Top 12 Tricep & Bicep Workouts at Home with Dumbbells
Hey, fitness enthusiasts, newbies, and anyone ready to pump it up! Our busy lives can often push gym visits to the wayside in an endless cycle of procrastination. However, don’t let the groan-inducing prospect of venturing to the gym stop you from getting an exhilarating workout. Instead, don’t set foot outside your door and transform your living space into your personal fitness haven. This guide is about the best tricep & bicep exercises you can tackle at home with just a set of dumbbells. Full disclosure: You will need an incline bench for a few of these workouts. So, gear up and get ready to flex those guns!
Key Rules and Definitions for an Effective Dumbbell Workout Regimen
Before getting too involved in any workout regimen, there are a few important rules and definitions to keep in mind. That’s especially true if you're just starting out or looking to optimize results.
Here are some essential guidelines and terms to be aware of as you sculpt those biceps and triceps:
- Warm-up is Essential: A good warm-up ensures your muscles are ready to work. Moreover, a dedicated post-workout stretch can amplify muscle growth.
- Pronated vs. Supinated Grip: Understanding the difference between these grips is important for targeted muscle engagement. A pronated grip (palms facing away from you) and a supinated grip (palms facing towards you) can activate different sections of your biceps and triceps, allowing for a more comprehensive workout.
- Variety is the Key: Doing the same routine repeatedly can lead to plateaus. Rotate and change your exercises roughly every six sessions to keep those muscles guessing and growing.
- Breathe to Succeed: It might sound basic, but the right breathing techniques can be a game-changer. Especially when lifting heavy, the "bracing" technique – imagining you're about to be punched in the stomach – can enhance your performance.
- Short and Long Heads of the Triceps: The triceps' long head is situated inside the arm, the lateral head on the outside, and the medial head in between. Though many focus on the biceps for arm size, around two-thirds of your upper arm's muscle mass belongs to the triceps.
- Rest and Recover: Don't hurry between your sets. Giving yourself a slightly longer break of 3-4 minutes can allow muscles to recover fully. This means you can go harder and heavier in the subsequent set, driving muscle growth.
Dumbbell Chest Workouts
Achieving a chiseled chest with pronounced pecs might seem like a task that needs an arsenal of gym equipment. But you'd be surprised! With just a pair of dumbbells and some strategic exercises, you can sculpt a solid chest right from the comforts of your home.
1. Dumbbell Incline Squeeze Press
Focus: This dumbbell chest workout at home offers consistent tension throughout the entire movement. Moreover, this exercise maintains steady tension on your pecs, aiding in muscle development.
To do it:
- Set the incline to a 45° angle and a 30° angle if you are older.
- Begin by laying on the inclined bench
- Raise your arms up above your chest and squeeze the dumbbells together to activate your chest muscles.
- With the dumbbells squeezed together, lower them downward to your chest. Make sure you maintain that squeeze throughout the movement.
- As you do your reps, keep the weights together on the way up and together on the way down.
Pro tip: Keeps things nice and slow and under complete control with your chest contracted.
Sets: 1-2 | Reps: 8-12
2. TriCon Dumbbell Bench Press
Focus: Utilizes a unique combination of rep speeds and holds to engage the chest muscles from multiple angles, allowing for a comprehensive workout. TriCon Training offers an efficient approach, even when using lighter weights.
To do it:
- Begin with 3 explosive reps, ensuring control on the way down to optimize muscle activation. Explode them up as hard as you can for central nervous system activation.
- Transition to 3 reps with 10-second isometric holds.
- Conclude with 3 reps executed at a deliberate pace: 4 seconds on the ascent and 4 seconds on the descent.
Total Reps: a Tricon rep is 9 total reps every time.
3. Mid-line Bench Press
Focus: Targets the inner chest muscles, emphasizing a powerful contraction, particularly in the inner chest. Midline bench presses give you a stronger chest and shoulders.
To do it:
- Begin with a neutral, supinated grip.
- Press the dumbbells upwards, pushing away from the body. As you reach the top of the movement, bring the dumbbells together to the midline of your body to maximize contraction in the inner chest.
If you're keen on mastering the form for these three exercises, you can watch Live Anabolic's detailed video tutorial.
Sets: 3-4 | Reps: 6-12
Arm Dumbbell Workouts
For those looking to flaunt impressive guns or simply aiming to fortify their upper arm strength, bicep and tricep workouts with dumbbells are perfect for that.
4. Dumbbell Supinated Biceps Curl
Focus: This biceps workout at home exercise is not only great for enhancing muscle definition but also for improving overall upper body strength. The underhand or supinated grip focuses consistent tension on your biceps while also working the forearm muscles due to the wrist's rotation. For an added twist, supinating biceps curls can enhance the exercise's range of motion.
To do it:
- Stand straight, holding dumbbells with a neutral grip.
- Curl them towards your shoulders, rotating your forearms so palms face your shoulders.
- Pause and return slowly to the starting position.
- They can be done alternating or simultaneously, seated or standing.
Sets: 3-4 | Reps: 8-15
5. Dumbbell Reverse Biceps Curl
Focus: This is another arm workout at home that is extremely effective at developing your biceps. Performing it emphasizes the long head of your biceps brachii and strengthens those oft-neglected forearm extensor muscles, which are crucial for elbow health.
To do it:
- Grasp dumbbells with an overhand grip, knuckles outwards.
- Curl the dumbbells to your shoulder’s outside, keeping wrists straight.
- Pause, then return slowly to the starting position.
- These can be performed seated or standing, but use lighter weights for this variation.
Sets: 2-4 | Reps: 10-15
6. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
A more joint-friendly choice due to its neutral grip, the hammer curl accentuates the long head of the bicep and the crucial forearm muscle, brachioradialis.
To do it:
- Stand upright, dumbbells by your side, wrists neutral.
- Curl until the dumbbell's end is near your front shoulder.
- Pause, then lower back down slowly.
- For a challenge, try an offset grip on the dumbbells.
Sets: 2-4 | Reps: 12-15
7. Zottman Biceps Curl
Focus: A blend of the supinated and reverse curl, the Zottman is a full-package exercise for your biceps and forearms, ensuring a thorough workout.
To do it:
- Stand upright with dumbbells by your side, upper back engaged.
- Curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders, rotating your forearms to face them.
- Pause, rotate your palms outwards, then lower the dumbbells with wrists neutral.
- Start with lighter weights till you're comfortable with the movement.
Sets: 3-4 | Reps: 8-15
There is a full breakdown of these three techniques over at Set For Set's article on dumbbell biceps exercises.
8. Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Focus: This triceps workout at home targets the long head of the triceps, placing it under a significant stretch.
To do it:
- Position yourself on a bench, flexing your shoulder and holding the dumbbell in a hammer grip, with your elbow angled approximately 45° from your torso.
- Descend the dumbbell by bending the elbow.
- Upon reaching an ample stretch, revert your elbow to its initial position. This action engages your triceps.
Tip: Utilize your other hand to stabilize the elbow in action. This routine complements press exercises or other extension movements. Also, note that you can use your free hand to support the working elbow. This exercise pairs well with pressing or other extension workouts.
You can follow along and check your form with this video.
9. Tricep Kickbacks
Focus: While not maximizing efficiency throughout the entire range of motion, this exercise initiates full triceps contraction. The extension and adduction of the upper arm give the long head a distinct activation compared to other dumbbell moves.
To do it:
- Train one arm at a time, with your upper body parallel to the ground, using a surface for support with your free hand.
- With your elbow tucked in and shoulder extended, start with the dumbbell positioned directly under your elbow.
- Extend your elbow, contracting your triceps firmly while keeping your upper arm adducted and extended.
- Slowly revert the dumbbell to its starting position.
Note: Though kickbacks don’t provide an extensive stretch to the triceps, they can be a beneficial addition when combined with other comprehensive exercises. Follow along with this video to perfect your form.
10. Dumbbell-Assisted Push-Up
Focus: Enhanced range of motion to intensify demands on triceps and chest.
To do it:
- Start by grabbing two dumbbells and placing yourself in a plank position with one hand on each dumbbell.
- Slowly descend, allowing your chest to go lower than usual due to the elevation from the dumbbell
- Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.
Pro Tip: Adjust to a narrower grip to place even more emphasis on the triceps. Watch the exercise demonstration here: Dumbbell-Assisted Push-Up Video
Dumbbell Shoulder Strengthening Exercise
Nothing beats a good shoulder workout at home! The right exercises, like the Deep Swimmer’s Press and the Rapid-Fire 10 Minute Shoulder Routine, can elevate your deltoid definition and enhance arm mobility.
11. Deep Swimmer’s Press
Focus: Engaging the shoulders throughout an extended range of motion, with a special emphasis on the front deltoid head.
To do it:
- Stand upright with feet positioned hip-distance apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with palms facing out. • Keep your elbows snug against your body and curl the dumbbells until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. This serves as your initial position.
- Elevate the weights towards your shoulders, then press them overhead. As you execute this, rotate your hands so that at the top, your palms are front-facing.
- Invert the action by bringing down the weights, rotating your palms back towards your body and returning to the half-curled starting stance.
Total Reps: Do 8-10 or 12-15.
12. Quickfire 10 Minute Dumbbell Shoulder Routine
This tutorial by MIDAS MVMT is one of the best 10 minute workouts that intensify and fire up the shoulder’s deltoid muscles. Catch the routine here: 10 Min Dumbbell Shoulders Workout Video
Advantages of Home Workouts and Building Muscle: The Takeaways
Home workouts, especially with dumbbells, offer a convenient and effective way to build muscle. Beyond aesthetics and money savings, increasing muscle mass has proven health benefits.
A UCLA Health study highlighted a connection between muscle building and a reduced diabetes risk. So, by embracing these simple exercises, you're not just working towards a toned physique but also investing in long-term health, all from the comfort of your home.
How do you train biceps and triceps with dumbbells?
By performing exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions using various grips and angles. There are a ton more, so watch videos or see what fitness instructors recommend.
Is it OK to train biceps and triceps together?
Yes, many people combine them in a single workout for a comprehensive arm session.
How can I build my biceps and triceps at home?
Using dumbbells and bodyweight exercises, focus on movements that target these muscles, ensuring proper form and consistency.
Can you build biceps with just dumbbells?
Absolutely! Dumbbells are versatile tools that can effectively target and build bicep muscles.
Kickstart Your Fitness Journey Today!
The path to a fitter, healthier you begins with the first rep. With the workouts listed above, you're equipped to sculpt and tone from the convenience of your home. But remember, while the exercises are essential, so is the right gear to support your journey.
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