Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more

Want the biceps of an Avenger (at least in appearance, if not in Hulk-level strength) without going to the gym?

Same. That’s why we tapped Brandon Adams of SweatZone and Justin Fauci of Caliber Fitness to share their secrets for building rock-solid biceps. As certified personal trainers, they know the ins and outs of muscle development and how to get those gains without hurting yourself (or shredding your clothes Hulk-style).

Here are 21 at-home biceps exercises handpicked by our experts, along with their recommendations to help you customize a routine that works for your goals.

With the exception of bodybuilders going for that maximum-bulge look, most of us want biceps that are long, lean, and firm, with just a hint of curve (especially when flexing 💪😎).

“Your biceps have two heads,” Adams explains, “and you want to make sure they each get enough attention to grow.” If you flex your arm, you can actually feel the two distinct heads of the muscle — even though they look like a single unit.

The moves below target both heads of your biceps muscles, but they also target a number of other muscle groups — like your shoulders, triceps, chest, and back — so they’re perfect additions to a full-body workout routine.

These exercises require only some basic equipment and/or everyday household items. Having access to a resistance band, a pull-up bar, or a barbell will allow you to add some greater variety to your workout.

1. Grocery bag/backpack curl

For this exercise, you’ ll need a sturdy grocery bag (double or tripled up) or a backpack, filled with heavy objects like canned goods or books.

Hold the bag or backpack by the handle at your side. Slowly bend elbow to bring the bag up to shoulder level, then lower it back down. Maintain control and make sure you don’t start swinging your arm.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

2. Broomstick curl

Take a sturdy broomstick and hang a weighted backpack on each side.

Hold the broomstick with both hands and curl it, bending your elbows to bring it up to shoulder level and back down slowly.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

3. Inverted row

This one is a little tricky. You’ll need your sturdy broomstick from earlier, along with two heavy, sturdy dining chairs. Set the broomstick on the seat of the two chairs, with room between the chairs for you to lie down under the broomstick.

Lie flat on the floor under the bar and use your arms to pull your body up, leaving only your heels touching the floor.

Do 5–10 reps for 1 set.

4. Banded curl

Place a resistance band on the floor and stand on it, with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand, with palms facing up.

Bend at elbows, slowly lifting the ends of the band. Then return to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

5. Banded hammer curl

Set up with your resistance band to do a standard curl, but position your hands so palms face each other and thumbs face upward. Keep elbows tight to your sides as you curl.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

6. Banded reverse curl

Set up with your resistance band to do a standard curl, but position your hands so palms face downward (and the backs of your hands face upward). Keep elbows tight to your sides as you curl.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

7. Barbell biceps curl

Grab a barbell or your broomstick with two weighted backpacks (refer to exercise 2). Hold it with both hands (with fingers facing upward).

Slowly bend your elbows upward and then lower back down, maintaining control of the movement and making sure not to swing the barbell.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

8. Reverse-grip barbell curl

Set up to do a standard barbell curl, but hold the barbell with your palms facing downward (and the backs of your hands facing upward).

Maintain control while curling and lowering the barbell, and be sure not to swing it.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

9. Supinated-grip barbell row

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend forward until your spine is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor.

Hold the barbell with both hands with arms straight. Slowly pull elbows back to bring the barbell closer to your stomach, and then extend back out.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

10. Neutral-grip pull-up

You’ll need a pull-up bar for this, or some monkey bars if you’re near a playground. Instead of using the bar on your pull-up bar, you’ll want to use the handles.

Perform a pull-up with your palms facing each other.

If you can’t do a full pull-up, stand on a chair and practice the pull-up motion.

Do 5–10 reps for 1 set.

11. Reverse-grip pull-up

You’ll need a pull-up bar for this one.

Do pull-ups with your hands holding the bar in reverse, with your fingers facing toward you.

If you can’t do a full pull-up, stand on a chair and practice the pull-up motion.

Do 5–10 reps for 1 set.

12. Wide-grip pull-up

You’ll need a pull-up bar for this one.

Do pull-ups with your hands spread farther than shoulder-width apart.

If you can’t do a full pull-up, stand on a chair and practice the pull-up motion.

Do 5–10 reps for 1 set.

Grab your dumbbells and let’s get after it.

13. Dual-arm dumbbell curl

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows up at the same time, then bring them slowly back down.

Do 12–15 reps for 1 set.

14. Alternate-arm dumbbell curl

This move is easy-peasy. Do 12–15 curls with one arm, then switch arms and repeat.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

15. Preacher curl

You’ll need to do a little MacGyvering here and make your own bench. Grab a sturdy dining chair and something solid to lean against the chair to form a ramp (like a large cutting board or a spare piece of plywood, if you have one lying around).

Kneel next to the chair and position your chest on the seat of the chair, placing upper arm on the ramp, with elbow bent and a dumbbell in your hand.

To do 1 rep, slowly straighten your arm out on the ramp completely, then bend elbow to return to the starting position.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

16. Dumbbell hammer curl

Hold your dumbbells straight up and down, keeping your palms facing each other. Curl by slowly bending at elbow and then returning to the starting position.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

17. Inner biceps curl

Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, and elbows bent away from your body (your fingers should be facing you).

To curl, slowly straighten elbows out and rotate arms so your hands are facing inward at the bottom of the move, then return to the starting position.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

These last few biceps exercises require only a kettlebell or two.

18. Kettlebell curl

Hold a kettlebell in one hand at your side. Slowly bend at elbow to bring the kettlebell up to eye level, then return to the starting position.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set, or use two kettlebells to take care of both arms at once.

19. Static kettlebell curl

You’ll need two kettlebells for this exercise.

Hold one kettlebell with your left hand at rib height and keep it still while you do 10 curls with the other kettlebell in your right hand.

Then switch arms and repeat. That’s 1 set.

20. Supinated kettlebell curl

Do a standard kettlebell curl, but with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and upper body folded forward at approximately a 45-degree angle.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set, or use two kettlebells to take care of both arms at once.

21. Kettlebell hammer curl

Hold the handle of the kettlebell while keeping your wrist neutral and in line with your lower arm.

Keeping your elbow tucked in close to your body, slowly bend your elbow and then return to your original position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

Do 12–15 reps per arm for 1 set.

So, how do we put this together to create the ultimate routine? Let’s ask our CPTs:

For a strength training newbie, Fauci recommends starting slow to prevent injury and burnout. “Most people will not warrant a bicep- or even arm-only day,” he says.

He recommends choosing 2 or 3 exercises and performing anywhere from 6 to 20 reps each — depending on the weight, the intensity of the exercise, and your experience with weightlifting — in 1 or 2 sessions per week.

“We need to get as much value as possible out of what bicep work we do plan into our sessions,” Fauci says.

As for intermediate to advanced lifters, remember to work desired targeted areas 2 or 3 times per week to maximize muscle growth, says Adams. His targeted muscle programs include at least 25 sets total with about 12 to 15 reps in each set.

Try Adams’ sample biceps routine

  • 5 sets of grocery bag curls
  • 5 sets of reverse-grip pull-ups
  • 5 sets of broomstick curls
  • 5 sets of supinated kettlebell curls
  • 5 sets of static kettlebell curls

You can use these guidelines to create a custom biceps workout based on what you’ve got around the house.

So raise a glass (or better yet, a backpack filled with canned goods), and let’s toast to those future Avenger arms — just please don’t Hulk-smash the glass. Cheers!