Bicep Calisthenics | Best Exercises & Arm Workouts

Man engaging in bicep calisthenics movement

Most people may think there’s no better way to build arm muscle strength than lifting heavy weights and doing countless curl variations. But, we beg to differ.

Adding calisthenic exercises for biceps to your workout routine is a great way to enhance muscle endurance, burn fat, and get toned.

Calisthenics is a niche form of training that has been growing in popularity over the past decade. The reason for this is that it requires little to no equipment and can be done in a home gym or outdoors.

If you’ve been thinking about why and how to start doing calisthenics, read on to uncover the benefits of bicep calisthenics exercises and which ones you should try.

What are Calisthenics Bicep Exercises?

Man with tattooed biceps

Bicep calisthenics are exercises you can do without relying on anything but your bodyweight. These exercises can be performed at various levels of intensity and work to build your strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Lifting weights will get you the biggest and baddest guns out there, thanks to the high levels of resistance it applies to that specific muscle group. But, if your goal is to build muscle strength and burn lots of calories, then calisthenics workouts are for you.

As the name suggests, bicep calisthenics involves bodyweight exercises that primarily target the biceps. However, many exercises may work various muscles in the upper or lower body, too.

These exercises require a lot of movement and energy. Therefore you burn calories faster and get better muscle definition in your arms.

Benefits of Calisthenic Bicep Workouts

Man on a bar outside

A bicep calisthenics workout engages the biceps as well as several other muscle groups depending on the movement.

There are also plenty of other bicep calisthenics benefits. Some of these include:

  • The workouts feel more natural (i.e., there’s no external strain or pressure from equipment)
  • It is cardio and strength building rolled into one
  • It requires no equipment (making it quite budget-friendly)
  • The world is your gym (you can work out from anywhere)
  • It burns fat faster and increases muscle definition
  • It increases your movement speed and agility
  • Easy to implement into a beginner calisthenics workout routine
  • Builds upper body strength and ability to perform more advanced calisthenics movements

Best Calisthenics Exercises for Biceps

You may have heard of a couple of these bicep calisthenics exercises. But when it comes to the types of calisthenics workouts you should do, this highly depends on your fitness level and your goals.

Basic calisthenics is excellent for beginners as you’ll use your whole body and zero equipment. This focuses on using your bodyweight to create tension in your muscles without the risk of tearing. 

Man doing a push up plank variation

But as you build more muscle strength and endurance, you’ll have to adjust your routine to incorporate more HIIT workouts and perhaps start using gym bars or weights.

Here are some essential calisthenics exercises for building your biceps:

Pull-ups

Man at the top of a pull up movement

For these, you’ll need a pull-up bar or a sturdy frame/bar/machine. If you’re not in the market to buy one, you can always find these bars in recreational facilities, such as community parks. Hence pull ups can be considered playground calisthenics.

In addition to working your biceps, pull-ups are excellent for strengthening your back muscles, forearm strength, and improving your pulling movements. They also improve grip strength and overall muscle strength.

Chin-ups

Some people still confuse chin-ups and pull-ups, and it’s not surprising given the similar movement patterns in each exercise.

Chin-ups use shoulder extension and an underhanded grip, whereas pull-ups use an overhand grip.

Chin-ups, therefore, focus more on your biceps than pull-ups. This may be why you’re able to do more chin-ups. In both cases, you will need some bar or support beam—whether it be in a gym, at home, or in the park.

Muscle-up variation outside in nature

Tip: If you wish to take the chin-up or pull-up a step further, try the muscle-up. You’ll work your biceps in addition to your shoulders, triceps, chest, and back muscles.

Inverted rows

Inverted rows (also known as horizontal pull-ups) are excellent for targeting back muscles. But these also effectively increase shoulder mobility and strengthen the biceps.

You’ll need a bar or support beam to pull on, like chin-ups and standard pull-ups. This exercise is great as it allows you to use your bodyweight for resistance, and you can alter the intensity level by changing the angle of your body.

You can also use rings for calisthenics to do your inverted rows. These versatile pieces of equipment are lightweight and can be set up just about anywhere. In addition to strength training, using these gymnastics rings in your bicep calisthenic exercises also improves mobility and flexibility.

Tip: To place more tension on your biceps, try using a supinated grip. By this, we mean having your hands face towards the body.

Pull up static holds

woman doing pull up

Static holds are calisthenics biceps exercises that require you to be completely still. When doing a static hold exercise like the static hold pull-up—you create and maintain muscle tension.

As you hold your position, this maintained tension causes muscle breakdown, which increases muscle growth when the fibers repair. This is also known as muscle hypertrophy.

Calisthenic bicep exercises like the pull-up hold and chin-up hold are excellent static movements that put a lot of pressure on your arms, thus developing your biceps.

Reverse grip push-ups

Reverse grip push up calisthenics bicep exercise

This calisthenic workout for biceps is a variation of the standard push-up, meaning you can alter your hand placement to activate the bicep in a pushing exercise.

To do the reverse grip push-up, you must place your hands in reverse position while leaning forward. The pushing-up movement engages your biceps to stabilize your elbow joints and maintain an isometric contraction.

The reverse grip push-up is an excellent bodyweight bicep exercise as it requires no gym equipment, bars, or gymnastics rings. You can do these using the floor, on the edge of a couch, or while standing against a wall.

Is the Calisthenics Bicep Workout for You?

Man doing dips on paralettes

Ultimately, this decision is down to you. It depends on your physical goals, fitness level, and how patient you are. If you’re seeking fast results in muscle growth, then between calisthenics and weights, you should probably go with the latter.

But if you’re looking to gradually grow and tone your biceps naturally and torch calories, you cannot go wrong with calisthenics arm workouts.

Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, you can spice up your calisthenic bicep workout by adding some weighted calisthenics exercises into your routine.

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