Sales Popup
Someone purchased a
6 hours ago

FREE SHIPPING AT $150

0

Your Cart is Empty

November 15, 2022 12 min read

Everyone loves big biceps, not only because they make heads turn, but strong biceps also allow you to lift heavier weights during compound exercises, such as deadlifts.

And as a bonus, dumbbells are the perfect equipment to use during home workouts or to maintain some kind of workout routine on vacation when you can’t get to your regular gym.

They offer more versatility because different grips allow the activation of isolated muscle groups like the biceps as the primary target.

Furthermore, dumbbells allow you the freedom to fire up your biceps from different angles with a mere change of grip.

Strong Arm – Image from Shutterstock

Strong biceps are more than just aesthetic value.

Did you know that one of the functions of your biceps is the flexion movements of your elbows? Just think about it, how many times per day do you lift or pick up objects?

From something as small as your car keys to a child, heavy boxes, dumbbells, or a barbell, they all require your biceps to flex your elbows to do the work. For lifting any type of load, you'll need healthy flexion.

Another function of your biceps is to supinate your forearms. That means they allow your forearms to turn to have your palms facing upward. 

The Basic Anatomy of the Biceps Muscles

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

Biceps Muscles – Image from Shutterstock

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 muscles that form the entire biceps brachii muscle. It works as a flexor of the arms at the elbow joint with the help of the short head.

Short Head: It is a flexor and supinator of the elbow joint.

And when you train your biceps as part of your arm exercises, you can't neglect the brachialis, a muscle that sits beneath the biceps and serves an essential function along with the two heads of the biceps.  It is the primary mover of elbow flexion and generates nearly 50 percent of the arm's power while generating even more flex power. Don’t neglect them, and you'll get stronger, and your arm muscles will look bigger.

Dumbbell bicep exercise tips

Use the tips below and any dumbbell bicep exercise you then do will feel slightly harder. Does that sound wrong? Don’t worry, it’s a good thing because each rep you execute will be more effective as you will be training smarter, which will speed up your progress toward those bigger arms you desire.

Squeeze the biceps at the top — Squeezing the biceps hard at the top of the movement will produce a peak contraction, maximizing the quality of the rep.

Squeeze the triceps at the bottom — If you squeeze your triceps and fully extend your arm at the bottom of each rep, it will signal your brain to start the contraction of your bicep muscles to improve the next contraction.

Lower the weight slowly — Both lifting and lowering of the dumbbell form part of the exercise. If you lower the weight in a slow controlled movement, your biceps instead of gravity will do the work.

Change your grip to target the two bicep heads separately — You’re unable to isolate each head entirely, but you can emphasize one at a time. This is possible by changing your arm angle and your grip. Using a narrow grip will allow you to focus on the long head, and a wider grip will target the short head. Exercises like concentration curls and incline curls target the long head, while hammer curls and reverse curls allow you to focus on the short head.

Grip strength control — Changing your grip strength by adding fat grips to change the diameter of the dumbbell can help you get Popeye forearms while exercising your biceps — if that is something you want.

Cardio Warm-Up — Even if you’d rather get straight to your workout, a warm-up session is crucial, even if it lasts only five minutes. Some lightweight mobility movements, a few mock-barbell curls using a resistance band, or simple stretching allow improved oxygenation through increased blood flow. You’ll not only enhance your own performance but also limit injury risks.

Rest periods — Your rest periods in between rep sets play a significant role in your progress. When it comes to biceps muscle growth, it helps to take two to three-minute breaks between rep sets. Depending on the training style of your bicep workout, rest periods speed up muscle repair, allowing you to lift at full capacity and achieve your goals sooner.

10 BEST DUMBBELL BICEPS EXERCISES

The focus on big biceps is not limited to strength builders and bodybuilders. Even if you work out as a part of your fitness routine, adding dumbbell exercises to your arm workout day could help you develop strong biceps sooner. Here is our choice of the 10 best biceps exercises using dumbbells to ensure strong biceps.

1. DUMBBELL SUPINATED BICEPS CURL

A supinated or underhand grip will ensure constant biceps tension. Doing dumbbell curls with a supinated grip involves rotation of the wrist, and strengthening forearm muscles as a bonus.

Dumbbell Supinated Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do supinate dumbbell biceps curls:

Starting position: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and your arms hanging by your sides.

  1. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height while rotating your forearms, so your palms face your shoulders.

  2. Pause at the top while pinching your biceps, and slowly return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 15 reps.

Note: Supinated bicep curls can be done while seated or standing, and you can do the curls by alternating hands or both hands at the same time.

2. DUMBBELL REVERSE BICEPS CURL

The reverse grip targets the long head of your biceps brachii while also activating the smaller forearm extensor muscles which will assist in keeping your elbows healthy.

Dumbbell Reverse Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do dumbbell reverse biceps curls:

Starting position: Grab a pair of dumbbells using an overhand grip and hold them against the top of your thighs, your knuckles facing forward and away from you. Choose a lighter weight to avoid bending your wrists.

  1. Keep your wrists straight while you curl the dumbbells up until the backs of your hands reach the front of your shoulders.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement to return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Note: This is performed either seated or standing.

3. DUMBBELL HAMMER CURL

The neutral grip used for the hammer curl variation is elbow-friendly and easy on your shoulders as they are neither internally nor externally rotated. Hammer curls emphasize the long head of the bicep and the brachioradialis which is an important forearm muscle.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl – Image from Shutterstock How to do dumbbell hammer curls:

Starting position: Stand up straight, your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells in a neutral grip by your sides.

  1. Lift the dumbbells until the head almost touches the front of your shoulders, keeping your wrists neutral so that the palms of your hands face each other.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement to return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 2 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Note: You can make this curl more intense by using an offset grip to hold the dumbbell.

4. DUMBBELL ZOTTMAN BICEPS CURL 

If you combine the supinated and reverse dumbbell biceps curls you will end up with the Zottman biceps curl. It is unique in the way it works your biceps as a flexor when you use the supinated grip on the way up, and a strengthener of your wrist extensors when you switch to the overhand reverse grip on the way down. The Zottman curl works the full range of motion as it works the biceps and all the muscles that play a part in elbow flexion.

How to do Zottman biceps curls: 

Starting position: Grab a pair of dumbbells in a supinated grip and hold them by your side while standing upright with your upper back engaged.

  1. Rotate your forearms as you curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders until your palms face your shoulders at the top of the movement.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second, then turn your palms away from your shoulders to face forward.

  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells in a controlled movement while rotating your wrists so that they are in the neutral position by the time your arms are back at the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 15 reps.

Note: It is best to start with a lighter weight until you master the Zottman dumbbell biceps curl.

5. DUMBBELL CONCENTRATION BICEPS CURL

This movement’s name comes from the fact that it is concentrated on one arm at a time. Being seated and with all the focus on one arm, you’ll have more stability to engage the biceps. Furthermore, the concentration biceps curl is an efficient way to address imbalances between the left arm and right arm. Try to minimize the upper body to get more out of your concentration curls.

Dumbbell Concentration Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do concentration curls:

Starting position: Sit down on a bench, spread your legs apart and firmly grip a dumbbell in your right hand while you lean over, keeping your chest up.

  1. While keeping your right arm straight, press your right arm’s triceps into the inner thigh of your right leg.

  2. Curl the dumbbell to your anterior right shoulder while keeping your upper body stable and your triceps pressed against your inner thigh all the time.

  3. Pause for a second and slowly straighten your arm and return to the starting position.

  4. Continue working your right arm for the determined number of reps, then switch to the left arm and repeat the full range of motion of the concentrated biceps curl.

Repetitions: Perform 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Note: Try to minimize the use of your upper body to get more out of your concentration curls.

6. DUMBBELL INCLINE BICEPS CURL

The incline dumbbell biceps curl is probably one of the toughest dumbbell biceps exercises around. Your biceps will certainly feel the incredible stretch of the biceps when you sit on an incline while doing this curl version. However, the position will significantly increase the range of motion.

Select a lighter-weight dumbbell for the incline biceps curl and ensure your biceps feel the stretch. You can do this exercise as a supinated, Zottman, or hammer curl. 

Dumbbell Incline Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do incline dumbbell curls:

Starting position: Sit back on an incline bench, holding a pair of dumbbells, using the grip of the style you prefer, with your arms hanging by your side.

  1. With your back glued to the bench throughout the movement, curl the dumbbells up using your preferred style until you feel a tight squeeze in your biceps.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement to return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 18 reps.

Note: Always start the next rep from the dead-hand position.

7. DUMBBELL WALL BICEPS CURL

This dumbbell curl allows no cheating. It forces you to hone in on your biceps without any help from your upper and lower back.

Dumbbell Wall Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do wall biceps curls with dumbbells:

Starting position: Grab a pair of dumbbells using a supinated grip. Stand up straight with your back to a wall. Lean back and walk your feet forward without moving your lower back, upper back, and head away from the wall.

  1. Curl the dumbbells to your anterior shoulder without your shoulders coming forward.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement to return to the starting position, still maintaining the prescribed contact with the wall.

Repetitions: Perform 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 15 reps.

8. DUMBBELL STEP-BACK BICEPS CURL

This version of the dumbbell biceps curl is for those who want to add an extra bite to their biceps workout. You’ll be adding a small step back to your biceps curl, prolonging the time, and therefore the intensity, that your biceps are under tension. Taking the step back will also improve your balance, coordination, balance, and core stability.

Dumbbell Step-Back Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do step-back dumbbell biceps curls:

Starting position: Stand up straight holding a pair of dumbbells by your side, using a supinated or neutral grip. You can perform this dumbbell exercise as a supinated or hammer curl.

  1. Curl the dumbbells up using your style of choice while simultaneously taking a small step back with your right foot.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement while simultaneously stepping back with your left foot to return to the starting position with your feet together.

  3. Continue the reps by alternating sides.

Repetitions: Alternate sides for 2 to 4 sets of 12 to 16 reps.

Note: Start off by taking only a small step back until you have mastered the movement. You can then increase the intensity of the workout by doing a reverse lunge instead.

9. DUMBBELL PINWHEEL BICEPS CURL

The pinwheel biceps curl puts a twist on a hammer curl. You train your biceps from a different angle by performing the curl across your body, which increases the range of motion and improves muscle-building potential.

How to do pinwheel dumbbell biceps curls:

Starting position: Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand, using a neutral grip.

  1. Curl your right hand towards your left shoulder feeling a squeeze in your biceps.

  2. Pinch the biceps of your right arm and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbell in a controlled movement to return to the starting position.

  3. Repeat the movement with your left hand, performing the curl toward the right shoulder.

  4. Return to starting position and keep alternating sides.

Repetitions: Alternate sides for 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 16 reps.

Note: Instead of focusing on weight when performing the pinwheel biceps curl, focus on the range of motion.

10. DUMBBELL OFFSET BICEPS CURL

For this version of the dumbbell biceps curl, your grip will be in an offset position. Instead of grabbing the dumbbell directly in the center of the bar, you must move your grip toward the dumbbell’s head. In that position, your forceps will have to work harder to perform the curl.

If you do the offset curl using a supinated grip, you will resist wrist rotation, making a light dumbbell feel heavier and increasing the intensity of the biceps workout while also strengthening your wrists and forearms, giving you a stronger grip. The offset grip makes it difficult to grip and curl so go for a lighter weight than usual to make sure to keep your wrists in neutral.

Dumbbell Offset Curl – Image from Shutterstock

How to do dumbbell offset bicep curls:

Starting position: Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand, using a supinated grip but with putting your thumb against the dumbbell’s head in the offset position with your palms facing each other.

  1. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders until you can feel your biceps squeezing.

  2. Pinch your biceps and pause for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells in a controlled movement to return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Note: To increase the difficulty and add some core work to it, perform the exercise unilaterally.

What are the benefits of using dumbbells for doing bicep workouts?

Although there is no shortage of  bicep-building exercises , there are multiple reasons to add dumbbells to your bicep workout toolbox.

  • Using dumbbells makes it easier to grow your biceps because the dumbbells provide a complete range of motion, which allows you to target the long and short heads of the biceps separately.

  • When compared to barbells, dumbbells are easier on the wrists, which allows you to lift heavy loads without risking wrist pain and injuries.

  • Unlike barbells, you can use one dumbbell at a time, which is a great advantage when you want to deal with muscle imbalances between your right and left bicep muscles.

  • The rep range when you use dumbbells is significantly higher than when you use bands, cables, or barbells.

  • Using dumbbells allows you to engage the brachialis muscle beneath the biceps, and although it is a reasonably small muscle, including it in your workouts can develop them, which will help you get to your goal of big, strong arms sooner.

Proper nutrition

Biceps, like other muscles, won’t grow or get stronger without proper nutrition before and after workouts.

Exercise stresses your muscles — recovery and growth take place in the periods between workout routines. By consuming sufficient protein, which are building blocks for muscular development, you can maximize recovery, strength building, and adding muscle mass.

Of course, other nutrients are helpful as well. In a quest to build mass fast, many bodybuilders, strength trainers, and even fitness trainers have turned to a variety of performance-enhancing drugs and supplements.

Creatine is the most popular of these substances, believed to enhance muscle mass and help lifters achieve bursts of strength.

ATP-FUSION is perfect for men and women seeking lean muscle gains with no bloat or water retention.

In a Nutshell

The secret to building bigger biceps that make heads turn is to have a variety of moves in your training toolkit. However, form and technique are crucial, and to reap all the benefits dumbbells offer for biceps building you would be wise to follow the above guidelines carefully.