Complete Dumbbell Bicep Workout

by Sarka-Jonae Miller Google

About Sarka-Jonae Miller

Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.


You can use a weight machine or a barbell to exercise your biceps, but dumbbells give you the added benefit of being able to work one arm at a time, ensuring you tone both arms equally. With dumbbells only, you can do a variety of exercises to get an entire biceps workout. Perform one to five repetitions of each exercise to increase maximal strength, 8 to 12 reps to make your biceps bigger or 12 to 25 reps for endurance training. Aim to complete two to three sets of each exercise.

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

The alternating dumbbell curl is a classic biceps exercise using two dumbbells. To perform an alternating dumbbell curl, hold the dumbbells straight against your sides with your palms facing inward and your arms straight. Flex your elbows and twist your forearms as you lift the weights until your palms face your shoulders. Options for this exercise include sitting on an exercise bench or standing up. You can also perform this exercise by raising both arms together instead of alternating.

Dumbbell Incline Curl

The dumbbell incline curl is a biceps exercise similar to the alternating dumbbell curl, but sitting on an incline bench changes the angle of your arms. This exercise emphasizes the long head of the biceps, which is one of the two muscles of the bicep. Sit on an incline bench with your back against the pad and the feet on the floor to do an incline curl. Hang your arms straight at your sides, with your palms facing inward, then bend your elbow and twist your forearm until your palms almost touch your shoulders. Either alternate arms or raise them both together.

Standing Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The standing dumbbell hammer curl is similar to the bicep curl, but the forearms remain in a fixed position to hit the biceps at a new angle. Hammer curls also tone your forearms. Stand up with your arms at your sides and palms facing inward. Raise the dumbbells as you bend your arms and keep your palms facing each other through the entire movement. Like other biceps exercises, you can do hammer curls simultaneously or alternating.

Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is a biceps exercise that uses the back on an incline bench for arm support so that you can lift heavier weights. By placing your elbow against the top of the seat as you stand behind the bench, you stabilize your arm. To perform the preacher curl, start with your arm straight on an incline bench, with your palm facing the ceiling and holding a dumbbell. Incline your upper body forward so that your abdomen touches the top of the bench and grip the bench with your other hand. Bend your elbow to lift the weight toward the ceiling. If you do not have access to an incline bench, try concentration curls. The concentration curl uses the same movement as the preacher curl, but you do not need an incline bench. For the concentration curl, sit on a chair or bench with your legs apart and rest your elbow against your thigh for support as you do curls.

Photo Credits:

  • Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or