The Ultimate Bicep Workouts Without Weights | Bicep Bodyweight Exercises
While living in Sierra Leone, I struggled to find bicep exercises.
I’d curl buckets of water and cement cans, but the equipment was awkward and didn’t really work.
But then my dad mailed me a book with bicep workouts without weights full of bicep bodyweight exercises.
Learning the exercises was difficult with only pictures and brief descriptions – that’s why I decided to share this article.
It contains all the bicep bodyweight exercises I used (and a ton more!).
Plus, I’ve included tutorial videos for each exercise.
In the apocalypse, you likely won’t have access to dumbbells and barbells, but you will have access to everything these workouts require!
25+ Bicep Bodyweight Exercises
1. Leg “Barbell” Curl (start at 1:22)
A great exercise when you have no other options.
You control the resistance with your leg – it’s not easy to learn and it never feels quite natural, but if you can get past that you’ll benefit from a great exercise.
2. Doorway Curl
If this exercise is too easy, then lean back more. Imagine someone lifting a hand to help you up, but they make you lift yourself entirely on your own.
The farther back your center of gravity, the harder you have to pull yourself up.
3. Towel Curl
Great exercise you can do practically anywhere.
If you don’t have a towel, you have bigger problems…
4. Inverted Row
Love being able to do inverted rows anytime, any place.
If you’re at home, place a broom on top of two chair seats and do rows from between the chairs.
You can also do inverted rows off the side of a counter or sturdy table.
5. Close-grip Inverted Row with Iso-Hold
Make sure to hold at the top and reach your peak contraction.
It might be pretty weak at first, but continue building on your hold time second by second.
6. Elevated Feet Inverted Row
The higher you elevate your feet, the harder the compound exercise becomes.
7. Weighted Inverted Row
You can place a weight on your chest, like the man in the video, or you can wear a vest/backpack with weight.
If you can elevate your feet high enough, you can even add weight by wearing a dip belt.
Chin-ups are different than pull-ups. Watch this video to learn the basic differences and technique.
9. Negative Chin-up
Negative chin-ups are great for beginners and experts alike. Focusing on the eccentric portion of exercises can help you bust plateaus and master new exercises.
If you’re struggling to perform basic chin-ups and pull-ups, this is a great exercise to get you started!
10. Isometric Chin-up Hold
A bit more difficult than the inverted row iso-hold.
11. Close-Grip Chin-up
You can do a reverse grip, neutral, or overhand grip for this exercise.
Even though it’s not an iso-hold exercise, try to squeeze at the top of the moment and lower yourself slowly.
12. One-Hand Assisted Chin-up
You can use a weighted-pulley system like this, or you can use a towel as well.
13. Weighted Chin-up
Add weight slowly. Don’t start trying weighted chin-ups until you can knock out at least 10 clean bodyweight chin-ups.
Pull-ups have slightly less bicep emphasis compared to chin-ups, but they’re still a great exercise for blasting your guns and back.
15. One-Arm Pullup
Not an easy move! Move on to this once you’ve masted chin-ups, weighted chin-ups, and one-hand assisted chin-ups.
16. V-Grip Chin-up
The V-Grip bar helps, but you can perform this exercise without it. You can even do this exercise with a sturdy towel.
17. Lateral Chin-up
This exercise really makes your biceps burn. Not only are you perform chin-ups, but you’re performing lateral movement with a slightly longer hold.
18. Towel Chin-up
Towels can help give you a more comfortable grip, as well as give you a chin-up bar you can more practically reach (as seen in the video).
19. Head Bangers
This exercise looks a lot easier than it actually is. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it immediately.
Build up your strength with other chin-up variations and you’ll be able to execute head bangers in no time.
20. Archer Pullup
The archer pull-up is a great exercise to help you begin to learn the muscle-up.
In a way, it’s a one-hand assisted chin-up, as well.
21. Reverse Pushup
The movement is awkward, but you don’t need to be as graceful as this guy.
Just focus on getting your center of mass over your arms and legs, allowing you to pushup with your biceps rather than your triceps.
22. Pseudo Planche
Another expert calisthenics biceps exercise. This is an overall arms and core builder, but it will take some time to progress to the pseudo planche.
23. TRX Bicep Curl
Now, you likely won’t find a TRX rope at your house or in the apocalyptic wasteland. But you can just use a normal rope.
24. Resistance Band Curl
My dad sent me a pair of resistance bands while I was in Africa, and they worked great.
Not always an available option, but a great alternative if you can find them.
25. Bicep 21’s
An intense exercise that takes your biceps through the full range of motions and peak contractions.
This is probably my favorite of the bicep workouts without weights.
Other Bicep Exercise Alternatives
I thought I’d share some of the stranger alternatives I used for bicep workouts while living in Africa.
- Cement Can Curls – empty 2 large cans of all contents. Fill with cement. Stick a pole in both cans. Mix with water. BAM! Dumbbells.
- Water Bucket Curls – fill large buckets of water for weight. More water = more weight. Wrap a towel around the handle for a more comfortable grip.
- Human Resistance Curls – hold your arm straight out. Have someone hold your hand while you try to pull your bicep towards your face. Make sure they don’t let go…
- Ladder Chin-ups – lean a ladder against a house, tree, etc. Wrap a towel around one of the steps and use it as a chin-up bar.
- Tree Branch Chin-ups – you really need a nicely positioned branch for this. If the branch isn’t perfect, fix it up. Cut off annoying twigs and branches and smooth out the part where you put your hands.
- Door Chin-ups – simply use a door as your chin-up bar. It sucks because your feet drag up the door, but the dragging adds additional resistance.
Hopefully, these examples can spark your imagination!
For more inspiration, check out this article: 44 Random Places to do Pull-ups…
Ultimate Bicep Workouts Without Weights
By using the above bicep bodyweight exercises, you can build incredible bicep workouts without weights!
Below, I’ve outlined two different bicep workouts that I’ve used.
Feel free to use them, but as you get more comfortable with the exercises, build your own perfect workout.
Playground Biceps Workout
You can find everything you need for these exercises at most local playgrounds.
For the “weighted” exercises, I usually just wear a backpack with heavy items inside.
Inverted Rows (to failure) – 3 sets
Chin-up (8-10 reps) – 3 sets
Isometric Chin-up Holds (to failure) – 2 sets
Weighted Inverted Rows (8-10 reps) – 3 sets
Weighted Chin-up (6-8 reps) – 3 sets
Isometric Chin-up Holds (to failure) – 2 sets
This workout will blast your biceps! As you continue building strength, continue to add more weight to the “weighted” exercises.
Instead of adding more reps, try to stick within these ranges and build strength rather than endurance by increasing the weight.
Home Biceps Workout
While living in Africa, I didn’t have a pull-up bar at the house. I’d use the roof, thick plumbing, and even a ladder to get my pull-ups in.
And to do inverted rows, I’d just stick a broom on top of two chair seats and do the rows between the chairs.
Towel Chin-up (8-10 reps) – 2 sets
Elevated Feet Inverted Row (to failure) – 3 sets
Negative Chin-up (8-10 reps) – 3 sets
Lateral Chin-up (to failure) – 2 sets
V-Grip Pull-ups [I’d use a towel] (8-10 reps) – 3 sets
Close-Grip Inverted Row with Iso-Hold (8-10 reps) – 3 sets
I love being able to do this workout practically anywhere: house, hotel rooms, friend’s house, etc.
Don’t neglect to train your biceps!
No excuses! You can perform these bicep workouts without weights any time, anywhere.
No matter your circumstances, continue to train and continue to grow stronger.
Your survival depends on it…