If you thought a biceps workout was just a “man thing,” think again. The biceps run along the front of the upper arm, and it’s important to strengthen it for both men and women.
Building stronger muscles helps promote bone health. For women, this is especially important because their bones can weaken during menopause, due to hormonal changes. Biceps exercises also bring performance advantages to activities such as swimming, as well as team sports such as netball and basketball.
Are you ready to train biceps? We’ve picked four simple moves that only require a set of dumbbells. To add one to your gym session, do four sets of eight to 10 reps (excluding isometric biceps, which you hold for 30 seconds). Take a 30-second break between sets.
When deciding how heavy dumbbells to use, a rule of thumb is to choose a weight that results in feeling the difficulty of the last two repetitions of any set – you shouldn’t be able to do more than the custom reps.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, holding the dumbbells by your sides, palms facing forward and core intertwined. Keep your upper arms close to your body and bend your elbows to raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. Pause at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and the dumbbells at your sides, this time with your palms facing your body. Keeping your upper arms close to your body as you bend the left elbow, raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, squeezing the biceps as you go. Then lower the left dumbbell and repeat with the right. Keep alternating the arms.
Moving around is a surefire way to help strengthen the muscles so they stay under stress for longer. For this exercise, start as if you were about to do a biceps curl, then bend your elbows to raise the dumbbells, and pause when your elbows are at 90 degrees. Hold this position for 30 seconds – if you can – then back down to the start. Take a 30-second break, then repeat this sequence for four times.
This movement works your shoulders as well as your biceps. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding the dumbbells by your sides, palms facing inward. Raise your arms out to the sides, making sure your back stays flat and your core engaged. Keep your elbows slightly bent as you raise your arms, and stop when the dumbbells reach shoulder height. Stop here, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start.