Bicep Calisthenics without a Pull-Up Bar


The biceps are one of the most visible muscles on your body, and that’s why it’s often targeted when working out. Today, we’ll share with you bicep calisthenics without a bar you can do anywhere for bigger and stronger arms!

When building bigger guns, it’s often associated with curling a dumbbell or chin-ups.

But without a pull bar, how can you do bicep calisthenics? 🤔

What are the best exercises to target your biceps?

Let’s talk about doing biceps without a bar and some of the best exercises to help you get there!

You might think we’re getting crazy. Bicep calisthenics without a bar?

Absolutely! The basis of calisthenics is to use your body weight as resistance, so there are plenty of exercises you can do to target your biceps. Even without a bar, you can still work on your biceps using resistance bands, dumbbells, or even just by using your body weight by manipulating your body positions.💯

In this article, we will talk about the best exercises to do without a bar and how to make them more challenging. We’ll also give you some tips on how to progress in your bicep workouts so that you can continue seeing results.

We’ll be covering the following topics:

  • ✅ How to  grow the bicep muscles in general
  • ✅ How to grow your biceps using calisthenics alone
  • ✅ How to work your biceps without a bar
  • ✅ How to can build biceps without weights or any equipment
  • ✅ Exercise alternatives for the developing biceps

If you’re interested in learning more, then read on!


How to grow muscles?🔍

Before we dive into the bicep discussion, let’s first cover what it takes to build muscles in general.

The progress of building muscle is a complex one that can easily be explained in a simple manner. There are three things we need to consider:

  1. 🤸 Resistance training that induces progressive overload or makes every workout session harder – 📍 Progressive calisthenics
  2. 🍌 Proper nutrition through whole foods – 📍 Body Building Nutritional Guide
  3. ♥️ Recovery through sleep and stress management – 📍 Ultimate Guide to Workout Recovery

Satisfy these three factors, and you are guaranteed to build muscle.

✨Is building biceps different from building other muscle groups?

The bicep brachii or muscles respond to training similarly to the other muscle groups. You need to perform exercises in a full range of motion, build muscular tension, and metabolic dress to build muscle.

However, when training with calisthenics that primarily focuses on compound movements such as pull-ups, other muscle groups such as the lats, traps, or forearms can fatigue before hitting sufficient training volume for your biceps.

As a method to address this, implementing exercises that target more of the biceps and less of the other muscle groups or at least hit them at a lower intensity is the best way to increase bicep size.

It’s just like training your abs to build a 6-pack. Even if that’s your goal, you don’t have to train it every day. Spending 2-3 times per week on a specific muscle group such as your bicep is enough to build muscle.🏆


How can I work my biceps without a pull-up bar?👀

In terms of building biceps using calisthenics, one of the most popular exercises comes into mind is the chin-up. According to a recent EMG analysis (a test that studies muscle activity when performing a movement) of different hand orientations,  the supinated or underhand pull-up variation, AKA chin-up, offers close bicep activation similar to other pull-up variations. This means that even if you’re working with a pull-up grip, chin-up grip, neutral grip, or even on a rope, YOU WILL BUILD BICEP MUSCLES.

👍 The pull-up bar is one of the best training equipment you can get for building up your guns. However, it’s not an all-or-nothing case. There are a few ways to work your biceps without a pull-up bar.

👍 One way (and probably the most popular one among the gym bros) is to do bicep curls. To do this, hold a weight in each hand with your palms facing forward. Then, bend your elbows and curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Be sure to keep your back straight and don’t swing the weights up. Every movement is controlled.

👍 Another way to work your biceps is by doing hammer curls. To do this, hold a weight in one hand with your palm facing inward. Next, curl the weight towards your shoulder while keeping your elbow pressed against your side. Again, don’t let the weight swing as you lift it.

These are weighted curl variations. According to research, there are very minimal differences between bicep activation among these exercises, so choosing the best exercise for you can be subjective based on your comfortability.


🔥How can I build my biceps without weights?

🤜 A resistance band is a great way to add resistance to your workouts, and it’s a great option if you don’t have access to weights.

To do a bicep curl with a resistance band, simply wrap the band around a sturdy object (like a pole or door frame), and hold the ends of the band in each hand. Then, curl your arms up towards your shoulders, and squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl. Next, reverse the motion and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

If you are really into weights and don’t have access to any dumbbells, you could use several items in your home as weights. For example, canned goods, milk jugs, or even bags of flour all make great improvised weights.


🔎Can you grow biceps with calisthenics?

Yes, you can. 👍 Building muscle with calisthenics is achievable if you focus on the right exercise and progress gradually.

Like any other muscle, you need to overload the biceps to see results. So, by using a variety of exercises and progressing gradually, you can see results with calisthenics.💯

Incorporating a few bicep exercises into your routine is a great way to target this muscle and help you achieve the look you’re going for. Using various methods to work biceps, including a bar, bands, weights, or bodyweight, you can make sure that you’re hitting this muscle from all angles.


🤔What can I use instead of a pull-up bar?

A pull-up bar is still optimal and ideal for better results and convenience. However, you can always find a work-around.

There is always a way to replace this equipment. If you’re interested in learning more about that topic, read this: 📍 The Ultimate Guide to Calisthenics Equipment and Cheap Ways to Replace Them

1. ✅ Bodyweight Rows

Inverted hip thrust

Bodyweight rows are best done on rings for easy scalability.

Many bodyweight rows are frequently paired with scapular stabilization exercises by those wanting to increase their pull-up total. This is an excellent exercise if you don’t have access to a pull-up bar. You may have seen this being done at the gym a couple of times or more but don’t know the proper way to do it.

You will need a sturdy bench or platform and a band to do a bodyweight row. Anchor the band around the bench and lie facing down with your hands on the bench slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.

Drive your feet into the ground and pull your torso up to the bench, maintaining a neutral spine. Pause at the top of the row and squeeze your shoulder blades together before slowly lowering yourself back to the start position.

A better way to execute rows is to have a set of gymnastics rings available. With rings, you can easily adjust the intensity of the exercise while also preparing your grip for more challenging ring exercise variations. You can also put your arms in a supinated position to target your biceps further.

2. ✅ Kneeling Lat Pulldowns

Exercise video demonstrated by Dr. Joel Seedman

This is a great exercise that can be done with either a band or weight. The movement pattern resembles a pull-up but with less overall intensity and full body activation.

Take hold of the resistance band and attach it to the anchor point. Grab one end in each hand and then kneel. Pull on the resistance band until your elbows are at right angles. Maintaining a strong back and core, slowly release the band back to the starting position.

3.  ✅ Overhead Dumbbell Press

Single-arm shoulder press

Overhead dumbbell presses can also be done unilaterally and using a band.

A dumbbell overhead press, often known as a dumbbell shoulder press, is a weightlifting movement that works your entire body, including your triceps, glutes, trapezius, and lower-back muscles. During the bottom position, when you’re holding the weights at a 90-degree angle with your elbows, you’ll be activating your biceps more.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to perform dumbbell overhead presses. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward and press the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended. Then, reverse the motion and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

4. ✅ Back Bridge Push-Ups

Bridge push-up

This push-up variation is a fantastic bodyweight exercise that will work your glutes and hamstrings while strengthening your upper back muscles and erector spinae. Imagine a push-up performed on its side, with the inside-out and upside-down aspects. With this bodyweight exercise, you’ll develop good posture as well as pull-up strength.

5. ✅ Pelican Curls

The pelican curls on rings thanks to The Sustainable Training Method.

If you have access to gymnastics rings (you can buy a pair because it’s really cheap anyway), then pelican curls will be your best friend. Although this movement requires a decent amount of shoulder extension, the full range of motion hits the biceps massively, making it effective for building muscle.

To do so, position the rings so that you’re holding them as if performing the bottom portion of the dip with bent arms. Grasp the rings with a false grip. Lower your body forward, extend your arms backward and twist your arm until your palms are facing forward. Continue lowering until your arms are completely straight.

You can adjust the height of the rings to adjust the intensity. The lower you go, the harder the exercise. For the crazy advanced athletes, you can work towards doing a Ring Turned-Out (RTO) dip. The movement is similar to a pelican curl but with the feet off the floor.


✊ How can I grow my biceps at home?

There are many exercises you can do to work your biceps at home. You don’t need any equipment-just your body weight.

Some of the best exercises include:

  • ✔️ Diamond push-ups
  • ✔️ Reverse hand push-ups
  • ✔️ One-arm push-ups
  • ✔️ Side plank
  • ✔️ Plank up-down
  • ✔️ Chin-ups

For best results, try to include a variety of these exercises in your routine to hit the biceps from all angles.


How do I make my forearms 💪 bigger with calisthenics?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to make your forearms bigger with calisthenics will vary depending on your genetics and muscle fiber distribution. However, some general tips for increasing forearm size through calisthenics include performing exercises that target the brachioradialis.

Doing towel pull-ups, inverted rows, and bodyweight dips are great exercises for increasing forearm size and using a thicker grip on exercises such as barbell or dumbbell curls.


Bodyweight Bicep Exercises 🤸 Without Equipment

If unable to use a bar or band, these exercises will still help to tone the biceps. These are the best bicep exercises that target the muscle while hitting less of the other muscle groups so you can progressively overload without any equipment. This is the definition of bicep calisthenics without a bar.

☑️ Bicep Push-Up

A thorough explanation by the CaliMove team regarding the bice push-up.

This push-up variation is controversial but can arguably be one of the best bicep-building exercises without using any weights or bar. It’s also straightforward to implement.

To perform the exercise, simply go into a push-up position, then turn your hands outwards so that your fingers are pointing back. You’ll immediately feel the bicep activation just by holding the top position. Next, lower down as if performing a regular push-up, then build biceps like there’s no tomorrow.

☑️ Pseudo-Planche Push-Up

Elevated pseudo planche pushups

Elevated pseudo planche push-ups takes the intensity of the exercise to the next level.

A popular shoulder exercise that builds specific strength towards planche, the pseudo-planche push-up can also be used to improve your bicep size. From the straight-arm top position down to the bottom bent-arm position, the bicep is engaged throughout the range of motion.

To perform, also begin in a regular push-up position. From there, lean forward as far as you can. The further you go, the stronger the shoulder, wrist, and bicep activation are. Then perform the regular push-up motion.

If you want to increase the intensity, point your fingers backward, similar to the bicep push-up position, and lean forward even further.

☑️ RTO dips

RTO dip demonstration thanks to getdownkid.

When you have mastered your regular ring dips, you can move to Ring Turned Out (RTO) dips. This small change in hand orientation shifts the placement loading more onto your bicep for more bicep growth.

To perform, simply get into your regular ring support hold position and turn your rings outward so that your palms are facing front. In the regular dips, you can turn in the hand as you lower into the dips. With RTO dips, you need to maintain that starting hand position all throughout the movement.

☑️ Dynamic Self-Resistance/Static Contraction

Simple execution and explanation of Tribe Kallistheneia of the exercise.

The Dynamic Tension exercise technique uses self-resistance to pit one muscle against another. First, the muscles of a specific body part are tense; then, the body part is moved against the resistance as if a heavyweight were being lifted.

🏆Additional Calisthenics Biceps Exercises Without A Bar

There are calisthenics biceps workouts that are still ideal for maximum bicep growth. Although it’s optimal to choose training with a bar and minimal equipment such as rings, you can still target this muscle group and make massive gains by opting for what’s available to you.

You can do additional calisthenics bicep exercises without a pull-up bar but will still deliver results:

  • 👊 One-Handed Wall Pulls – To do this exercise, you’ll need a door frame or a sturdy pole. Place one hand on the frame or pole, and step your other foot out in front of you for balance. Now, slowly pull yourself up towards the frame or pole, using only the arm that’s gripping it until your head is as close to the object as possible. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back down.

This exercise stimulates the bodyweight row if you don’t have the necessary equipment to perform the exercise.

  • 👊 Resistance Bands Bicep Curls – if you don’t have a bar or ring available, bands are a great way to do isolated bicep curls. Anchor a band around something sturdy, then step on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the band with your palms parallel to each other, and curl your hands towards your shoulders. Keep your back straight, and don’t let the bands pull your elbows backward.


📌Final Thoughts on Bicep Calisthenics Without a Bar

While these exercises won’t be as effective as those that use a bar or band, they will still help develop and strengthen the Biceps.

🤜There are pretty plenty of exercises that work the Biceps without a bar. In addition, you can do many exercises with resistance bands or even use your body weight as resistance. Just be sure to switch up your routine often to avoid plateaus and continue seeing results.

🤜If you are interested in achieving colossal bicep with only calisthenics exercises, you must be patient and consistent with your training. It may take a little longer than using a bar or band, but it’s definitely achievable.

🤜Before getting conscious about your bicep size, you must first make sure (especially for beginners) that you have already mastered the calisthenics fundamentals.

🤜While working on smaller muscle groups has its perks, it’s worth investing in compound movements for stronger overall gains when first starting out with calisthenics.

If you’re unsure where to start, first know where you are in your calisthenics journey so you can get a PERSONALISED and ADAPTIVE calisthenics program that will build your strength and muscles in the long run.