dumbbell bicep exercises

Dumbbell Biceps Exercises

As with every muscle group in your body, it’s essential to make time to work on your biceps during your strength routine. 

Your biceps are vital to your body’s ability to complete a variety of daily living activities, like pushing a shopping cart, pulling open doors, and lifting piles of laundry. 

Think of your biceps as the MVP muscle in your arms. 

bicep exercises with dumbbells

Biceps are responsible for stabilizing and supporting another important muscle in your arm, the brachialis muscle. 

If you neglect your biceps, you’re essentially benching your best team-player. 

Ready to take your biceps off the metaphorical bench and back into the game? 

Then, keep reading to learn 5 dumbbell bicep exercises to get your arms in shape, and stay tuned after for some help finding the right dumbbells for you.

5 Dumbbell Bicep Workouts 

 

1. Biceps Curl      

10 Different Ways to Do a Biceps Curl for Maximum Strength and Size

 

Exercises Target Muscle Groups: Biceps

What Do You Need: 2 Dumbbells

How To Do It A Biceps Curl: 

  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet at hip-width distance.
  2. Grip your dumbbells in each hand. Keep your palms facing in towards your body and your arms straight down by your sides.
  3. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your torso and rotate your arms so that the palms of your hands point up.
  4. Brace your core and keep your upper arms still as you engage your biceps and curl the weights up to shoulder height.
  5. Lower your arms back down until you resume the starting position to complete the repetition.

Pro Tip: Make sure your thumb is on the same side of the dumbbell bar as the rest of your fingers to increase contraction in your biceps.

Reps x Sets: Beginners should aim for 12 reps x 2 sets of a biceps curl, and work their way up to a more advanced routine of 8-10 reps x 4 sets.

Youtube: If you’re more of a visual learner, check out these biceps curl videos by clicking here or by clicking here to help guide you in your biceps curl.

2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 

10 Different Ways to Do a Biceps Curl for Maximum Strength and Size

Exercises Target Muscle Groups: Biceps, Lower Arm (Brachialis, Brachioradialis)

What Do You Need: 2 Dumbells

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and your back straight, with your arms down by your sides.
  2. Grip a dumbbell in each hand, towards the top end of the weight, with your palms facing in towards your body. Your thumbs should point forward.
  3. With your upper arms stationary, bend your elbows to lift your dumbbells to shoulder height and squeeze your biceps, keeping the dumbbells as vertical as possible throughout the movement.
  4. Pause at the top of your curl, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position to complete the rep.

Hammer Curl Pro Tip: Try this biceps workout sitting down to avoid getting caught up in a swinging movement, as this can decrease the effectiveness of your hammer curls.

Reps x Sets: Start with 2 sets of 7-10 reps and work your way up to 3-4 sets of 8 reps with more weight as the exercise becomes more comfortable and easier to perform.

Youtube: Check out this video here for a visual explanation of how you can do hammer curls, or click here for a quick look at the proper form.

3. Preacher Curls

Dumbbell preacher curl exercise guide and video | Weight Training ...

Exercises Target Muscle Groups: Biceps

What Do You Need: 1 Dumbbell, Adjustable Preacher Bench

How To Do It:

  1. Adjust your preacher bench so that your armpits are touching the top of the slope and sit down.
  2. Grip a dumbbell in one hand with your palms facing up towards the ceiling and allow your upper arms to rest on your bench.
  3. Curl the weights to your shoulder by flexing your bicep and pause at the top of your curl.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the start position to complete the repetition.

Pro Tip: You can also use this exercise with an EZ curl bar to work both arms simultaneously rather than one at a time.

Reps x Sets: Aim for 1-2 sets per arm at 8-10 reps per set, and work your way up to 3-4 sets per arm as you improve.

Youtube: Click here for a video explanation of preacher curls, or click here for a quick overview of the proper form for the exercise.

4. Renegade Row

Dumbbell renegade row - YouTube

Exercises Target Muscle Groups: Spinal Erectors, Upper Back (Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids), Shoulders (Deltoids), Arms (Triceps, Biceps, Brachialis, Brachioradialis), Core (Abdominals), Legs (Quadriceps)

What Do You Need: 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Place your dumbbells on your exercise mat at shoulder-width apart, and assume the position for a plank with your feet further than shoulder-distance apart.
  2. Grip your dumbbells in place with both hands. Your knuckles should face down towards the floor (without touching) and out to either side of your body.
  3. Simultaneously push into one dumbbell with one arm and use your other arm to pull the opposite dumbbell up towards your waist; be sure to squeeze your biceps for maximum efficiency.
  4. Once the dumbbell you’re lifting is in line with your waist, pause your lift before returning your dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Complete this movement with both arms to finish one repetition.

Pro Tip: Try lowering your knees into a modified plank position if you’re having trouble keeping your hips up to make this workout a bit easier.

Reps x Sets: For this exercise, rather than using reps and sets to measure your progress, get used to the movement by completing as many reps as possible during a 50 second period followed by a 10 second rest period. 

Repeat this three times. As you improve, work towards increasing your reps and your active times between rest periods.

Youtube: Still not quite sure if you’re doing your renegade rows correctly? Check out some videos by clicking here and clicking here for some instructional videos to aid you in your workout.

5. Split Dumbbell Curl to Press

Split Squat With Overhead Press | The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to ...

Exercises Target Muscle Groups: Biceps, Shoulders (Deltoids), Back (Trapezius), Upper arm, Forearms (Flexors)

What Do You Need: 2 Dumbbells

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and your back straight.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand down by your waist, your palms facing in towards your body.
  3. With one foot, step forward until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Remember to drive through your hips to lower yourself and that your back knee should just barely graze the floor without resting on it.
  4. While in the forward lunge position, curl your dumbbells up to shoulder-height and pause before pressing them up, extending your arms fully.
  5. Pause at the top of your curl or once you feel a stretch.
  6. Lower your dumbbells and return to the starting position to complete the rep.

Pro Tip: Engage your core throughout your workout to help prevent injury and work your abdominals during this exercise.

Reps x Sets: 

Like the last workout, this exercise is best measured with reps over time, rather than a specific number of reps or sets. 

You should aim for completing as many reps as you can during a 60 second period and follow up with a 30 second rest period. 

Repeat 3-5 times, depending on your comfort level.

Youtube: Click here for a quick video overview of what your split dumbbell biceps curl to the press should look like in action. Or click here for a longer, instructional video to help guide you as you exercise.

Dumbbell Recommendations

PowerBlock

PowerBlock Series Adjustable Dumbbell Set (PB-SERIES)

For fitness newcomers who are less likely to engage in heavy use of their dumbbells, PowerBlock offers their Sport series in two models the Sport 24 and the Sport 50. 

Both are available for less than $250 and are capable of accommodating up to 90lbs of weight.

For the full specs on PowerBlock’s Sport series, check out this article where we compare Powerblock’s Sport and Elite Adjustable Dumbbell series.

Bowflex

Amazon.com : Bowflex SelectTech 552 - Two Adjustable Dumbbells ...

The SelectTech series from Bowflex is currently our #1 recommendation when it comes to adjustable dumbbells. 

And while you may have to shell out a few extra bucks for these dumbbells, you’ll get more than your money’s worth in ease of use, durability, and quality.

Check out our full review on Bowflex’s SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells here, for more information.

Ironmaster

IronMaster QUICK-LOCK ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELL SYSTEM - 75 LB SET ...

Ironmaster’s Adjustable Dumbbells are in our top 3 recommended products for dumbbells to use in your at-home gym. 

Their compact and sleek, yet solid design make them stylish enough to match any decor and serve the more practical purpose of lasting through years of intensive use.

Want to know more about Ironmaster’s Adjustable Dumbbells? Click on that link for our full review and everything you need to know before you buy it.

Hex Dumbbells

BodyMax Rubber Hex Dumbbell Sets - Shop Online - Powerhouse FitnessIf you don’t plan on using your dumbbells regularly, then you may want to consider hex dumbbells over more expensive, adjustable options. 

Rubber hex dumbbells are most often sold in sets and offer a limited range of weights, best suited to fitness beginners.

Click here for our top 5 Cheapest Rubber Hex Dumbbells recommendations to learn which set is right for you.

Bottomline

bicep workout with dumbbells

Dumbbells are a fantastic tool to have in your fitness toolbelt, especially if you’re looking to build muscle in your lower arms and biceps. 

With a little dedication, time, and a set of dumbbells, you’ll be on your way to bulked-up arms that would leave even Popeye envious.

Check out this quick example biceps workout routine below to help get you started on your path towards bigger biceps.

Example Biceps Workout Routine:

  • Biceps Curl: 12 Reps x 2 Sets
  • Hammer Curls: 7-10 Reps x 2 Sets
  • Preacher Curls: 8 Reps x 2 Sets
  • Renegade Row: 50 Seconds Exercise, 10 Seconds Rest, Repeat 3 Times
  • Split Dumbbell Curl to Press: 60 Seconds Exercise, 30 Seconds Rest, Repeat 3 times.

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