbells
Preacher Hammer curl

You can do alternate hammer curl at home on a flexible gym bench.

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and sit on the preacher bench.
  2. Slightly lean forward and place the back of the arms with the dumbbells against the pad.
  3. Curl your arms until you feel the good contraction in your bicep muscles.
  4. Hold for a second and return to the start. That’s one rep!
  5. Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between set.
  6. Keep your arms firmly on the bench and don’t let your elbow and armpit off from the pad.

Benefits of preacher hammer curls

The preacher hammer curl increases biceps mass and promotes muscles growth. In addition, it improves wrist stability and enhances grip strength that will help you in deadlifts and other compound exercises.

Advanced Dumbbell Bicep Exercises For Mass Gain

  1. Incline Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  2. Incline Prone Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  3. Lying Supine Bicep Curl
  4. Dumbbell Reverse Bicep Curl
  5. Dumbbell Zottoman Curl
  6. Dumbbell Drag Curl
  7. Banded Dumbbell Biceps Curl
  8. Dumbbell Narrow Grip Curl

1. Incline Dumbbell Bicep Curl

best bicep exercises with dumbbells
Incline dumbbell Biceps Curl
  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand and lay down on a 45 to 60-degree incline bench with your face facing up.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms straight.
  3. Curl the dumbbells until they reach your shoulder level.
  4. Hold for a second and return to the initial position. That’s one rep!
  5. Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between set.

Benefits of Incline dumbbell Bicep curl

Studies have shown that the Incline dumbbell curls highly activate biceps muscles more than preacher and hammer curl. Moreover, they fortify your inner biceps with a stronger stretch.

2. Incline Prone Dumbbell Bicep Curl

dumbbell biceps workout at home
Prone-incline-biceps-curl
  1. Lay down on a 45-degree incline bench on your chest.
  2. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and keep your arms straight below your shoulders.
  3. Curl your arms to bring the dumbbells toward the shoulder until your biceps are fully engaged.
  4. Hold for a second and then slowly return to the start.
  5. Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between set.
  6. Use your arms strength while raising the dumbbells. Don’t lose your shoulder during movement.

Benefits

The facedown incline bicep curl is for intermediate and pro fitness enthusiasts. It isolates the biceps muscles at a verticle angle, limits the shoulder muscles involvement, and helps in growing muscles.

3. Lying Supine Bicep Curl

Lying Supine Biceps Curl
Lying Supine Biceps Curl
  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, lay down on a flat bench with your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Brace your abdominal muscles and bring your arms down to your sides, hanging off the bench. That’s the start.
  3. Curl your arms until the dumbbells reach the shoulder height.
  4. Hold for a second and then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep!
  5. Perform a couple of sets of 8 to 10 reps each with lightweight dumbbells.
  6. Once you are used to it then you can increase weight.

Benefits of Lying Supine Bicep Curl

The lying supine biceps curl is one of the advanced biceps isolation exercises. This movement primarily targets the long head and beef-up bicep muscles.

4. Dumbbell Reverse Bicep Curl

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold your arms straight in front your thighs.
  2. Curl your arms together or alternatively until you feel the contraction in your biceps.
  3. You can hold for a moment before return to the start.

Benefits:

The reverse curl doesn’t only target your biceps at a different position but also strengthens forearms muscles. You can do it once in two weeks to build sturdy arms.

5. Dumbbell Zottoman Curl

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand and stand upright with your arms are straight at your sides, palms are facing in.
  2. Twist your wrist and curl your arms to bring the dumbbell toward your shoulder.
  3. Twist your wrist so the palms are facing forward and then reverse the movement to complete one rep.
  4. Shoot for three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Benefits:

The Zottoman curl is one of the best bicep dumbbell exercises that work on entire arms from lower to upper arms. You can do this exercise when you have limited time to train your arms muscles.

6. Dumbbell Drag Curl

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold your arms straight at your sides, palms facing forward.
  2. Curl the dumbbells directly up the front of your body and drive your elbows backward simultaneously until you feel the good contraction in biceps.
  3. Slowly extend your arms to the start. That’s one rep.

Benefits:

The drag curl is slightly different than the usual curl, where your elbows drift behind the body as you curl your arms. It is usually performed as a finisher workout at the end of bicep exercises.


7. Banded Dumbbell Biceps Curl

  1. Stand on the middle of a long resistance band, grab one dumbbell in each hand and wrap the band around it.
  2. Stand upright with your back straight and arms at your sides. That’s the start.
  3. Slowly bring the dumbbells toward your shoulders until your biceps are fully engaged.
  4. Squeeze for a moment at the top and then slowly extend your arms.
  5. Aim for three sets of eight to ten reps.

Benefits:

The banded dumbbell curl is something to try out. It develops biceps and improves your wrist stability. However, it will be challenging and take time for beginners to include it in their arms exercises.

8. Dumbbell Narrow Grip Curl

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand and stand upright with your arms are straight and together in front of your hips, palms facing forward. You should hold dumbbells close to each other.
  • Slowly curl your arms until your biceps are fully engaged.
  • Pause for a moment and then return your arms to the start and repeat for the desired repetitions.

Benefits

The narrow grip dumbbell curl specifically works on long heads and helps you build bigger biceps.

The 4 Best Ways to Maximize Your Bicep Growth

  • Progressive Overload: Increasing load over time is crucial for muscle growth. So if you also want to grow biceps mass, increase 10 to 15 percent of your 1RM constantly, typically after every three to four weeks.
  • Start your workout with heavy dumbbells: Always start your workout with the exercise where you can lift the maximum weight.
  • Focus on each head: If you want to stimulate the biceps muscle, you need to train each head. Holding the dumbbells far away from each other works on your short head while keeping them close reinforces your long head. So you can train according to that.
  • Variations: Incorporate varieties of the best dumbbell bicep exercises, such as normal curl, incline curl, concentration curl, hammer curl, and crossover body curls to target bicep muscles from each angle. Moreover, you can incorporate resistance band bicep exercises to add more options.

Dumbbell Bicep Workout Routine

Rest between sets 1 minute; and 2 minutes between exercises. The estimated duration to complete one session is 30 to 45 minutes.

Routine 1

  • Seated or Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Crossover Body Curl: 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Routine 2

  • Standing Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Incline Prone Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curl: 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell One-arm Preacher curl: 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Zottoman Curl: 3 x 8-12 reps

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you build biceps with just dumbbells?

Yes, you can build your biceps with dumbbells only. Dumbbells isolate your biceps effectively, allow you to perform various exercises, and help you target one arm at a time. However, adding machines and barbell exercises to your routine speed up
growth.

Can You do biceps every day?

Doing biceps exercises every day won’t make them bigger. And if that is so, everyone probably has massive guns by now. An excellent muscle-building workout program doesn’t include biceps exercises twice a week because doing more than that won’t make any difference.

If you want bigger biceps, you’ll equally need to focus on each muscle, especially the chest, back, and legs. Because gaining overall muscles also help you grow biceps.

What Are The Best Dumbbell Bicep Exercises?

All curls are effective for bicep growth. However, if you have to do only five exercises, you can do standing dumbbell curl, incline curl, concentration curl, prone incline curl, and hammer curl, as they are some of the best dumbbells exercises for biceps.

How Heavy Dumbbells Should You Use?

Use the dumbbells that are heavy enough for doing at least six reps and a maximum of twelve with proper form. But make sure you feel the contraction during each rep.

What Muscles Can You Train With Biceps?

You can train any muscles with biceps, such as the back, triceps, shoulder, legs, and chest. However, working out your biceps on a back day can be more effective, as they both works during the pull exercises. But make sure, always train your large muscles first.

Where Can You Buy Good Quality Dumbbells?

You can buy the dumbbells from wherever you want, such as local and online stores. I’ve selected some best dumbbells from Amazon and other platforms for various exercises. So you can have a look.

Dumbbell vs. barbell for biceps Workout: Which is the best?

Dumbbells and barbells are both excellent for developing sizeable muscles. Barbells help you lift more weight and promote muscle growth. However, dumbbells allow you do various exercises with a complete range of motion, help you use one arm at a time, and increase biceps mass. So the dumbbells are good, but you should include both of them if you have a choice.

Related: Dumbbell Curls Vs. Barbell Curls: An Insightful Review

Dumbbell Exercises For Other Muscles

Pic Source: Everkinetic / CC BY-SA (Edited by me)

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