You are here

The Biceps Workout You Can Do Without a Huge Rack of Dumbbells

When you think "biceps workout" you might immediately think of dumbbell racks, curls, clunky machines, and pull-up bars. If you're trying to get a little bicep pump done outside the gym or sans large machines, that might leave you starved for ideas. 

Good news: Tara Nicolas, a NASM personal trainer and instructor at Fhitting Room (a high-intensity training studio in NYC), designed a biceps workout that uses equipment that's easy to keep at home or pile into a corner at the gym. Even better? It doesn't just work your biceps; this circuit includes tons of compound exercises, meaning they work multiple muscle groups in your body, instead of just that small section of your arm. Not to mention, this biceps workout calls your core into action, too. (Yep, get ready for some planks.)

"I built this workout around power, stabilization, and strength," says Nicholas. "I love starting workouts with core work because no matter your level of conditioning, an activated core will help keep you safe. From there, you'll do slow, controlled movements, then band work (which provides increased time under tension), and lastly, dynamic and explosive movements by introducing med ball exercises." 

This biceps workout includes a full-body warm-up and cool-down (so your entire body will be ready for movement) and then uses a hybrid of Tabata and supersets to do a lot of work in a small amount of time. Translation: You'll alternate two different exercises for a specific amount of time and number of sets, then move on to the next set or round.

How it works: Start with the warm-up, doing 30 seconds of each exercise. Then move onto the Tabata intervals. Do each move for the indicated amount of time for work and rest, then do the other move in the superset. Continue alternating the two moves in each pair until you've completed the indicated number of sets. Then move onto the next superset. Finish with the cool-down, doing each move for 30 seconds.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights, Medicine ball, Resistance band

1. Warm-Up

A.

Air squat: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Lower into a squat—if possible, until thighs are parallel to the floor. Press into the mid-foot to stand.

B.

Inch Worm to Shoulder Tap: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips with soft knees to plant palms on the floor, walking out to a high plank. Keeping hips steady, tap the left shoulder with the right hand, then tap the right shoulder with the left hand. Return to high plank, then walk hands up to feet and stand to return to start.

C.

Hip Opener Right/Left: Start in a high plank. Step the right foot outside of the right hand to come into a low lunge. Shift back and forth here to open up the hip. Then reach the right arm up toward the ceiling, then slowly drop that elbow towards the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

D.

Touchdown Jacks: Start with feet together, arms in front of chest. Jump feet out and squat, reaching right hand toward the floor. Hop feet together and stand, then repeat, reaching left hand toward the floor.

E.

Jump Rope: Stand with feet together and arms by sides as if holding a jump rope. Hop and swing arms, as if actually jumping rope.

F.

Butt Kick: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Alternate kicking heels up to glutes, landing softly on the balls of feet.

G.

Frogger: Start in a high plank position. Jump feet outside of hands, making sure feet are flat, and lower hips to come into a low squat. Jump feet back to plank to return to start.

Sets:

1

Reps:

Do each move for 30 seconds.

2. Tabata 1: Forearm Plank

A.

Start in a high plank position, feet hip-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Lower onto elbows. Press away from the floor, pull shoulders down away from ears, and keep back of legs engaged.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

3. Tabata 1: Forearm Plank Hip Dip

A.

Start in a forearm plank. Slowly lower the left hip toward the floor, rotating over heels but keeping shoulders square.

B.

Return hips to center, then lower hips to the right with control. Returen to start, then repeat.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

4. Tabata 2: Dumbbell Renegade Row to Push-up

A.

Start in a high plank with each hand gripping a dumbbell and feet wide.

B.

Row one dumbbell up to chest, keeping elbow tight into body and hips square. Lower dumbbell to ground, then repeat on the opposite side.

C.

Return to high plank, then slowly lower body into a push-up, keeping core engaged and maintaining a straight line from head to toes. 

Sets:

3

Reps:

50 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Mistakes and Tips:

For the push-up, only lower your body as far down as you can while remaining in control and not hunching shoulders or dipping your low back.

5. Tabata 2: Dumbbell Zottman Curl

A.

Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing forward.

B.

Curl dumbbells up to shoulders, palms facing shoulders.

C.

Rotate dumbbells so palms face away from shoulders.

D.

Slowly lower dumbbells to front of hips. Rotate palms to face forward to return to start.

Sets:

3

Reps:

50 seconds on; 10 seconds off

6. Tabata 3: Standing Banded I's

A.

Start standing with feet hip-width apart on one side of a large, looped resistance band. Hold the other side of the resistance band in each hand outside of hips, palms facing body.

B.

Engage abs and lift the resistance band overhead so palms face forward. Avoid arching lower back or allowing resistance band to go behind head.

Sets:

2

Reps:

45 seconds on; 15 seconds off

Mistakes and Tips:

If this is too difficult, try bringing feet closer together. Too easy? Try a thicker band or standing with feet farther apart.

7. Tabata 3: Resistance Band Row

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart on top of a large resistance band. Hold one end in each hand, and hinge at hips with flat back to lean torso forward at about 45 degrees.

B.

Keeping core engaged and elbows in tight, row ends of resistance band up to ribs.

Sets:

2

Reps:

45 seconds on; 15 seconds off

8. Tabata 4: Medicine Ball Rotational Slams

A.

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball or slam ball in both hands. Raise it directly overhead, pivoting to the right.

B.

Hinge at the hips and knees to slam the ball down onto the floor, catching it low if it bounces back up. (If the ball doesn't bounce, reach down to grab it off the floor without rounding back.) Immediately stand and pivot to the left, slamming the ball on the opposite side. Repeat.

Sets:

2

Reps:

45 seconds on; 15 seconds off

Mistakes and Tips:

If this is too hard, don't rotate; slam the ball directly in front of feet instead. Too easy? Add a hop before slamming the ball.

9. Tabata 4: Medicine Ball Mountain Climbers

A.

Start in a high plank position with both hands on the outside of a large medicine ball. Form a straight line from head to heels. Drive the left knee in towards chest, keeping hips square.

B.

Switch, driving the right knee in towards chest. Repeat, alternating driving each knee into chest.

Sets:

2

Reps:

45 seconds on; 15 seconds off

Mistakes and Tips:

If this is too hard, slow down or place hands on the floor/mat instead.

10. Cool-Down

A.

Child's Pose: Kneel with knees wide hips and sitting on heels. Stretch arms forward on the floor, allowing the stomach to hang between thighs. Hold here, or walk hands to the right and left to stretch lats.

B.

Cat-Cow: Start in a tabletop position, shoulders over hands and hips over knees. Inhale to drop stomach, arch back, and reach head and tailbone high for cow. Exhale to drop head and tailbone, rounding spine towards the ceiling for cat. Repeat slowly.

C.

Hip Opener Right/Left: Start in a high plank. Step the right foot outside of the right hand to come into a low lunge. Shift back and forth here to open up the hip. Then reach the right arm up toward the ceiling, then slowly drop that elbow towards the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

D.

Chest Stretch: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Interlace fingers behind back, and stretch arms back to open chest.

E.

Back Stretch: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Interlace fingers in front of chest and flip hands to press palms forward, rounding back and dropping head forward [shown].

Sets:

1

Reps:

Do each move for 30 seconds.

Comments

Add a comment