Published July 09, 2019
<article> <section> <p><i>When summer rolls around, what exercises should I be doing to make my arms look good?</i></p> <p>Men want big, muscular biceps. Women want their arms to look <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-simple-tricep-workouts-for-stronger-toned-arms/" rel="noreferrer">toned and lean</a>. So this question becomes a hot topic in the fitness world as the warmer months approach.</p> <p>We’ve talked about the difference between <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/at-home-exercises-to-strengthen-your-shoulders/" rel="noreferrer">“show” and “go”</a> muscles before. For many people, the biceps are perhaps the biggest “show” muscle out there...but they also serve important functions for shoulder and core health. Having big arms just for the sake of looks isn’t actually a great idea.</p> <p>In this article, we’ll show you the 4 best bicep exercises and 3 best bicep workouts you can do right at home, as well as reveal the #1 secret about strengthening your biceps.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/muscles-that-move-forearm-humerus-diagram-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/muscles-that-move-forearm-humerus-diagram-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/muscles-that-move-forearm-humerus-diagram-0202.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/muscles-that-move-forearm-humerus-diagram-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="muscles-that-move-forearm-humerus-diagram-0202"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Biceps: Anatomy & Function</header> <p>Your biceps, or <i>‘biceps brachii’</i>, are the muscles on the front of your arm. They run from your shoulders to your elbows and have two heads, a short head and a long head.</p> <p>The biceps are responsible for moving the shoulder and elbow. They assist the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/latissimus-dorsi/" rel="noreferrer">lats </a> during pulling exercises like rows and pull-ups. They also counteract your triceps, which is essential for ‘pushing’ exercises like push-ups or bench presses. </p> <p>Think of it this way: the triceps push your body up from the floor, the biceps help to bring you back down.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/young-woman-workout-arms-headphones-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/young-woman-workout-arms-headphones-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/young-woman-workout-arms-headphones-0202.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/young-woman-workout-arms-headphones-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="lemon-water-lemon-balm-0163"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The #1 Thing You Should Know About Your Biceps</header> <p><i>Isolating your biceps during workouts is a mistake.</i></p> <p>Bodybuilders swear by things like curls, pull-ups, and other bicep-only exercises. While many of them do have large biceps, adding that kind of muscle is not most people’s goal. Nor is it <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">functional </a>or good for your body.</p> <p>The truth is, many bodybuilders suffer nasty injuries like tendon tears on the long head of the biceps. Their biceps get strong, but their shoulder and elbow joint don’t, leading to imbalances in the muscles.</p> <p>Understand: <i>the biceps are small muscles that weren’t meant to be isolated</i>. Strong, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">functional </a>biceps transfer help that keeps your shoulders and core muscles strong and healthy.</p> <p>But if you isolate them, they get overworked.</p> <p>Besides muscle imbalances, you’re more likely to get injured or have <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/at-home-exercises-to-strengthen-your-shoulders/" rel="noreferrer">tight, painful shoulders</a> down the road. </p> <p>There are ways to look good in a tank top and train your biceps the right way—and “how” might surprise you.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is The Best Way To Increase Bicep Size? </header> <p>Here’s the three-part recipe for increasing your biceps’ size <i>and</i> functionality: get stronger, recover from your workouts, and eat the right diet. </p> <div class="sub-head">1. Get Stronger—All Over</div> <p>You don’t need weights or isolation exercises to get stronger. What might surprise you most is that you don’t necessarily need to just work out your arms, either. </p> <p>Smaller muscle groups—like your biceps—get bigger and stronger when you do lots of full-body exercises like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/step-by-step-guide-on-how-to-do-perfect-squats/" rel="noreferrer">squats</a> , <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-do-perfect-squats-and-pushups/" rel="noreferrer">push-ups</a> , and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">planks </a> <sup>1</sup>.</p> <p>The key is to focus on <i> small improvements every time you exercise</i>.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/6-bodyweight-leg-workout-progressions-you-can/" rel="noreferrer">Good exercise progressions</a> are the key to getting results during your workouts—regardless of the muscle group. Pick exercises based on your fitness level, and then push yourself to do a little bit more than you did the last time, each time you workout. </p> <p>Over time, those 1 percent advancements compound into results</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Recover From Your Workouts</div> <p>Something else that might surprise you: exercise won’t increase the size or strength of your biceps—<i>recovering from exercise</i> will.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-going-keto-can-improve-your-sleep-quality/" rel="noreferrer">Sleep</a>, stretching, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise/" rel="noreferrer">long walks</a> all help you build muscle because they maximize the time you spend resting between workouts. Those activities promote functional adaptation and recovery from the previous workout, which must happen for you to get fitter.</p> <p>The value of workout <i>recovery</i> is one reason we believe the best results come from working out only three times per week. You’re able to focus on intensity and consistency during your workouts. Plus, you aren’t tired at the start of your workouts.</p> <div class="sub-head">How Many Exercises Should I Do For Biceps?</div> <p>Doing three workouts a week, you can do between 1 and 3 biceps exercises per workout if your goal is to make them bigger. </p> <p>Since you’re not isolating your biceps (see our exercise ideas below), you’ll be working other muscle groups with the exercises you choose.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. The Right Diet</div> <p>Hopefully this one isn’t as surprising.</p> <p>To <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-7-post-workout-foods-for-lean-muscle/" rel="noreferrer">add lean muscle</a>, you must eat enough protein to build new muscle and enough calories to fuel your efforts. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">keto diet </a> is great for adding muscle, because you’ll eat liberal amounts of lean protein and a variety of healthy, energy-packed fats.</p> <p>Losing weight and adding muscle at the same time can be tricky for this reason. If you eat <i>too many</i> calories, you won’t lose weight. But if you eat too few, it’s hard for you to build muscle. </p> <p>To do both, we recommend <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/why-you-should-be-calculating-your-macros/" rel="noreferrer">counting macros</a> . This way you’ll know exactly how many calories, along with protein, fat, and carbs, you’re eating.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The 4 Best Bodyweight Bicep Exercises </header> <p>Here are our four favorite full-body exercises for building your biceps:</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/TABLETOPS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/TABLETOPS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <div class="sub-head">1. Tabletops</div> <p>Besides being a great workout for the biceps, tabletops also <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/2-easy-shoulder-stretches-to-increase-mobility/" rel="noreferrer">stretch out tight shoulders</a> and increase core strength. They’re one of our favorite <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">beginner exercises</a>.</p> <p>With your butt on the floor, place your hands at your side and your heels on the floor, fingers pointing away from your feet. This is your starting position. Push through the floor and pivot your feet forward as your hips rise and your body goes into the shape of a table.</p> <p><b>For an extra biceps workout:</b> Squeeze your arms at the top of each rep. This will <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">work your glutes </a>extra, too.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-PUSHUP.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-PUSHUP.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <div class="sub-head">2. Kneeling Push-Ups (or Any Kind Of Push-ups)</div> <p>This chest and triceps strengthening exercise would be impossible without strong biceps. </p> <p>Your starting position is the top of a plank or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">kneeling plank</a>. Keep the elbows from flaring out as you go to the ground. Press through the floor and return to the starting position.</p> <p>Here’s a full breakdown of perfect <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUT0f9P7GpQ&t=275s" rel="noreferrer">push-up form </a>that you can adapt to any <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">beginner push-up</a> variation. </p> <p><b>For an extra biceps workout:</b> Focus on the ‘negative’ portion of the push-up (when you return to the ground). Lower yourself as slowly as you can do the floor. The closer you get to the floor, the more you’ll work your biceps.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-SIDE-PLANK-LEFT-SIDE.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-SIDE-PLANK-LEFT-SIDE.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <div class="sub-head">3. Kneeling Side Planks</div> <p>Side planks increase core strength and force your arms to stabilize some (or all) of your bodyweight. Start with the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">kneeling side plank</a> and work your way up.</p> <p>Here’s the advanced version where you straighten your arm: </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source style="width:40% !important; margin-left:30% !important;" data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-plank-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source style="width:40% !important; margin-left:30% !important;" data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-plank-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source style="width:40% !important; margin-left:30% !important;" data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-plank-0202.jpg"> <img style="width:40% !important; margin-left:30% !important;" src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-plank-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-plank-0202"> </picture> <p><b>For an extra biceps workout:</b> Alternate sides, holding for 10 seconds. Do a push-up negative in between 10 second holds. </p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <div class="sub-head">4. Squats (and the Many Variations) </div> <p>Coach Tyler demonstrates sit to stands (above)—a beginner squat exercise—but the truth is pretty much every <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt/" rel="noreferrer">squat variation</a> is good for increasing bicep size and strength.</p> <p>The bigger muscles in your legs, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-at-home-exercises-for-lower-back-pain/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-lower-ab-exercises-you-can-do-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">abs </a> are the trunk of your body. And when the trunk grows, everything else grows, too.</p> <p>Think about it: you don’t see many people with a muscular pair of legs and core and small arms. It just doesn’t work that way. Squats are as good an exercise as any for getting bigger biceps.</p> <p><b>For an extra biceps workout:</b> Superset squats with upper-body exercises like push-ups or tabletops. (Supersets are when you do the exercise back to back with no rest.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Which Exercises Are Best For Biceps At Home? </header> <p>Here are 3 ways you can use our favorite bicep exercises right at home.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Push-Pull Arm Workout</div> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/push-pull-arm-workout-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/push-pull-arm-workout-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/push-pull-arm-workout-0202.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/push-pull-arm-workout-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="push-pull-arm-workout-0202"> </picture> <p>This workout is guaranteed to be a “burner”—you’ll feel it in your arms and shoulders quickly and probably will need breaks in rounds 4 and 5 . That’s okay! Shake your arms out and try to get a few reps at a time. Slowly chip away at the goal, and record your time at the end. </p> <p>Seriously, this one can be tough. Scale to three rounds if you are a beginner!</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Full-Body Biceps Circuit Workout </div> <p>*For the farmer’s carry, pick up any extra weight (books, backpack, etc.) and walk for 30 seconds.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/full-body-biceps-workout-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/full-body-biceps-workout-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/full-body-biceps-workout-0202.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/full-body-biceps-workout-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="full-body-biceps-workout-0202"> </picture> <p>There is no rest between rounds, so transition as quickly as possible. Either count total reps or track each round’s repetitions and try to beat it next time.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Biceps HIIT Workout</div> <p><b>Time:</b> 10 minutes</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/biceps-hiit-workout-0202.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/biceps-hiit-workout-0202.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/biceps-hiit-workout-0202.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/biceps-hiit-workout-LR-0202.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="biceps-hiit-workout-0202"> </picture> <p>We love <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training </a> (HIIT) workouts. Not only will you get stronger arms, but you’ll get a little cardio workout in by adding step jacks.</p> <p>Do each exercise once, then move to the next one. This workout is like a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer">circuit workout</a> , but it’s a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout because there is built in rest!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Bicep Workouts—Wrapping Up</header> <p>You <i>could</i> do a bunch of curls to increase the size and strength of your biceps. But we’re telling you there’s a much better, healthier way than that if you want to look good in a tank top.</p> <p>Your biceps are small muscles, and isolating them doesn’t do a whole lot of good for your body. You’re much better off using <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/20-minute-full-body-workout-you-can-do-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">full-body exercises</a> and workouts to strengthen your whole body. </p> <p>We promise—if the bigger muscles in your legs and core get stronger and more muscular, so will your biceps. </p> <p>Ready for more workouts? Head over to Warrior Made’s <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">fitness blog</a> and check out tons of exercises and fitness workouts you can do right at home.</p> <p>And if you’re looking to transform your whole body, check out <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made’s fitness tribe</a>. Amazing coaches, nutrition advice, and a supportive community are all tools we use—along with your workouts—to help you get the results you’re looking for.</p> </section> </article>

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