Training the biceps with zero equipment is actually quite hard. And the same is also true for the lats and pulling movements in general. A pull up bar – as we said already – can be bought online for $5 and will fit into your doorframe without even needing you to screw it in or drill any holes. There’s really no reason that you can get one of these.
And if you can’t, then there are a few more options. One is to use the underside of a table or desk. Simply lie flat underneath the table, hook your hands under one edge and then perform ‘half’ pull ups with your legs on the ground. Or you can even lift the legs up and do pull ups while in a ‘sitting’ type position.
Another option is to head outside and grab a tree branch. Or if you’re the very dedicated kind, then you can grab onto the doorframe with your finger-tips. It hurts, but it works!
Option number three is to take a towel, trap it in a door (by closing it on it) and then lean backwards holding the towel and to pull yourself up that way.
There are tons of options in other words and I really do believe that you should be able to find something that works.
But if you really do want to use only your own body, there are still a couple of exercises you can use:
Bicep Exercises With No Need for Equipment
Elbow Curls: This is a strange looking move but is the closest thing we have to pull ups without the pull up bar. Basically, you’re going to lie on one side, with your legs bent and knees pointing in front of you. You’ll also keep one arm trapped underneath those legs and under your body.
Now, using that arm, clutch onto your legs with your hand and then pull your body towards your legs. As you do, hinge at the elbow and raise your body off the ground.
Curl-Grip Press: Now you’ll be in press up position but with your arms very wide apart (wider than your shoulders) and with your fingers pointing outwards. Lower yourself down slowly and as you do, you should feel the biceps contract through the ‘negative’ portion of the movement.
Sitting Knee Curl: Sit on a sofa or a chair and tuck your hands under your knees. Now you’re going to curl the knees upward towards your body and you’re going to use your biceps to do it.
Ankle Curl: Similar, is to sit on the sofa or chair and then to lift one leg up with your foot pointing at the wall on your left or right side. Take the opposite arm and grab the ankle and then curl your own foot upwards towards you in a ‘concentration curl’ type position. As you do this, push down against your hand with your foot and fight yourself with it.
Dynamic Tension and Dynamic Self Resistance
There are two more methods you can use to train your biceps with your body alone. One option is to use something called ‘dynamic tension’. This is the training method that was introduced by Charles Atlas and it’s very simple: you just tense the biceps as hard as you can and then move through the bicep curl motion. This way, you’re still contracting the muscle, you’re still going through the full range of motion and you’re still building the mind-muscle connection through the neuromuscular junction. In other words? It’s similar to really performing a bicep curl as far as your body is concerned. Just be aware that this method won’t be enough to create many microtears and as such, it’s not as good as using actual resistance.
Another option though is ‘dynamic self-resistance’. Here, you are going to curl one arm, while simultaneously using your other arm to force it down. Perform a ‘hammer curl’ motion in front of your own body and just push down on your fist/forearm using the other hand. You can set the resistance yourself and this even allows you to perform a kind of ‘drop set’.