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Top 7 Dumbbell Exercises for Biceps for Strength & Shape

    biceps dumbbell exercises

    Guide to the best bicep workouts with dumbbells

    I’m a big fan of free weights, especially dumbbells, and for working my biceps I almost always use them. In my opinion, if somebody does not use dumbbell exercises for biceps training he makes a huge mistake.

    This simple workout equipment let us perform various, very efficient movements to work the upper and lower parts of the arms. With the help of bicep dumbbell exercises, we can strengthen and tone all bicep muscles.

    • The main advantage of using dumbbells is that most of the exercises allow us to perform the full range of motion. Just think about dumbbell curl and barbell curl. If you do it with a barbell, you cannot do a full motion because of your legs.
    • We can also handle heavier weights in case we want to improve the strength of the arms or want to grow the muscle mass.
    • Finally, I think bicep dumbbell exercises are better because they need more control. Hence, several other muscles are activated in order to keep the stability of the body and to perform the move accurately. It is especially true for the shoulders and core muscles.

    I do not say that barbell exercises or ones with cable are ineffective; I just want to point out that dumbbell ones are maybe more efficient.

    Here is the list of the best and most popular bicep exercises with dumbbells.

    Best biceps dumbbell exercises

    1. Regular biceps curl for size & strength

    It is the one that everybody knows, and it is essential for arm workouts. However, there are several variations that work the muscles from a different angle and the different parts of it.

    The most common one is the simple standing biceps curl when you lower the dumbbells next to you, and your palms are opposite to each other. You can make variations such as lifting the weights at the same time, or alternating them or you can even lift only one for the reps you want then you go to the other arm.

    Here is a tutorial how to do it properly and what you should focus on.


    You can also do seated dumbbell curls by sitting on a bench with the mentioned combinations. This practice may need more power and concentration since you cannot cheat with using other muscles. That is why it is even more valuable.

    Here is how to do it.

    Another alternated biceps curl is when you do it on an incline bench which works the muscles from a different angle. In my opinion, it is useful to target the lower part of the biceps muscles. Each variations are the best bicep exercises for mass.

    Here is a incline dumbbell curl tutorial.

    2. Seated concentration curl to make them bulky

    This bicep dumbbell workout is pretty good to make your biceps bulky. It is very important to avoid using your body to pull the weight up, do the motion slowly and precisely. There is no need to use large weights, use one that is comfortable to use, but provides enough resistance.

    Here is how to do it.

    3. Preacher bench curls to shape the lower part

    This one is typically done by doing barbell or with machines, but I still vote on dumbbells. In order to get the results, you want from this exercise never utilize your upper body to lift the weight. Concentrate on the muscles, do the motion slowly and hold the weight for a sec before lifting it up. You can use one or two dumbbells, but I prefer one. It is excellent for working the lower section of the biceps.

    Here is how to do it.

    4. Dumbbell hammer curl for your lower arms

    It is very similar to the simple curl, but your palms face to each other during the whole motion. This exercise is beneficial to strengthen your forearm as well. You should include it in your arm routine.

    Here is how to do it correctly.

    5. Supine biceps curls for variety

    It is another dumbbell bicep workout to train your arms from a different angle. For it, you will need to lay on the bench.

    Here is a guide.

    6. The Zottman Curl

    And, finally here is a drill which makes your forearms and biceps grow big and strong. Also, your grip which will help you to get better in such exercises like deadlift or pull ups. You hit two birds with one stone.

    Biceps workout at home with dumbbells

    Now you know what the most beneficial moves are, so let’s put them together into a bicep workout routine. I usually pick 3 exercises and do 3 sets of each of them, with 8-12 reps. That is enough for me but watch the video below for an example bicep routine that you can do at home.

    How to have a biceps workout for mass?

    If your primary goal is getting bigger arms, you need to lift heavier weights. This way, you need to lower the number of repetitions to 6-8 and have 3-5 sets depending on your level.

    But, there are two crucial points you should not forget. Firstly, always keep the correct form for each exercise to avoid injuries and get the benefits. Typically, too much resistance goes to the expense of execution. The other is have enough rest (36-120 hours) so that the muscles have time to recover from the hardened workout.

    How to have biceps workout at home without equipment?

    Well, you can do bodyweight rows by placing a broomstick on two chairs, but a pull-up bar (a doorway or a freestanding) is a much better and affordable option. Chin-ups and pull-ups are great bodyweight exercises to develop your biceps besides strengthening your back, shoulders, and core.

    If you are interested in such bodyweight training, I have put together a list of exercises for biceps here, and for a complete calisthenics arms training guide here.

    What about tricep dumbbell exercises?

    The hand weights are beneficial strength training equipment to target that muscle group. Extension and kicks are great for size and definition. Here you can learn about these tricep exercises.


    In my opinion these are the best dumbbell bicep exercises for building muscle mass and shaping. I always prefer free weights to other equipment. You can do almost all these moves with cable or resistance band, if you are a beginner or you do not like weight training. If you have any questions or tips, feel free to share below.


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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