15 Best Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells for Mass & Strength

In this article, we are going to tackle the best Biceps exercises with dumbbells, which is often underdeveloped in those who lack a complete understanding of the biceps brachii. It’s time to develop some huge bicep peaks and thickness.

Dumbbells are among the most versatile and effective bicep muscle building tools available, yet so few people take full advantage of their benefits, believing they’re only good for weight loss. What they don’t realize is that workouts designed to build muscle also result in burning fat.

Biceps Brachii Muscle (Anatomy)

The biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (the Bicep gets its name from the two heads).

Heads” simply means the muscle has different attachment points. In the case of the biceps, it is two, hence the ‘bi’ in bicep.

Your biceps brachii has two heads: short (inner) and long (outer). The short head is located along the inner side of the anterior upper arm and the long head is located along the outer side of the anterior upper arm.

The long head comprises the majority of the biceps’ peak, whereas the short head sits on the inner side and contributes to the biceps’ width.

To be anatomically specific, the long head and short head both originate at the scapula, but along different points.

  • The short head originates from a projection on the scapula called the coracoid and runs alongside the long head on the inside of the arm.
  • The long head originates from a cavity in the scapula called the glenoid.
bicep anatomy

The biceps is one of four muscles alongside the brachialis, brachioradialis, and coracobrachialis muscles that make up the upper arm.

How To Build Bigger Biceps with Dumbbell

Both bicep heads function together in most workout activities, it’s important to understand how to differentiate the two during exercise, so you can develop both heads to the greatest potential. 

If you want full development of your biceps, you need to stress them with adequate tension through their entire range of motion, so you get maximum eccentric contraction (stretching tension) and concentric contraction (contraction tension).

Benefits of Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells

Many advantages come from incorporating dumbbells bicep workout into your daily workouts:

  • Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells require more balance than barbells or machines. This increased balance requirement builds athletic performance and can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
  • It requires more muscular control than barbells, enhancing kinesthetic awareness.
  • Dumbbells allow unilateral training (training one limb at a time), increasing core stability for athletes and improving any muscular imbalances created by the lifter.
  • Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells allow for greater joint safety and stabilization. Through greater recruitment of the stabilizing muscles, dumbbells allow the joints to move naturally within their range of motion by creating more joint stability.
  • The Dumbbells are safer than other weight tools. For example, you can simply drop a heavy set of dumbbells after a brutal set of bench presses instead of having the barbell pin you to the bench.
  • Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells affords a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout and also enhances potential growth.
  • Dumbbell variations of barbell exercises allow for a greater range of movement (ROM), leading to an increased number of recruited muscle fibers.

Biceps exercises with dumbbells are perfect for the at-home exerciser with limited space. Do you have a small apartment? Do you not have a garage? A set of Power Block Dumbbells take up only 2 square feet of space and still allows for full-body workouts.

15 Best Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells

Here are 15 Best Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells that help to built stunning bicep.

Since these exercises are dumbbell-only, you can easily integrate these movements into an existing program or perform them separately if you’re doing your biceps workout at home with dumbbells.

1. Standing Dumbbell Curls

Standing dumbbell curl works the biceps muscles at the front of the upper arm and the lower arm’s muscles, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

Doing the standing arm curl, you build strength in the upper arm and learn to use your arm muscles correctly, bracing with your core muscles.

Dumbbell Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps brachii.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand straight, keeping feet shoulder-width apart, grab a pair of dumbbells by your side. The dumbbells should not be touching your body.
  2. Your palms should be facing upwards. Take up the slack by bending the elbows slightly. Tension should be on the biceps.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbells up as far as possible.
  4. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Tips
  • Do not swing the body back as you curl up the weight.
  • Do not let the dumbbells touch your body.

2. Dumbbell Reverse Curl

Dumbbell Reverse curl is a variation of the standard bicep curl where the barbell is gripped palms up. The motion is the same, but the change in grip allows for specific arm muscles to be targeted.

The reverse bicep curl is performed by contracting the biceps with your palms facing down using a barbell, dumbbells, or EZ-curl bar.

Dumbbell Reverse Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: biceps brachii and brachialis.

Secondary: brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand straight, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand grip and arms should be fully extended.
  2. Keeping your upper arms stationary and your back straight, curl the weights up towards your shoulders, exhale as you do so. Use only your forearms for this movement.
  3. Continue curling the dumbbells up until they are at shoulder level and your biceps are fully contracted.
  4. Return to the starting position in a smooth arc, inhale as you do so.
Tips
  • Rotate the forearms slowly, excessive-velocity may cause issues within the elbows or wrists.
  • Using a slow eccentric of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind-muscle connection.
  • Be aware of proper weight and body mechanics at all times during this exercise.

3. Incline Dumbbell Curls

Incline Dumbbell Curl is an excellent full-range exercise to build bigger muscles and also add variety to your Arm training. This bicep exercises done on an incline bench with a pair of dumbbells.

Incline Dumbbell Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm muscles.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit on an Incline Bench with a pair of heavy dumbbells.
  2. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder levels and then curl back to the starting position.
  3. At the top of the movement, contract harder and let your palms face yourself.
  4. Let the palms face each other at the end of the movement.
Tips
  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Go full range to build longer biceps.

4. One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

The one-arm dumbbell preacher curl is a variation of the preacher curl exercises, uses dumbbells and single arm movements for better control and targeting of the bicep muscles.

One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Adjusting the preacher bench seat so that your arm is level with the top of the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell on one arm with an underhand (palms up) grip and rest your arm against the bench with your arm extended fully down.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbell up towards your head, keeping your arm on the bench at all times until you reach the top position.
  4. Hold for a count, squeeze and isolate your bicep.
  5. Repeat the desired number of repetitions, then change to your other arm.
Tips
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.
  • As a general rule, always hit the weakest arm first. In most cases, this is the left arm.

5. Standing Dumbbell Preacher Curl

The standing dumbbell preacher curl is an alternative to the seated dumbbell preacher curl. There are some notable differences like the benches and weights which are used.

It is usually performed by using a regular bench and a dumbbell, but the seated version is usually performed with a fixed Dumbbell.

Standing Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Muscles Involved

Primary: Biceps.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the bench to an incline level so that you can comfortably rest your arm down the back of the headrest.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in one arm and extend it over the bench so that your forearm and tricep are rested upon the bench.
  3. Hold onto the top of the bench with the opposite arm to stabilize your body and to balance the weight.
  4. Slowly curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulder, isolate the bicep and squeeze your muscle.
Tips
  • Make sure to keep your upper arms flat on the bench during the exercise to eliminate cheating.
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.

6. Seated Dumbbell Curl

The Seated Dumbbell Curl is an excellent variation of a dumbbell curl. It allows extra bicep contraction, Build overall muscle mass in the biceps, and defines them more.

In Dumbbell Curls, the natural full range of motion of the biceps is enhanced. Therefore, it provides a better bicep contraction. Must add this workout in your biceps exercises with dumbbells arsenal.

Seated Dumbbell Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps brachii.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit on the edge of a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length.
  2. Now curl the arms, bringing them to maximum contraction, and let the palms face you as you do so.
  3. Lower the dumbbell through the same arc and extend your arms fully.
  4. Repeats the desired number of sets.
Tips
  • Remember to exert while you exert.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Bending forward and leaning forward cuts the range of motion.

7. Concentration Curl

Concentration Curl is the best exercise to build a biceps peak.

This exercise should be a part of your arms race, as peaked biceps are very impressive to look at. This Biceps exercises With dumbbells is done standing bent at the torso. Resting the upper arm against the thigh prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.

Concentration Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm muscles.

Execution Technique
  1. Bend down at your torso holding a dumbbell in your hand and resting your other arm on your knee.
  2. Curl your arms to the maximum and twist your wrist so that the little finger is at a lower level than the thumb.
  3. Curl the dumbbell back to start position.
  4. Repeat the desired number of sets.
Tips
  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Go as heavy as possible but keep form strict.

8. Hammer Curl

The Hammer Curl is a classic weightlifting exercise that targets the biceps and forearms.

When it comes to building muscular hypertrophy and strength, the hammer curl exercise is one of the most popular exercises among bodybuilders and regular weightlifters.

Hammer Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Brachialis, brachioradialis.

Secondary: anterior deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.
Tips
  • Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
  • Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.

9. Dumbbell reverse-grip concentration curl

Reverse grip dumbbell concentration curl is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your arms, forearms, and upper body.

It is an isolation exercise that targets the biceps brachii and brachioradialis muscles.

Reverse Grip Dumbbell concentration curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit on a bench with your legs apart, grab a dumbbell in one hand (say left hand).
  2. With your left arm almost fully extended, rest your elbow against the inside of your left thigh. Pronate your wrist so that your palm faces backward.
  3. Exhale as you curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulder. Hold and squeeze your biceps for a count of two.
  4. Inhale as you slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Repeat with your right arm.
Tips
  • Don’t lockout at the bottom of the exercise.
  • Keep your back straight and your upper arm still.

10. Cross Body Hammer Curl

The cross-body hammer curl is a dumbbell exercise that targets the biceps, brachialis, and forearm muscles.

Rather than lifting the weights directly in front of the body, you lift them across the torso. Throughout each rep, the wrists remain neutral. This helps isolate the brachialis muscles on each arm.

Cross Body Hammer Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Brachioradialis.

Secondary: Brachialis, Brachialis, anterior deltoid and forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl the left dumbbell upward, across your body, and toward your left shoulder.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights under control.
  5. Repeat with your right arm and continuously do alternating arms.
Tips
  • Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
  • Neither lean back as you lift the weight nor lean forward as you lower it.

11. Dumbbell Reverse Preacher Curl

The reverse preacher curl is a variation of the standard preacher curl targeting your brachialis muscle, which lies deeper than your biceps brachii in the upper arm.

The brachialis muscle helps the flexion of elbows, while the wrist flexors act as stabilizer muscles, undergoing contraction. The reverse bicep preacher curl may be performed by a barbell, dumbbells, or EZ-curl bar. But Dumbbell Reverse curl better provides stability and the full range of motion.

Dumbbell Reverse Preacher Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Brachioradialis.

Secondary: Biceps Brachii, Brachialis.

Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the preacher bench seat so that your arms are level with the top of the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell on each hand with a pronated (palms down) grip and rest your arm against the bench with your arm extended fully down.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbells up towards your head, keeping your arms on the bench at all times until you reach the top position.
  4. Hold for a count, squeeze and isolate your biceps.
  5. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.
Tips
  • Make sure that you perform the movement slowly with controlled repetition timing.
  • Do not lock out your elbows at the bottom of the reverse curl, as this can cause a torn bicep and takes tension off the muscle.
  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight.

12. Standing wall curl

Standing wall curl is the best variation of standing dumbbell curl because this exercise is done with Strict form. To perform cheat-free wall curls, you’ll need an open wall and a set of dumbbells. Grab a weight that’s lighter than you use to perform a standard curl.

Dumbbell Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps brachii.

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis, anterior deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your back to a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms down by your sides with your palms facing in.
  2. Curl the dumbbells upwards, rotating your wrists so that your palms face up.
  3. Make sure your elbows don’t move forward. Pause at the top of the move
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Repeats the desired number of sets.
Tips
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.
  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight.

13. Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl

Must add this workout in your biceps exercises with dumbbells arsenal. It is a very effective exercise that targets the brachioradialis, brachialis, and bicep muscles.

Using a hammer/neutral grip targets more of the brachioradialis and brachialis than the biceps. It is a great variation of the preacher’s curl.

Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Brachioradialis.

Secondary: Biceps Brachii, Brachialis.

Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the preacher bench seat so that your arms are level with the top of the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral/hammer grip and rest your arm against the bench with your arm extended fully down.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbells up towards your head, keeping your arms on the bench at all times until you reach the top position.
  4. Hold for a count, squeeze and isolate your biceps.
  5. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.
Tips
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.
  • Do not lock out your elbows to prevent a bicep tear.

 14. Zottman Curl

The dumbbell zottman curl is one of the best variations of the standard bicep curl. The Zottman curl utilizes different hand positioning at different portions of the lift.

The first portion, the regular curl, focuses on bicep strength. The second lowering portion, the dumbbell reverse curl, allows you to overload the forearms. You can perform Zottman curls with both arms at the same time, or alternate the arm you lift with.

Zottman Curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps brachii, brachioradialis.

Secondary: Brachialis, and forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides.
  2. Keep your palms facing up as you curl the weights up to your shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement.
  3. Slowly rotate your grip so your palms are facing downwards. Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position using an overhand grip.
  4. When the dumbbells are close to your thighs, again turn your hands while returning to the starting position.
Tips
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.
  • Don’t go heavy. Choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form.

15. Standing Dumbbell Drag Curl

The dumbbell drag curl is a variation of the dumbbell curl and is used to build bicep muscles. While less popular than the standard dumbbell bicep curl, the dumbbell drag curl is an extremely effective bicep exercise.

The dumbbell drag curl is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body; thus you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.

Dumbbell Drag Curl

Muscles Worked

Primary: Biceps brachii,

Secondary: Brachialis, brachioradialis  and forearm.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent and your abs are drawn in.
  2. Grab the dumbbell with a double underhand (supinated) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the Dumbbells upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
Tips
  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight
  • Perform this exercise in a slow controlled manner for best results.

Dumbbell Bicep Exercises Training Tips

Training Volume (Sets and Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

Sets

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Reps

The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6-8 reps with heavy load
  • 8-15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

The load should bring your to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective. 

Dumbbell Bicep Exercises Workout Samples

If your long head is lagging, and you really want to build a big bicep peak, you can prioritize it, but still don’t forget about your short head. 

Dumbbell Bicep Workout #1:

  1. Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 8-15 reps.
  2. Standing Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Dumbbell Bicep Workout #2:

  1. Drag Curl: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
  2. Dumbbell Reverse Curl : 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  3. Standing wall curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  4. Cross-Body Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Dumbbell Bicep Workout #3:

  1. Seated Dumbbell Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Dumbbell Concentration Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  3. One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
  4. Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Conclusion

For anyone interested in Biceps strength and gain muscle, these Best biceps exercises with dumbbells are highly recommended. It not only allows for targeted muscle development, but also provides strength. It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details. If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy working your Biceps!

Stay Fit, Live a Happy and Healthy Life
VIDEO ILLUSTRATION OF THE BEST DUMBBELL BICEPS EXERCISES | BICEP WORKOUT WITH DUMBBELLS
Biceps Exercises at Home (Dumbbell Only) | Home Bicep Workout

Leave a Comment