How to Build Biceps without Weights?

At some point in every gym goers life, they have more than likely wished for bigger biceps. Bigger guns to look good in a t shirt, or to compliment any chest and torso development they have achieved while topless.

Which is why the bicep curl has been seen as the grand daddy of bodybuilding and hypertrophy training. A bicep pose is the epitomé of a person showing off how much size and strength they’ve gained throughout their training.

However, this is an article about building biceps without weights. So, gone are the bicep curls (inside or outside of the squat rack), gone are the variations like hammer curls, preacher curls or cheat curls.

In come the calisthenics movements, the pulling motions and the need to find a low hanging branch to bust off a few pullups.

Training the Biceps

It is worth remembering that the function of the bicep is to pull things in towards you, they are helped by the back (namely the latissimus dorsi) when they do this.  To put it really simply, any movement where you pull something in towards, or you pull yourself towards something else, is back and biceps.

The Exercises

Now that we know the function of the biceps, we know how to train them. We need to pull things into us, curl them up towards our shoulder etc.

The Pullup/Chin up

As explained above, to really get to the biceps we need something where we can pull a heavy weight using the biceps themselves.

Using our own bodyweight means that we have to get all the stabilising muscles in and around the bicep working well too. Making this a fantastic exercise to base your no-weights-bicep-workout around.

A chin up is where you turn your hands so that they are facing towards you. This adds more emphasis on to the biceps themselves rather than on to the back muscles. So for extra bicep stimulation and growth, try the chin up variation rather than the pull up (with hands over).

How to –

  • Find a bar thats overhead, or a tree branch like mentioned above.
  • Grab on to it with a grip thats wide enough for your build.
  • For a pull up, have your palms facing away from you. For a chin up, have them facing you.
  • Going from a dead hang, to an active hang, you then engage your scapula and pull yourself up so that you are looking over the bar.

These aren’t easy. If you get good at them you will get stronger and bigger.

Resistance Band Curls For Biceps

The chin up can act as your compound movement for biceps, this one will help you to isolate them.  To do them –

  • Take a resistance band, put on end under your foot and the other in the palm of your hand.
  • Let your arms hang by your side.
  • Keep your posture upright.
  • Curl the band up so that your palm is facing the front of your shoulder.
  • Return the hand back down to by your hips.

You now have an understanding of the function of the biceps and how to train them with or without weights. Try these and some variations to see how you go.

James Wilks

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