Many exercisers, especially young males, want bigger biceps. The biceps are the muscle on the front of your upper arm and are responsible for flexing your elbow, supinating your wrist and flexing your shoulder. The majority of biceps exercises are performed using free weights or strength-training machines. If you don't have access to this type of equipment, you can still get an effective biceps workout at home using a towel and your body weight.
Two-Handed Isometric Curl
An isometric exercise involves creating maximal muscle tension against an immovable object. Take a long towel and stand on the center. Grasp one end in each hand and hold the towel so that your arms are bent to 90 degrees. With your elbows tucked into your ribs, contract your muscles as hard as you can against the towel. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then relax. Rest for a moment and repeat two or three more sets.
Pullups are usually thought of as an upper-back exercise, and while the latissimus dorsi muscles are strongly involved, your biceps also get a terrific workout. Loop a towel over a pullup bar, tree branch or any other suitable overhead anchor point. Grasp a towel end in each hand and then hang at full stretch with your arms extended and feet clear of the floor. Bend your arms and pull your shoulders up toward your hands. Lower slowly and then repeat. This exercise also develops a strong grip and is popular with wrestlers and mixed martial arts, or MMA, fighters.
Single-Arm Isometric Concentration Curl
Concentration curls are a popular bodybuilding exercise and are often used to finish off a biceps workout. Normally performed using a single dumbbell, this exercise can also be performed using a towel. Sit down with your feet flat on the floor and around shoulder-width apart. Place the middle of the towel under your left foot. Lean forward, and with your left elbow braced against the inside of your left thigh, grasp the towel firmly. Ensure your upper arm stays in contact with your leg and contract your biceps against the towel. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then relax. Change arms and repeat.
Rowing movements are effective back builders but also strengthen the biceps. Take a towel and loop it around a sturdy waist-high railing or guardrail. If you do not have access to a suitable rail, you can also loop your towel over the handle of a fully opened door, but make sure the handle is strong enough. Take an end in each hand and then step back so your arms are fully extended. Bend your knees and squat down as though you are sitting in a chair. Bend your arms and pull yourself forward and toward your anchor point. Slowly extend your arms and then repeat. Keep the movement slow and controlled and focus on squeezing with your biceps. The closer your feet are to the anchor point, the more of your body weight you have to lift and the harder the exercise becomes.
- Power Isometrics; David Nordmark
- You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises; Mark Lauren
- The Isometric Exercise Bible: A Workout Routine For Everyone; Anthony Anholt and Jonathan Fesmire
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.