Bodyweight Bicep Exercises Without Equipment (Weights OR Pull Up Bar)

By on May 23, 2014

single bicepPeople say that you can train your entire body using only bodyweight moves, but what they don’t tell you is that there’s a caveat: for the vast majority of bicep and lat moves you need a chin-up bar. That’s find if you own one, but if you can’t install one for whatever reason (i.e. your partner won’t let you) or if you’re travelling for months and want a full body workout you can do in a hotel without a bar, then you’re a bit screwed. You’ll come home with decent pecs, abs, triceps, shoulders and legs… and withered pathetic biceps.

Fortunately you’re reading this blog, where amazing and incredible things can happen. As it turns out, I know a few bicep exercises you can perform without a bar or weights and I’m feeling generous enough to share them here… Read on and you can train your biceps literally wherever you are. Which is the dream surely…

Bodyweight Bicep Exercises Without Equipment

Half Curls/Elbow Curls: This weird looking exercise is the closest thing there is to an ‘official’ way to train your biceps without a bar. This is pretty much the ‘press ups of the biceps world’, but because it’s weird and awkward it hasn’t quite caught on. That said, any port in a storm!


To perform this movement, you start by lying on your side with your legs bent in front of you. Now you’re going to keep the arm you’re lying on straight, and tuck that hand underneath your legs against the floor. Now the idea is to pull against your leg, curling your arm as you do, and lifting your upper body upwards. If you feel a burn then its working. Repeat on both sides.

Curl-Grip Press Ups: Again it’s not exactly a graceful looking exercise, but it’s enough to get the job done.

Basically here you’re going to use a press up but with your arms particularly wide apart (wider than shoulder width) and your fingers pointing outwards. Now you’re going to perform press-ups as normal, and what you’ll find is that you are training the ‘negative’ strength of your biceps as you go down.

Dynamic Self-Resistance/Static Contraction: Two other methods you can use are to either pull down on your own arm with your free hand (dynamic self-resistance) or to simply tense your biceps for a count (static contraction). You can also tense your biceps while miming the motion of a curl in order to train through the entire range of motion.

These are interesting concepts, but to be honest I’m not sure how useful they can be. A lot of websites claim you can train your whole body using just self-resistance and static contraction, but having experimented with doing precisely that myself, I’d argue that you can’t…

Here is one more that I invented myself…

Sitting Knee Curl: Sit either on a chair, or flat with your legs extended out in front of you. Now tuck your hands under your knees or your hamstrings, and using your biceps pull your upper body down towards your knees. Provide resistance by ‘fighting’ your own  biceps using your core to try and keep yourself straight.

Bicep Workout Using Household Items

Okay so the above exercises provide you with some awkward moves you can use to train your biceps. Great! Except they’re not the most effective and if you have a few items around the room that you can use these may be more useful.

For instance if you grab the edge of a table or even a kitchen countertop, you can then lean backwards and pull yourself back up straight with your biceps (almost like a very small ‘chin up’). To make it harder you can provide resistance through your feet (even using them to keep the table in position).

“Remember: anything heavy can be curled!”

If the table is big enough, you can also hang underneath the table and perform ‘reverse push ups’ (chin ups with your feet extended in-front of you and heels on the floor).

Oh and remember: anything heavy can be curled! A great example is a suitcase stuffed with anything weighty you might have lying around. Or fill a metal dustbin with water, grab the edge with an overhand grip, and curl that. Hell you can even get your girlfriend to lie across your arms and curl her! After a week of this she’s sure to cave and let you get that chin up bar…

Moral of the story? There’s always a way to train biceps! No excuses…

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About Adam Sinicki

Hi there! My name is Adam Sinicki, I’m an entrepreneur, psychology graduate and amateur bodybuilder interested in fitness, self improvement, technology and transhumanism. I run an online business (NQR Productions) which allows me to live the lifestyle I want: getting time to hit the gym and to work on my projects and apps. Stick around and I’ll be sharing my experiments and adventures in brain training, bodybuilding, productivity, business and technology.

  • Excellent article.
    Very creative and useful ways of training indoors – no equipment needed.

    Well done, you gave me some ideas!

  • Bowerman Winburn

    Hi. If you want to be prepared for this check Unflexal website. I know you’ll find good solutions for your workouts.

    • Callihan Hopwood

      yeah