So you want to build your biceps…
Maybe you’ve been lifting weights for a while and want to try a new approach.
Perhaps growth has stalled and your arms need new stimulus to grow.
That’s where isometric exercises come in.
Isometric exercises can jump start growth in your biceps, leading to bigger, fuller arms.
So what are the best isometric bicep exercises?
And can you perform them without any equipment?
Keep reading to find out…
What Are The Best Isometric Exercises For Biceps?
Before we get to the actual exercises, we want to briefly explain what isometric exercises are and how the differ from other types exercises.
Isometric Exercises Are a Different Type of Workout
Traditional weight training exercises involve moving a weight through space and time for several repetitions (reps). Isometric exercises are different in that they involve keeping the muscle contracted and fixed in a position for a period of time.
This forced contraction causes considerable trauma (the good kind) to the muscle which in turn will bring about new muscle growth and size. For isometric bicep exercises, this means contracting (or flexing the muscle) and holding the biceps muscle for a given period of time.
You can do this simply with a dumbbell. If you don’t have one, this set of adjustable dumbells is excellent.
Perform a regular bicep curl, but when the muscle is at maximum contraction, squeeze the muscle and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly lower and repeat on the other arm.
This can be done at the end of your normal arm routine or you could incorporate some of the exercises into an isometric bicep blast!
You could also do this with a straight barbell or an EZ curl bar.
Just remember to squeeze hard and don’t raise the weight up too high.
Here are the best exercises:
Single Arm Hang
The single arm hang is an isometric exercise that will put incredible amounts of tension on the bicep. This will tear muscle fibers and increase muscle growth and size.
With this exercise you don’t need any equipment. Just your bodyweight and a bar to hang from. You can use a pull up bar at the gym, home, or even a climbing frame in the playground.
If you’re looking for a good pull-up bar, we reviewed and compared the best ones in this article.
- To do the single arm hang, grab the bar with an underhand (supinated) grip. Your wrists and forearms should be facing you.
- Hang from the bar until you are steady – then pull yourself up until your arms are at 90 degrees. You should already feel the contraction in your biceps.
- To start the isometric hold, quickly reach across to grab your left wrist with your right hand so that this is now the only hand holding onto the bar.
- Keep the right angle as you use your forearm, biceps and back to keep the body stable.
- Hold this position for ten seconds and then rest.
- Repeat for a total of five times for an awesome pump.
If you somehow find this too easy, try adding some weight. A vest with weights works great.
The Isometric Towel Hold is one of the best exercises for biceps because you don’t need any gym equipment. All you need is a regular bath towel.
- To start, twist your towel round so that it is tight like a rope.
- Step onto one end of the towel with your right foot, holding on to the other end with your right arm. Your left foot should be behind you with your weight to the front of your body. Remember to keep the tension and twist in the towel. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
- Contract your bicep until you feel tension building in the towel. Keep your palm facing up but imagine pulling your wrist into your chest.
- Hold at 90 degrees for 30 seconds.
- To increase the stretch, move your left foot forward and pull up to 45 degrees. Do this for another 30 seconds. Try not to lose tension while switching position.
- Switch sides.
- Do this twice for each side. That’s one set.
Bonus Tips: You can increase resistance by stepping closer to the end of the towel with your free foot. Similarly you can reduce resistance by stepping away.
Don’t hold your breath while you do this or you might pass out!
Isometric ‘Prison’ Bicep Exercise Without Weights
This is one of the easiest and best isometric exercises to work your biceps.
- In a seated position, hold your right elbow against your side with the arm bent at right-angles, palm facing up.
- With the left arm, push down on your wrist to add resistance.
- Contract your muscles and squeeze hard. Try to imagine your bicep is a balloon and you’re attempting to blow it up.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then switch arms.
This simple exercise can be done anywhere – the train, the car or at home. Now you can have amazing biceps without having to use any equipment.
A word of caution.
Isometric exercises are hard. Your body will be sore afterwards due to the new stimulus. Remember to drink plenty water around workouts and consume enough protein to help you recover.
And if you want to work on the other side of your arms, check out the best isometric tricep exercises.