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5 Best Bicep Exercises (20-Minute Dumbbell Bicep Workout At Home)

The BEST bicep exercises you can do at home to build bigger and stronger biceps! Standing dumbbell curls, hammer curls, crossbody concentration curls — the 5 best bicep exercises with dumbbells in a 20-minute biceps workout at home. A complete bicep burnout to build strong, defined biceps.

Want to build bigger biceps at home?

Add these five bicep exercises to your at home arm workouts.

Or dedicate one training day a week to just the bicep muscle group with this 20-minute biceps workout at home.

An efficient dumbbell bicep workout to BUILD STRONG, defined arms and biceps!

Cross body concentration curl with dumbbells | dumbbell bicep workout at home

Bicep Build and Bicep Workouts FAQs

How Do You Build Bicep Muscles At Home With Dumbbells?

I believe in the progressive overload principle to build muscle. Progressive overload is when you gradually increase the: weight (lift heavier), frequency (days per week), and number of repetitions (note you can also increase weights and decrease number of repetitions). These changes in your strength training routine challenge your muscles in different ways to build strength.

What Are The Best Bicep Exercises?

The best bicep exercises hit both heads of the bicep (there’s a short head AND a long head) from all angles. In my opinion, the most effective bicep exercises are: concentration curls, hammer curls and supine grip curls.

Which Is Better: Hammer Curls Or Supinated Curls?

Hammer curls work more arm muscles than standard bicep curls. Thus, hammer curls have been known to build bicep muscles faster. That said, there are several bicep curl variations: hammer curl, reverse curl, Zottman curls. Each variation requires a slight grip change to work a slightly different head of the bicep muscle. The best way to train biceps is to include a variety of these curl variations into your overall training routine.

Standard Bicep Curl with Dumbbells | Best Bicep Workouts

20-Minute Dumbbell Bicep Workout At Home

The five best bicep exercises to build muscle at home with a set of dumbbells — no fancy gym equipment required!

Workout Equipment:

Medium set of dumbbells. I suggest anywhere from 8-25 lbs. I used 15-20 lb dumbbells for this bicep workout.

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Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Bicep Workout video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Bicep Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest)
  • Repeat All 5 Bicep Exercises for Women x3 Sets

Workout Outline

  1. Standing Dumbbell Curl
  2. Alternating Hammer Curl and Double Hammer Curl
  3. Alternating Crossbody Concentration Curl
  4. Alternating ½ Curls
  5. Isometric Bicep Hold Burnout and Pulse

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Bicep Workout

5 Best Bicep Exercises

Standing Dumbbell Curl

Targets: The long (outer) head of the biceps, and the short (inner) head of the biceps.

One of the best bicep exercises to make the bicep muscles pop.

how to do standard bicep curls with dumbbells (supine grip curl)

How To Do A Standard Bicep Curl With Dumbbells

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, and shoulders out for your ears with shoulder blades pulled down, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height as you exhale.
  3. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Alternating Hammer Curl And Double Hammer Curl

Targets: The long head of the bicep as well as the brachialis (another muscle in the upper arm located at the elbow joint) and the brachioradialis (a forearm muscles).

This exercises works multiple arm muscles at once.

how to do alternating hammer curls with dumbbells

How To Do Hammer Curls

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in towards each other (hammer curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, alternate single hammer curls on each side, squeezing your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height as you exhale.
  3. Perform a single arm hammer curl on the right arm, then the left arm. Then perform a double arm hammer curl, curling both weights towards your shoulders.

Crossbody Concentration Curls

Targets: The biceps brachii, as the name implies this move concentrates on the biceps muscles.

A great isolation exercise to build the bicep muscle.

how to do crossbody concentration curls for bigger biceps

How To Do Crossbody Concentration Curls

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in towards your body (knuckles out).
  2. Starting with your right arm, curl the dumbbell across your chest towards your left shoulder in an arch formation, keeping it close to your body. Think of drawing a half circle with the dumbbell.
  3. Repeat this same crossbody curl motion on the left arm.

Note, these concentration curls are done standing, but you could always perform true concentration curls from a seated position with the upper arm pressed against the leg (inner thighs) to better isolate the bicep muscle or using a preacher bench. This bicep exercise was found to be the best bicep exercise to increase bicep muscles; outperforming cable curls, barbell curls, chin-ups, preacher curls, incline dumbbell curl and more (American Council on Exercise).

Modification for Seated Concentration Curls:

  1. Sit on a chair or bench, take a wide stance with your legs, and hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing towards your opposite knee.
  2. Press your right elbow into your right thigh, then curl the dumbbell up towards your right shoulder. Focus on keeping your upper arm and shoulder in place.
  3. Complete desired number of reps on the right arm, then repeat on the left arm.

Alternating ½ Curls

Targets: Increased time under tension strengthens the biceps muscle and increase biceps hypertrophy (muscle growth).

how to do half bicep curls with weights

How To Do Alternating Half Bicep Curls

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, perform a half bicep curl. Pause at the top to hold both arms at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Then, alternate by lowering the right arm through your full range of motion. Then return to the half curl isometric hold as you lower the left arm full-range before returning to a half curl isometric hold.
  4. Squeeze or flex your bicep muscle to curl the weight back to 90 degrees with each rep.

Note, with isometric holds the shoulders tend to creep up into the ears. It’s important to keep the shoulder blades pulled down. 

Isometric Bicep Hold And Pulse

Targets: The biceps in a contracted position.

Keeping constant tension on the biceps during this isometric hold is meant to burnout or fatigue the bicep muscles to the point of failure (and that’s how true muscle growth happens).

bicep workout with dumbbells isometric bicep hold burnout

How To Do An Isometric Bicep Hold And Pulse

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, perform a half bicep curl; holding both arms at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Continue to hold dumbbells at 90 degrees while squeezing your bicep muscles to pulse the dumbbells up one inch and down one inch.

Note, with isometric holds the shoulders tend to creep up into the ears. It’s important to keep the shoulder blades pulled down. 

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6 comments
  1. AMAZING. Unbelievably compact workout. I was able to get in a very necessary sweat in such a short amount of time. Very simple moves but so effective.

  2. Thank you so much for another fabulous session of blessed bananas! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the workouts and schedules you post, it takes the indecisiveness out of the equation. Please keep up the awesome work!

    • Way to go Kate! So glad you liked this Bicep Workout! Yes, I’m a big fan of having a plan (helps take the guesswork and easy option to bypass a workout out of the equation)! Keep up the great work! -Lindsey