10 Best Compound Bicep Exercises for Mass and Strength

If you’re looking to maximize the development of your upper arms and pack size onto your bicep, then you should do a compound workout for bicep.

Compound bicep exercises are a great way to build your bicep muscle mass and develop your arm strength, as it activates more than one muscle group at a time.

Compound exercises, known for their ability to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. They are the key to achieving not only impressive bicep growth, but also overall strength.

In this blog, we will discuss the following:

Isolation and Compound Exercises Biceps 

The two types of bicep exercises are compound movements and isolation movements. It is essential to understand the differences between these types of exercises in order to create an effective bicep workout routine.

1. Compound Biceps Exercises

Compound bicep exercises are multi-joint activities that target multiple muscle groups and involve two or more joints. 

When you do compound workouts, you’re working more muscle groups, and you can also push yourself harder. Furthermore, the utilization of heavier weights results in faster result. Compound bicep exercises include pull-ups, and rows.

Like when you are doing a pull-up, the back is the main targeted muscles. However, there are many other Synergistic and stabilizer muscles acting in this motion, such as the Biceps brachiirear deltoid, traps.

This meta-analysis found that compound exercises were more effective at building muscle mass than isolation exercises.

2. Isolation Bicep Exercises

Isolation bicep exercises focusing all the load on one muscle group, no secondary muscles are taking over and making that target muscle group’s life any easier.

Examples of isolation exercises for the biceps include:

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How Do Compound Bicep Workout For Mass And Strength

Some people prefer to perform exercises for strength, while others are more interested in workouts for building muscle.

Again, the different goals for training will mostly affect how many reps, sets, and weights are done for the bicep workouts.

Strength and muscle mass training have many similarities, but there are also some differences. In this bicep workout, you will target both types of gains.

  • Strength training involves lifting heavy weights. Powerlifters and weightlifters routinely train with weights in the 1–5 repetition range (>85% of 1RM). Although higher rep ranges (less than 6 reps) have also been proven effective for strength gains.
  • Muscle growth training has more to do with challenging and tiring out your muscles. As long as you push your muscles close to failure. You will obtain best muscle growth in the range of 5–12 reps per set (~60–85% of 1RM).
  • For endurance, do the 15 to 20+ reps

The Best Compound Bicep Exercises

Here are 10 of the best compound bicep exercises to build muscle mass and strength. You’ll get more benefits if you introduce some compound exercises into your routine that also work your biceps.

1. Pull-Up

The pull-up is an upper-body strength exercise that targets your back and bicep. Pull ups are a challenge for beginners and experienced athletes.

It increases the strength, thickness, and width of your back, specifically your lats. The lats are what make the back wide and form the “V” in the upper back.

Wide Grip Pull Up

How To Do

  1. Grab onto a pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your chest high, while exaggerating the arch in your lower back.
  3. Pull yourself up by squeezing your shoulder blades together and contracting your lats until your chin passes the bar.
  4. Hold the contraction at the top for a second before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.


  • Go full range of motion and keep form correct.
  • Avoid jerky movements and keep them controlled.

2. Chin Up

The chin-up is a strength training exercise. This is a bodyweight exercise that can induce serious muscle growth of the biceps and back.

In this exercise, the palms are faced towards the body. Since the lifter is pulling their own bodyweight, the biceps are usually exposed to loads heavier than what one can lift with a barbell. Must add this compound bicep workout to your bicep exercise arsenal.

Chin Up

How To Do

  1. Grasp a pull-up bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower.
  2. Straighten your arms, keep your knees bent and cross your lower legs.
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and pull your body until your chin becomes aligned with the bar.
  4. Pause for one to two seconds at the top, with the biceps under maximum tension.
  5. Slowly lower to the start position.


  • Don’t get in the habit of doing half reps and chasing numbers.
  • Lower to almost full extension of the elbow, but avoid locking out completely.

2. One-Arm Lats Pull-Down

The one-arm lats pull-down is a unilateral exercise that primarily targets the latissimus dorsi, commonly known as the lats and the secondary muscle worked during it is the bicep.

It is helpful to perform the exercise unilaterally to identify and address any muscular imbalances between the left and right sides of the back and bicep.

I believe it promotes equal development and enhances overall strength and stability.

How To Do

  1. Attach a handle or grip to the pulley.
  2. Lock your knees under the support pads.
  3. Grasp the handle with one hand and extend your arm overhead.
  4. Pull the handle down and back towards the side of your torso.
  5. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.
  6. Perform the desired number of repetitions on one side before switching to the other arm.


  • Avoid using momentum or swinging.
  • Go full range of motion and concentrate on your back muscles doing the major work.
  • Focus on squeezing your lats muscle to achieve a strong contraction.

4. Isometric Chin-ups

The Isometric (Iso) means there is no lengthening or shortening of the musculature, simply striving to maintain one shape.

Isometric holds for biceps, you can think of holding bags of groceries in your hands and your elbows are bent at 90-degrees. In this position, your biceps are fully flexed and holding the bags statically in place.

Isometric Chin-ups bodyweight bicep exercises

How To Do

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart.
  2. Pull yourself until your chin is over the bar. If you are unable to do a chin-up, you can still do this exercise by using a chair or step to jump.
  3. Make sure your chin is above the bar. Hold for 5 seconds then lower down to 90 degrees and hold for 5 then lower down again to just before the bottom.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Keep the scapula retracted
  • Simple and effective compound bicep exercises, give it a try.

5. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

One Arm Dumbbell Rows are an excellent alternative to barbell rows, and it provides the full-range motion to build the lats muscles.

This exercise helps to work on each side independently, thereby providing better muscle isolation and a longer range of motion. This exercise is done with a heavy dumbbell with your body supported by a bench.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

How To Do

  1. Grasp a dumbbell with palm facing in. Rest the opposite hand and knee on a bench. Keep your spine straight and just above parallel to the floor.
  2. Pull the dumbbell vertically upward alongside your torso, raising the elbow as high as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell as low as possible, feeling a good lats spread.
  4. Repeat on the other side.


  • Keep motion under strict control for better isolation.
  • Avoid hunchback bending as it leads to Injury.

6. Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows are an excellent cable exercise to build middle back muscles, on lower lats and bicep as well.  This works on the lower back as well.

This compound exercise is done on a cable rowing machine with separate handles and grip position change, the muscle worked involvement.

Seated Cable Rows

How To Do

  1. Sit on a seated cable pulley rowing machine with legs slightly bent and feet supported against the crossbar.
  2. Take hold of the handles with your arms extended and back stretched.
  3. Pull the handles so that they come as close to the lower chest/abdomen as possible.
  4. Thrust your chest out while pulling with your body in an upright position.
  5. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.


  • Pause briefly when the handles are close to the chest and squeeze your upper back muscles, bringing the scapulae closer.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid knee and lower back pressure.
  • Remember, a rounded back is a wrong back. Keep it straight at all times.
  • Keep your upper back stationary, don’t move your upper back, back, and forth.

7. Bent-Over One-Arm Cable Pull

The bent-over one-arm cable pull is an exercise that builds muscle and strength in the latissimus dorsi muscles of the back and bicep.

It’s recommended to stick with moderate weights to effectively stimulate the muscle by feeling it contract during each repetition.

Bent-over one-arm cable pull

How To Do

  1. Set up a waist-high cable pulley. Grasp the handle with one hand. Stand back with a wide, staggered stance.
  2. Flex your hips and knees until your torso is horizontal. Your arm and shoulder should be stretching forward.
  3. Exhale as you pull the stirrup to the side of your chest.
  4. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  5. Inhale as you reverse the motion and return the stirrup to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the ideal number of reps to complete the set.
  7. Now, switch arms to complete the exercise on your right side, and then alternate between arms for sets.


  • Stick with moderate weights to effectively work the lats since this is an isolation exercise.
  • To make the most of this move, your reps should be slow and controlled.
  • Go full range of motion and concentrate on your back muscles doing the major work.

8. V-Grip Lats Pull Down

The V grip lats pull down is a variation of the lats pulldown and an exercise used to build the muscles of the back. It will primarily target the back, you will also notice a fair amount of bicep and middle back activation.

The back is a muscle group that requires a fair amount of variation. So, experiment with several different angles and hand positions to maximize your back muscle growth.

V Grip Lat Pull Down

How To Do

  1. Attach a V handle to the high pulley of a lat-pulldown station.
  2. Grab the handles with your palms facing each other and position yourself on the seat with your knees under the pads.
  3. Keep your upper back straight, pull the V handle down and bring it up to the chest.
  4. Perform this movement using your upper lats and use the arms merely as a lever between handle and lats.
  5. Now release the bar with controlled motion and stretch your lats as much as possible.
  6. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.


  • Avoid the temptation to use a weight so big that you need to start swinging your torso in order to perform the exercise.
  • To make the most of this move, your reps should be slow and controlled.
  • Go full range of motion and concentrate on your back muscles doing the major work.

9. Bent Over Barbell Rows

If you are looking to strengthen and add massive muscle to the upper back and arms then bent over barbell rows are the best upper back exercise. And the science backs it up.

Spacing your hands shoulder-width apart or closer targets the central inner section of the lats, whereas a wider grip targets the outer lats.

Pulling the bar up higher toward the chest targets the upper latissimus and trapezius. Pulling the bar through a lower trajectory to touch the abdomen targets the lower lats.

How To Do

  1. Stand with a narrow stance and grab a bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with the knees slightly, and let the bar hang in front of you.
  3. Now use the back and raise the bar until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
  4. Slowly lower the bar under control to the starting position.


  • Do not use more weight than you can handle. This fatigues your spinal erectors and says goodbye to form.
  • Exhale on pushing movement, and inhale when returning to the starting position.
  • Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury.

10. Inverted Row

The inverted row (bodyweight rows) creates a horizontal body position, making it easier to perform. It works the back and shoulder muscles from a different angle and improves upper body strength.

In the gym, most people utilize the Smith machine for this exercise. You can also do the inverted row at home by lying under a chair and pulling yourself up.

Inverted Row

How To Do

  1. Adjust the height of the chair and bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.
  3. Keeping your legs and body straight, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar.
  4. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  5. Breathe in as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.


  • Do not allow your butt to sag.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in.
  • Lower your body until the arms are fully extended, and then raise your body until the chest touches the bar.

Bonus: Seated Row with Resistance Bands

Seated Row with Resistance Bands primarily trained latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, rear delts and biceps. It will also work your erector spinae, as you need your lower back to stabilize your movement.

Seated Row with Resistance Bands

How To Do

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended, loop the resistance band around the soles of your feet, and hold one end in each hand.
  2. Keeping your posture erect and your lower back slightly arched, slowly pull the handles to your lower abdomen.
  3. As the handles touch your body, squeeze your shoulder blades together and then reverse direction.
  4. Slowly returning to the start position.


  • Retract your shoulder blades as you pull the band back.
  • Keep your core fully engaged, which means your low back too. Row towards just above your navel.
  • Maintain your legs extended with just a slight bend in the knee and keep your shoulders back.

Why Should You Do Compound Bicep Exercises?

Here are some key reasons you should incorporate compound bicep exercises into your workout routine:

1. Work Multiple Muscle Groups

Compound moves like chin-ups and rows efficiently target the biceps while also engaging your back, shoulders, and core. This leads to full upper body development.

2. Greater Overload

By using bigger muscle groups, you can lift heavier weights and get more mechanical tension to grow muscles. Compound bicep exercises are excellent for progressively increasing the weight you lift.

3. Time-Tested Results

Many renowned bodybuilders and strength athletes emphasize the importance of compound movements. If you’re serious about building substantial bicep size and strength, these exercises have stood the test of time.

4. Variety

A mix of compound bicep exercises can add variety to your routine and prevent boredom. This variety not only keeps your workouts interesting, but also prevents plateaus, as your muscles are constantly adapting to new challenges.

5. Hormonal Response

Compound exercises, including compound bicep movements, can stimulate a more significant release of muscle-building hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone.

This hormonal response contributes to muscle growth and improved body composition.

6. Efficiency

You can pack a lot of muscle work into a short, intense compound workout. Saves gym time.

Sets And Reps For Bicep Muscles

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


According to the latest scientific evidence, 12–20 weekly sets per muscle group may optimize muscle growth.

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • For muscle endurance: Aim for 15-20+ reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
  • For muscle strength: 6-10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
  • For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves

Know More Daily calories Requirement To Build Arms

How To Plan A Compound Biceps Workout Routine

There are numerous different workout splits you can use that involve having a “back and biceps day.”” However, they would all fall into one of two categories.

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do on 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. A body part split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on separate days.
  3. A Push Pull Legs split: Workout routines that train related muscle groups on the same day.

You can use this with any other program you have.

1. Bicep-Focused Workout Routine

Pull Ups3-48-12
Chin Ups310-12
One-Arm Dumbbell Row:38-10

2. Pull Workout Routine

Lats Pulldowns310-12
Dumbbell Curl38-12
Dumbbell Shrugs38-12

3. Full Body Workout Routine

Bench Press46-8
Dumbbell Curl38-10
Overhead Press48-10
Plank330 sec

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the best compound exercise for biceps?

Here are the 10 best compound exercises for the biceps.

Is the bicep curl a compound exercise?

No, the bicep curl is not a compound exercise. The bicep curl is an isolation exercise that targets just the biceps brachii muscle in the front of the upper arm. It is done by flexing at the elbow to lift a weight upwards without moving or engaging other muscles.

How often should we work on our biceps?

A. Biceps workout can be done at least 2 days a week with a minimum of 48-72 hours rest in between.

Is it normal for my arms to pain after the workout?

A. It’s not normal to have pain in your arms after a workout. What you should be feeling is a mild soreness and not pain.

How to combine bicep exercises into a great home workout:

  • Choose three of the exercises and do 8-12 repetitions.
  • Do three sets of each exercise, with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets.
  • During isometric exercises, try to hold the position as long as possible. Repeat this three times with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets.

Is bicep curls a compound exercise?

A compound exercise is any movement that involves working more than one muscle group simultaneously. On the other hand, during bicep curl, one specific muscle group works. Therefore, Bicep curls are an Isolation exercise.


These compound bicep exercises are highly recommended for anyone interested in building a bigger biceps and who wants to gain strength.

I hope this will motivate you to vary your biceps training by adding more compound exercises that work your biceps. If you do these biceps compound exercises consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Thanks for reading.

15 Best Biceps Exercises To Build Bigger Arm

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