Best Bicep and Tricep Exercises You Can Do At Home
One of the most common questions I get is about how to target specific muscle groups in the body. While most people know the basics (squats, push ups, bicep curls) there are definitely other exercises out there- especially to target your upper body and more specifically, your arms! Having a reservoir of bicep and tricep exercises not only allows you to strengthen your arms but also gives you enough variety to prevent plateaus.
While I’m a huge fan of training multiple muscle groups per exercise (better bang for you buck and all that), there are times when a dedicated arm burn is awesome.
Perhaps you find either your biceps or triceps failing to activate during major exercises, or maybe you’re noticing some imbalances (training unilaterally can help with this!). Or maybe, just maybe, you’re hoping for some killer guns ?
Regardless, using bicep and tricep exercises specifically can have a few advantages:
- Having strong arms helps improve the strength of your bigger lifts
- Strong arms make daily tasks (like carrying kids) a little easier
- Strengthening the anterior & posterior chains separately can ensure that there is less imbalance between the two
Unfortunately, when it comes to training arms, most people stick with the basic exercises: tricep kickbacks, dips off a bench and regular old bicep curls.
While these two exercises are awesome, they’re most definitely not the only ones out there!
Below are a few of my favorite bicep and tricep exercises. Some are more challenging than others so chose ones that suit your skillset.
Regardless though, choosing two to three bicep and tricep exercises will definitely fire up your arms! And as a bonus, you can scroll to the bottom for a quickie arm workout ?
Depending on which exercises you choose, you’ll need a Red Strength Band or a set of dumbbells.
So, grab your gear (I personally like prosourcefit.com for my training swag and if you use code “mamabear15” you can snag some money off!), some water and get to work!
Seated Band Bicep Curl
This exercise is a challenging one and most similar to a TRX bicep curl.
I like to have clients keep their arms held high (at shoulder height) to really hit the biceps and maintain contraction throughout the exercise.
The plus of performing these with a band is that the closer you are to the “sticking point” (the hardest part of the exercise) the more challenging the resistance.
Aim for a couple of sets of 8-10.
These were always a favorite of mine when it came to training triceps! While you can do them with dumbbells or a barbell I personally suggest using a set of dumbbells and ensuring that they are not pressed together.
This forces each arm to work individually and helps you figure out and tweak imbalances in strength or range.
For a fun finisher, perform skull crushers to your chin, your eyes and then slightly above your head to hit various parts of the triceps. Go for eight reps each target point without rest. Repeat twice.
Standing Hammer Curls
There is something that always made me feel like a badass when performing standing hammer curls. Perhaps they’re just such a classic!
Hammer curls are awesome because they also hit your forearms and help boost grip strength. Plus, they keep the shoulders in a neutral position which is crucial for injuries/shoulder issues.
Add in a couple sets of ten at the end of your workout to catch a burn.
Tricep Band Pressdown
I’m sure you’ve seen these at some point with a cable machine- thy really are a great exercise. Make sure to lockout the arms at the bottom and ensure you’re not swinging the shoulders while performing them.
I like to do these in higher volume so two sets with fifteen to twenty reps (depending on which band I use!)
I know, I know, I just stated that kickbacks were so basic. But the grip change on this exercise makes it a bit more unique.
Not only does this exercise work the triceps but the forearms too. Plus, because of the way the weight is held you are going completely against gravity. It’s a challenging one!
Rock out 2 sets of 10 and you should be about done.
Single Arm Bicep Curl
Working muscles unilaterally helps boost strength, prevent imbalances and show you where you’re really weak ?
This is a fun variation because it’s unilateral but also because of the positioning. Keep your elbow high and pull against the resistance, pause at the top and slowly release. The control on this one is a doozy.
Make sure you’re not wiggling that elbow about either!
Add in a couple sets of 10-12 reps to your workouts.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
These can be done with bi or unilaterally depending on what your priorities are.
I like to hinge slightly at the hips as it allows me to focus on triceps a bit more. If you have poor shoulder or thoracic mobility this is a helpful tip!
Finish off a workout with these at two sets for 15 reps.
Diamond Push Ups
This is one of my favorites because in addition to be tricep dominant, it actually works the entire upper body musculature!
That said, you’ve got to have a strong push to complete it. It doesn’t count if your torso goes to sh*t in the middle of the movement.
Aim for two sets for as many reps as possible before form gives out
Bonus: Reverse Grip Push Ups
This one is for the badasses to be honest! It’s actually a variation I’m still working on, but I love it all the same.
These push ups target the triceps but also require a lot of balance and wrist flexibility. They’re hard as heck but something to work towards.
Don’t stick with the same old bicep and tricep exercises. Instead, target your arms in a new way, with new options and step out of your comfort zone.
Below is a mini arm workout you can try if you think you need a boost. It’s a fast workout and it’ll definitely get those muscles burning!
Psst: don’t forget to get in a mini warm up with some light dynamic movements before jumping in!
A1. Close Grip or Diamond Paused Push Ups 2 sets max reps
A2. Standing Unilateral Bicep Curl 2 sets 8 reps per side
B1. Hammer Curl Dropset 2 sets
B2. Skull Crusher Dropset 2 sets
C1. Bi-lateral Overhead Tricep Extensions 1 set to failure
Don’t forget to pin these awesome bicep and tricep exercises you can do at home!
Working your arms doesn’t have to be boring! Switch up your bicep and tricep exercises and target them specifically. Play around with different sets, reps and training style also to bust through plateaus. Have fun, boost strength and rock those arms!
Quick Tip: My go-to store for equipment is Pro Source! They have awesome gear at fair prices.. plus, if you use the code “mamabear15” you save fifteen percent on the best price on the site – win!