Who doesn’t want bigger biceps? It’s the first muscle people think of growing when they start working out. In the gym there’s plenty of equipment to do this. But what are the cheapest ways to do it at home?
Cheapest equipment to grow biceps at home? The cheapest way to train you biceps is with a workout partner and a towel. However, a resistance band or adjustable dumbbells will be more convenient to use and more consistent in resistance.
Why are those the best and what are some other options? Keep reading to find out.
One of the most versatile pieces of equipment in a home gym are resistance bands. While you can do many things with resistance bands, we’re just focusing on biceps here. And biceps are no exception to what you can train with bands.
41” loop bands are your best bet for training biceps. This type of band is super versatile, easy to use and lasts long. Resistance bands are also really cheap if you compare them to other gym equipment.
They’re not only useful for simple bicep curls but you can do way more with them.
If you’re just looking for bigger biceps, dumbbells are always the first thing everyone thinks of. And for good reason; dumbbells are an awesome tool for any muscle building and general workouts. There are plenty of bicep exercises you can do with dumbbells so you won’t get bored quickly.
While a full set of dumbbells isn’t cheap, a single pair won’t break the bank. But is a single weight dumbbell enough? Maybe not. That’s why adjustable dumbbells are a great solution. Cheap adjustable dumbbells are available for relatively little money compared to a full set of dumbbells.
If you’ve got some water or even milk jugs around, you can turn them into makeshift dumbbells. Fill up the jugs with however much water and/or sand as you require. Just make sure you have two jugs that weigh the same in the end.
Now you can choose; Just use the jugs as they are as dumbbells. That can be a bit difficult if the shape isn’t suitable to hold easily. To remedy this, you can tie something like a rope or dog leash around the jug. Make sure to keep it short so it doesn’t swing too much or it’ll be difficult to use.
Can this work? Sure, you’ll just have to work around the difficulties of this setup. Is it optimal? No, the other options are going to be easier to use. However, if you don’t want to spend any money, it’s a decent option.
Pull up bar
Pull ups don’t only target your biceps but also many back muscles. In fact most pull up variations are more focused on the back than biceps. That doesn’t really make it bad for biceps. There are some variations (underhand close grip) that makes you use your biceps much more than others.
Why I put it in here is because pull ups really help you to integrate your newfound bicep strength into your whole body. You can purely train biceps for a little bit but after a while, you’ll start running into problems if your don’t strengthen the muscles around them. If on muscle is too strong in the chain, you can hurt the ones around it more easily because they can’t handle the stress.
Pull ups do a great job of strengthening most of the muscles around the biceps. Besides that, a thicker back does a lot to make you look bigger, even if you can’t see it in the mirror.
Partner + Towel
I’m not calling your (workout) partner cheap but I’m guessing you’re not paying him/her. Towels aren’t very expensive.
It’s pretty simple. You hold the ends of a towel in both hands and let the middle part hang down. Your partner sits on their knees, grabs the part that hangs down and resists your movement. This means your partner gets a triceps workout at the same time you get a bicep workout.
It works reasonably well but there are a few drawbacks. The first one is that you need your workout partner to be around to do this. This isn’t always the case. The second problem is that the resistance depends on your partner. It’s hard to adjust and can be different every time.
But, everyone has a towel so it’s completely free.
Tip: If you got small children, let them hang off the towel while you hold it. They’ll like it and you’ll have much more consistent resistance.
It’s an awesome name that makes you think it’s just a marketing gimmick that doesn’t actually help you. Despite the cheesy name, it’s a lot more than that.
This cool little tool can help you really focus on your biceps. It’s a metal strip that goes across your belly and then folds back so you can rest your elbows on it besides your torso. This keeps your elbows in the same place , while you can still move your arms up and down. This means you take all other muscles except your biceps out of the movement.
Being able to really isolate your biceps, means you can put all your energy and focus into getting the most amount of perfect repetitions you possibly can without being distracted. This means better and faster gains.
It mimics a preacher curl but actually has a bit better range of motion. For a preacher curl you can also sit down and put your elbow on your knee or use a bench. A bench is much more expensive. I’m personally not a fan of using your knee. It doesn’t feel like a properly targeted exercise but your experience might be different.
You can combine this equipment with any of the other things mentioned in this post except the pull up bar. Resistance bands and dumbbells are the easiest but water jugs and a partner can work too.
If you’re wondering what it looks like, click here to find it on Amazon.
How to train biceps
To really grow biceps you need to think of two things;
- Make your biceps stronger
- Make sure you get a lot of training volume and repetitions
Higher repetition programs focus more on muscle mass than absolute strength. This will work to grow your biceps. Try a 5 x 25 program for a month and you’ll see your biceps are significantly bigger than in the beginning.
That said to get the really big guns, building strength is also a good idea. Because stronger biceps can move more weight. So when you’re stronger, you can then do the higher volume program at a higher weight which means bigger gains.
Besides weight and volume you can also vary the exercises. Even with a single pair of dumbbells you can do many different bicep exercises. Check out this video that explains more.
Can you only train biceps? Of course you CAN the question is if you SHOULD. No, it’s not a good idea to only train your biceps while neglecting everything else. Muscles are made to work together. Training a single muscle doesn’t only look a bit strange, it can also cause muscle imbalances and even injuries down the road. Training your whole body but focusing on biceps is ok.
Favorite home gym tools
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.