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Dumbbell Bicep Exercises

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There’s a greater range of motion when using dumbbells, and these dumbbell bicep exercises take full advantage of it. Dumbbells allow for you to do a specific lifts that are impossible when using a barbell: concentration curls and cross-body curls for starters. We’ll outline a few dumbbell bicep exercises below and offer some pointers for how to most effectively incorporate them into a routine.

Single-Arm and Cross Body

The beauty of dumbbell workouts is there’s no way for one arm to completely overcompensate for the other. Unlike the barbell, if one of your arms is much stronger than the other, you’re going to learn real quickly. One benefit that becomes the most obvious when you begin dumbbell training with your biceps is the range of motion. Single arm dumbbell preacher curls and concentration curls, these are both exercises that allow you to lower a little further or curl a little higher. A few of our favorite techniques that are available for dumbbells that you can’t do on barbells are cross-body curls and alternating curls. The combination of greater range of motion and additional isolation makes dumbbell bicep exercises a staple in any arms workout.

Bicep Grip

Most of the fitness programs on Daily Spot will, at some point, include dumbbell bicep curls. We mentioned that something as small as squeezing with your pinky instead of your index finger could affect the isolation of your biceps. This highlights the importance of paying attention to grip. Even something as small as keeping your wrists parallel to your body during a curl, versus perpendicular, will alter the targeted part of the bicep. Pay close attention to your trainer’s cues when performing the workouts. Small adjustments can make a big difference!

Examples of Dumbbell Bicep Exercises:

Take a look at some of our Dumbbell Bicep exercises below. Note that we've also included select cable exercises, as these generally perform the same movement as dumbbells, but may offer lower-impact alternatives. If you don't have a kettlebell, you can use dumbbells (or vice-versa)

Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Sit on bench with legs slightly spread. Place elbow on inside of knee. Curl the weight while contracting your biceps, raise until dumbbell is at shoulder level.

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Kettlebell Cradle Curl

Stand shoulder width and bring a kettlebell to chest height. Press the kettlebell on the sides using your palms. Lower the kettlebell down to hip height, and then raise back up in a curling motion.

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Incline Dumbbell Curl

Sit on incline bench, keeping elbows close to your torso. Rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing outward. Curl the weights while contracting your biceps, raise until dumbbells are at shoulder level.

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Reverse Incline Dumbbell Curl

Sit on backward on incline bench, keeping elbows close to torso. Rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing outward. Curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Raise dumbbells to shoulder level.

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Standing Cable-Bar Curl

Stand at cable machine. Grab a cable bar with hands shoulder-width and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the bar until your biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder level.

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Standing Dumbbell Curl

Stand with a dumbbell held in each hand, arms fully extended and palms facing forward. Simultaneously raise dumbbells in front of you to shoulder height without rocking your body. Lower the dumbbell and repeat.

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Standing Single-Arm Cable Curl

Stand at cable machine. Grab cable handle with one hand and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the handle until your biceps are fully contracted and the handle is at shoulder level.

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Standing Cross-Body Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Stand with a dumbbell held in each hand, arms extended and palms facing each other. Lift right dumbbell up across body to left shoulder, keeping the palms inward. Lower the dumbbell to starting position. Repeat with other arm.

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Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Sit on preacher bench placing back of arms on pad. Grab dumbbell with one hand and curl it toward your shoulder by contracting your biceps.

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Standing Pose Cable Curl

Stand in the middle of a cable machine with a handle in each hand, arms fully extended at shoulder height. Keep your elbows shoulder height and curl the handles to slightly outside of head. Don't rock your body.

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Standing Cable-Rope Curl

Stand at cable machine. Grab a cable bar with hands shoulder-width and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the bar until your biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder level.

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Related

Barbell Bicep Exercises

These exercises are an absolute staple in any arm workout routine. Barbell Curls, Preach Curls, 21s, all of these barbell bicep exercises can help you get the results that you want. Barbell bicep exercises take out some of the stability that you need when working with dumbbells, so it’s no surprise that people can usually lift more using the bar than dumbbells. You must be mindful to make sure that the extra weight comes only from the additional stability and NOT from using other parts of your body to lift the weight. Don’t start cheating just because you’re using a barbell.

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Bodyweight Bicep Exercises

No weights? No problem. No chin-up bar? Err….no problem. Nowhere at all to do a pull-up or curl yourself up? Ok, now we got a problem. When we talk about bodyweight bicep exercises, we’re not going to recommend to put a bunch of weight in two shopping bags and curl it. That’s too hacked together for us to seriously endorse. Instead, we’ll repurpose some of the workouts that you can do in the gym at home. In this case, it comes down to one staple: pull-ups.

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