6 Best Isometric Bicep Exercises and Their Benefits

Whether you want to rebuild, maximize or maintain biceps strength, you can try isometric bicep exercises.

Isometric exercises are a type of movement that involves contracting the muscles without moving them. They keep your muscles under constant tension for a set period of time without muscle or joint movement.

They are low-impact and are suitable for all fitness levels, especially for those who are recovering from an injury or want to add a different kind of exercise to their workout program.

Top 6 Isometric Bicep Exercises to Build Strength

You can do isometric biceps exercises using your own body weight or holding weighted exercise equipment, such as a dumbbell and barbell.

I’ve outlined six different isometric exercises to build biceps strength. You can pick any exercise depending on your goal.

For example, you can perform low-impact bodyweight exercises if you’re recovering from injury and a weighted isometric bicep hold if you want to maximize your strength and muscle growth.

1. Palm Up and Down

Exercise LevelBeginner
PurposeRehabilitation
EquipmentNone
Suitable forPeople who have just recovered from a wrist or arm injury

If you’ve just recovered from a wrist or arm injury, you can try the up-and-down biceps isometric. It helps improve mobility and rebuild strength. You can do this exercise anywhere anytime.

How to:

  1. Sit down on the chair comfortably, and bend your injured arm (suppose your right arm) until your hand is aligned with your elbow.
  2. Close your right palm and place your left hand on the right one.
  3. Gently press down your right hand with your left one, pause for 5 seconds and then reverse the movement. So that you’re pressing both hands together against each other.

When you bend your right elbow, you contract your biceps, while when you push down with a left hand, you prevent full contraction.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 5 seconds hold x 3

2. Isometric Bicep Hold with Towel

Exercise LevelBeginner
PurposeStrength and Rehabilitation
EquipmentTowel
Suitable forthose who want to recover from injury and increase bicep strength

Sometimes, only a towel can be good workout equipment. You can do plenty of workouts using a towel including the biceps isometric hold. The towel provides good resistance and allows you to put the needed stress on your two-headed muscles.

This is also suitable for people who are recovering from arm injuries. But make sure you do not squeeze your biceps too hard.

How to:

  • Stand upright or sit on the chair or bench, whichever is comfortable for you.
  • Take a bath towel or bed sheet and wrap it around your feet and hold the other end firmly with your hands.
  • Bend your elbow to a 90-degree and hold in this position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Make sure you feel the contraction in your biceps during the hold.

Suggested reps and sets: Perform 5 reps of 10 seconds each x 3

You can also perform this movement unilaterally, using one arm at a time. It will allow you to work more on your underdeveloped arm and correct strength imbalance.

3. Resistance Band Bicep Static Flex

Exercise LevelBeginner
PurposeStrength and Rehabilitation
EquipmentResistance Band
Suitable forpeople who want to regain arms strength
bicep isometric exercises

Once you progress your biceps strength, you can use resistance bands. Resistance bands are excellent for doing static bicep exercises because they provide a better grip and allow you to adjust the resistance.

You can perform an isometric bicep curl both in the seated and standing positions, depending on which suits you the most.

Let’s see how to perform a one-arm resistance band bicep hold:

  • Place the resistance band under your feet and grab the handle or other end with your left hand, palm under the band.
  • Curl your arm until you feel the contraction in your biceps.
  • Hold in this position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat with another arm.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 x 3 on each side.

Related: The 8 Best Resistance Band Biceps Exercises

4. Dumbbell Isometric Biceps Hold

Exercise LevelIntermediate
PurposeStrength and Muscle Gain
EquipmentDumbbell
Suitable forthose who want to build strength and size
isometric exercises for biceps

If you want to put more stress on your biceps long and short heads, you can try dumbbell isometric bicep curl. The dumbbell static curl helps increase muscular strength and endurance, build muscles, and improve muscle coordination.

How to:

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with an underhand grip, sit on the edge of a bench, and lean your torso forward.
  2. Place your elbow inside the right thigh and flex your arm as far as you can tolerate.
  3. Hold in that position for 5 to 15 seconds and extend your arm.

Suggested Reps: 5 reps x 5 on each side.

You may also like: 15 Best Dumbbell Bicep Exercises For Ultimate Growth

5. Barbell Isometric Static Curl

Exercise LevelIntermediate
PurposeIncrease strength and size
EquipmentBarbell
Suitable forthose who want to build strength and size
Biceps workout with barbell

You can try isometric bicep hold with a barbell as well. The only difference between a barbell and a dumbbell static hold is that the dumbbells allow you to train your arm individually while with the barbell, you have to use both arms at a time. It’s best to do it with an EZ bar curl on a preacher curl bench.

How to:

  • Put the appropriate weight into the EZ bar and sit on the preacher’s curl bench.
  • Place the back of your upper arm on the bench and flex your arms at the desired angle.
  • Hold in this position for five to ten seconds and then uncurl your arms.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 x 3

6. Static Chin-up Hold

Exercise LevelIntermediate
PurposeStrength and Muscle Gain
EquipmentPull-up Bar
Suitable forthose who want to build strength and size

The chin-up bar bicep hold is tough but a great way to increase your muscle strength, grip strength, and holding ability. This exercise is excellent for those who want to build up rounded and muscular biceps.

How to:

  • Hang onto the bar with your hands hip-width apart and pull yourself up until your arms are bent at 90 degrees.
  • Hold in this position for as long as you can and then uncurl your arm.

Pro Tips: To make it more advanced, you can raise your legs in front of you, making an L shape.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 x 5

Benefits of Isometric Bicep Hold

1. Reduce pain and Recover Injuries

Isometric training may be helpful to someone who has pain and injury. Many doctors and physical therapists recommend doing isometric exercises for those who want to recover from injuries. However, it’s best to consult with your doctor before you do any exercise because he/she will be the right person to recommend the right exercises based on your condition.

2. Enhance strength

During static curls, the muscle and joints don’t move. They put your muscles under constant tension and help increase muscular strength and endurance.

3. Improve Mind-Muscle Connection

Mind-muscle connection is crucial for effective training. It helps build strength and muscles. The isometric biceps exercises allow you to hold your arms in static curl for a set period of time so you can feel the deep muscle contracting and firing. It helps focus on your muscles throughout the movement and improves mind-muscle connection.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do isometric hold build muscle?

Muscles build when they undergo mechanical and metabolic stress. And these happen when an exercise has eccentric (muscle lengthening) and concentric (muscle shortening) movements.1Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543, 2Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn DI, Vigotsky AD, Franchi MV, Krieger JW. Hypertrophic Effects of Concentric vs. Eccentric Muscle Actions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Sep;31(9):2599-2608. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001983. PMID: 2848633 While isometric exercises have only one of these movements, they build muscle to some extent but are not as effective as standard strength training exercises.

How often should you do isometric biceps exercises?

The frequency of isometric training depends on your fitness goals. If your goal is to rehabilitate from an injury or illness, you can do it five to seven days per week. However, if your goal is to build both strength and muscular endurance, then three days per week with 24-48 hours of rest in between will be enough.

Do isometric exercises cause muscle damage?

Isometric exercises are safe and effective as long as you hold your arms at shorter than the optimum length, do them at half-maximum effort or less, and hold them for a short period of time.3Allen TJ, Jones T, Tsay A, Morgan DL, Proske U. Muscle damage produced by isometric contractions in human elbow flexors. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2018 Feb 1;124(2):388-399. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00535.2017. Epub 2017 Oct 26. PMID: 29074710.

Related Isometric Exercises:

References

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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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