Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Say Hello to Strong, Toned Arms

If you want strong, toned bicep's and arms you need a calisthenics bicep workout, or maybe three. Well, that's what you've got...

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Now you know the best calisthenics arm exercises. Yay. But, what the hell do you do with that information?

On it’s own it’s pretty useless isn’t it?

You can do the exercises, sure. But how many? How often? In what order? Arrrgggghhhh!

Don’t worry. What you need are workouts to go with those exercises.

Workouts that will keep you challenged. Keep you moving towards your goal. Workouts that will help you build toned, muscular arms and stronger biceps.

Arms that you won’t be afraid to show off in a strappy top in the summer.

That's what I’ve got for you. So, what are we waiting for?

Let’s do this…

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Say Hello to Strong, Toned Arms

Jump Straight to the Workout

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Let’s Talk About Muscles

Before we get on to the workouts, I’m going to recap a few things, just in case you’ve come straight here.

If you’re confident you know everything there is to know about your biceps and the exercises you should be doing, head straight to the workout with the link above.

But, there might be a few things you don’t know, so it’s worth a read...

The biceps muscles, or biceps brachii to give them their full name, can be found on the front of your upper arm.

They are a two headed muscle, hence bi, the long head and the short head, which join the shoulder joint to the elbow joints. Their main function is to bend the elbow, known as elbow flexion.

It’s important you know this because it helps visualise how to do the exercises properly, and you know that anything, any exercise, that involves bending the elbow, is going to be working your biceps.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Stronger Biceps vs Bigger Biceps

Stronger biceps vs bigger biceps. Don't worry about getting bigger muscles, or bulk like a man.

I also want to take a moment to talk about how to get stronger biceps, rather than bigger biceps.

I know it’s a concern many women face, maybe you’re one of them, you don’t want really big muscles.

You don’t want to look manly and you don’t want to look like a body builder.

I get it. I really do. I used to have the exact same concerns. I’d always shy away from any kind of strength training.

But, whilst you don’t want huge muscles, you do want muscle. Muscle is what forms that shape of the arms that you covert. The defined, athletic appearance.

That’s muscle.

And to get muscle, you have to strength train.

But, I want to reassure you that the workouts below are all focused on getting you stronger biceps, not bigger biceps.

If we were going for bigger we’d be cranking out the weights and concentrating on isolation exercises, like the dumbbell bicep curl, or dumbbell curls. That is how you go about building muscle mass.

Weights and isolation exercises. And very good nutrition and testosterone. And, and, and.

Building big muscles isn’t easy.

Believe me, the workouts below are not going to get you huge biceps.

It’s the last thing I’d want as well.

We’ll be focusing on a different type of exercise. The compound exercise. That means they’ll be using different muscle groups, more than one muscle group. Which means there’s not the impetus for a specific muscle group to grow.

You’ll get stronger arms. More defined arms. And have a good workout for the upper body in general.

Hopefully, I’ve set your mind at rest a little.

And with that, let’s move on...

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: What You’re Going to Need

Calisthenics is all about strength training but using just your own bodyweight and gravity to do it.

There’s no need to rush out and buy fancy equipment. Or, spend lots of money on bits and pieces that will just end up clogging up your cupboard.

Your body is enough.

Once you get to a certain level, you might want to think about investing in something like a pull-up bar, some resistance bands, a suspension trainer or even possibly some gymnastics rings.

But, don’t stress.

There is no need for that now.

In fact, there’ll never be a need for it, but you might want it.

No, your own body weight is perfectly adequate to give you a good workout. Actually, an amazing workout.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: The Best Bicep Exercises

As you may have seen, there are some really cool advanced moves when it comes to calisthenics.

Human flag, front lever, handstand press, a personal goal of mine.

They look amazing and take tremendous strength to do properly.

Getting that strength is what we’re working on. We’re working towards being strong enough to do those moves.

We’re not there yet though. If you are, what are you doing here?

We’re going to concentrate on the basics until we are there.

And by basics, I in no way mean easy. These workouts won’t be easy. They’ll be tough and challenging. Simple yes, but not easy.

Progression and Regression

Push ups are a tough exercise so you might need an easier variation. Dropping your knees to the floor can help

It’s always a good idea to know how to scale a workout.

Some of the exercises may be too hard for you at the moment, but, soon they will become easier.

So you’ll want to know how to make them easier in the short term, but then how to make them harder once you start building strength.

And you will build strength. Possibly very quickly.

So, with the workouts below we’re concentrating on good old traditional push-ups.

This is a great exercise to build strength. Not only in your biceps, but your upper body as a whole.

It’s also great for your core. It’s a win win really.

The push-up is quite a difficult exercise. It does require a great deal of strength to do a proper one, with good form.

I can only manage a couple at a time and I used to deadlift 120 kilos.

So, if you are struggling, an easier variation would be to drop your knees to the floor. Work up to the reps suggested with your knees on the floor, and then try a few full ones.

Do what you can before dropping those knees again.

The main point to remember, each week try and add another one.

You might not be able to every week. And that’s ok as well. You might need a little break. Do what you can, when you can.

Once you’re knocking out 15 reps of full push-ups, for three rounds, then you can think about making the exercise a little harder.

Maybe elevate your feet.

Put your hands on an unstable surface.

Maybe try a completely different exercise, like a pull-up or a chin-up. Use the same rep and set range, and rest interval as the workout below.

Now, do you want to know what you’re going to be doing?

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Regular Push-Ups

Push ups are a great exercise to build strength in your biceps and your upper body in general.

As I’ve mentioned, the main focus of the workouts below, is to get stronger in the push-up.


Because it is an awesome exercise that has many, many crossovers. Both to other exercises and real life.

It not only works your upper body, it works your core too.

And when you knock out 20 odd push-ups without really breaking a sweat, jaws drop. It’s very funny.

I know because I have a friend who can. I can’t.

Anyway, I digress.

It is an awesome exercise. So, we’re going to focus on getting stronger in this move.

How to do a Push Up

To do a push-up come into a high plank position, with your hands either side of your chest about boob level. Your elbow creases should be facing forward.

Your legs should be straight and you should be up on your toes. Unless you’re bringing your knees to the floor.

Bending your elbows, lower your chest to the floor, getting as close to the floor as you can, without actually coming all the way to the floor.

Your elbows should remain by your side pointing backwards. Don’t turn them out to the side, you won’t be working your muscles in the right way if you do that.

Hover here for a brief second and push back up to the starting position.

Remember, the main focus of the push-up is to get your chest as close to the floor as possible. If you have to stay on your knees a little longer to achieve that, then do it.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Inverted Row

An inverted row is a great accompaniment to the push up. It uses the same muscles but it's a pulling motion rather than a pushing motion.

The inverted row, or the bodyweight row, is the perfect accompaniment to the push-up.

It uses, roughly the same motion, so the same muscles, but it’s a pulling motion, instead of a pushing motion. You need to be strong in both pulling and pushing movements to have a super strong upper body.

This one would be a little easier if you had some equipment. Suspension trainer for example. But, if you’ve got two sofas and broom handle, placing the broom handle over the arms of both sofas would work just as well.

If neither of those are an option, go for a coffee table. A rectangular or square one you can lie underneath.

How to do an Inverted row

Lying under the coffee table, face up, legs stretched out straight.

Grab the sides of the coffee table, engage your core and lift yourself up so that your chest comes as close as you can get it to the table.

Your whole body should lift.

Only your heels should remain on the floor.

Hover here for a moment and lower back down, but not all of the way to the floor.

The key here is controlling the movement.

It should feel seamless.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Plank

You might be thinking, hey, the plank is an ab exercise.

And you’d be right. But, to stay in the plank position doesn’t just require strong abs, it needs strong arms as well.

As long as you’re up there, you’re working your arms, so it’s a great one to support push-up progression.

To get into position lay on the floor face down. Bring your hands under your shoulders and push your body up, so that your arms are straight and you’re on your toes.

Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head, down to your heels.

This is a high plank position.

Once you’re here, you hold the position for the required amount of time.

It’s that simple.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Triceps Dips

Your triceps are the antagonist to your biceps so it's a good idea to strengthen those when you strengthen your biceps.

So, we’ve done a lot of work focusing on our biceps, this exercise focuses on your triceps.

They are the antagonist of the Biceps,. That means it opposes the action of the biceps. So the biceps bend the elbow, the triceps straighten the elbow.

It’s really important you work both sets of muscles.

You will need a bench, chair, table or sofa for this exercise.

Sitting on the bench, stretch your legs out in front of you so that your heels are touching the floor. Your hands should be either side of you with your fingers cusped over the edge.

Shuffle your bum off the bench, keeping your legs straight, engage your core and lower your bum as close as you can to the floor, without actually sitting on it.

Hover here for a moment and push back up to the starting position. And repeat.

If you find this difficult, bring your feet in closer, bending your knees. If you find it easy try taking a foot off the floor. Remember to take the other foot off the floor in the next set.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a moving plank. They strengthen your arms whilst getting your heart rate up.

Mountain climbers are essentially a moving plank.

They’re like high knees but with your hands on the floor.

Come into a high plank position with your hands shoulder width apart. You should be up on your toes, and just as in a plank, your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels.

Lift your right foot off the floor, bend your right knee and bring it up to your torso between your arms. Take your foot back out and back to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

Writing the description out, doesn’t really portray how fast this movement is. As I mentioned, think high knees. It’s like running but facing the floor with your hands on the floor.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Crab Walk

Sitting on the floor with your knees bent, place your hands on the floor behind you slightly.

Engage your core and lift your bum off the floor.

Start walking by moving your right foot and left hand and then repeat on the other side, left foot, right hand.

Keep crab walking until the time is up.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: Wall Walk

Wall walks are a great way to strength your upper body, your core and get yourself ready for handstands.

If you have designs on being able to complete a handstand, the wall walk is a really great place to start.

Crouching in front of a wall, place your hands on the floor and your feet on the wall.

Start walking up the wall with your feet and as you do, walk your hands closer to the wall. Keep going until your body is in a straight line close to the wall. Or until you don’t think you can go any more.

Do push yourself though.

That’s the idea with all of these workouts.

If you don’t push yourself, you’ll never get any stronger.

To come out of it, walk your feet down the wall as you walk your hands away from the wall. So, the exact opposite of what you did to get up there.


Just a little not to say, before you try any of the workouts, please make sure you can do all of the above exercises with good form.

You won’t do yourself, your muscles or your strength any good if you try and do an exercise without proper form. You’re just going to injure yourself.

If you can’t, or don’t want to, work with a personal trainer locally, then please do get in touch. I would be happy to go through these, or any other exercises with you.

Calisthenics Bicep Workout: The Bicep Workouts

Workout 1: Straight Up Strength

A calisthenics workout to strengthen your biceps and your arms.

Complete 8 – 15 reps of each exercise for 3 rounds then move onto the next. Rest for 90 seconds between rounds

  • Push ups
  • Triceps dip
  • Inverted row

Workout 2: A Little Bit of HIIT

Mixing strength with a bit of cardio is a great way to workout. It helps build your strength and your cardio system.

Complete the first exercise, the strength exercise, for 10 reps, then the second exercise, the cardio exercise for 20 seconds. Do three rounds each, resting 90 seconds between rounds.

  • Push ups/Mountain climbers
  • Triceps dip/Crab walk
  • Inverted row/Plank

Workout 3: Let’s Get Super Strong

To build more strength you have to make your reps hard enough that you can only do 1-5 reps.

There are fewer reps with this workout so make the exercises harder if you can. Try for full push ups, if you’ve been doing knees to the floor. Or elevated push ups if you’ve nailed the regular push up.

Complete 5 rounds of 1 – 5 reps of each exercise. Then move on to the next. Rest 2 minutes between rounds.

  • Push up
  • Wall Walk
  • tricep dips
  • Inverted Row

Calisthenics Bicep Workouts: Let’s Get Stronger Arms

If you want strong biceps, not big biceps, make sure you give these workouts a go. Challenge yourself. But, don’t overdo it.

Remember, nail the basics first and then move onto the fancy looking stuff. You will be stronger and more toned, in the long run for it.

If you’ve enjoyed these workouts, and you want more free workouts, advice, tips and tricks to help you live an easier, healthier life, then make sure you join the Mamas that Move VIP club.

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Can you build strength with calisthenics exercises?

Yes, you absolutely can. You don’t need heavy weights or any kind of fancy equipment. Your own body weight is enough.

Bodyweight exercises can be easily scaled if you’re finding them too difficult, or you need a harder version.

Will I get big muscles with calisthenics?

Women generally don’t get big muscles. We don’t have the levels of testosterone needed to build big muscles.

So don’t worry about becoming bulky or man like. Building big muscles takes work and dedication. It doesn’t happen accidently.