10 Best Compound Bicep Exercises for Mass and Strength

Curling your biceps is good, but adding moves that work your chest, shoulders, back, and core is better. It can help you build up more muscle and strength.

Compound exercises are known for their ability to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. They are the key to achieving impressive bicep growth and strength.

You should perform a compound workout for the bicep to enhance the growth of your upper body.

It is a great way to build your bicep muscle mass and strengthen your arm.

In this blog, we will discuss the following:

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How to 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 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 the 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 benefit more if you introduce 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 bodyweight exercise 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 body weight, the biceps are usually exposed to loads heavier than one can lift with a barbell.

You 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 aligns with the bar.
  4. Pause at the top for one to two seconds, 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.

3. One-Arm Lats Pulldown

The one-arm lat 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. Your biceps are fully flexed in this position, 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 cannot 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
  • These are 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 work on each side independently, 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 the palm facing in.
  2. Rest the opposite hand and knee on a bench.
  3. Keep your spine straight.
  4. Pull the dumbbell vertically upward alongside your torso, raising the elbow as high as possible.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbell as low as possible, feeling a good lats spread.
  6. 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 to 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.

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.

Sticking with moderate weights is recommended to 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.
  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.


  • Your reps should be slow and controlled to make the most of this move.
  • 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 pulldown 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 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 the handle and lats.
  5. Now, release the bar with controlled motion and stretch your lats as much as possible.


  • Avoid using a big weight that requires you to start swinging your torso to perform the exercise.
  • Go full range of motion and concentrate on your back muscles doing the major work.

9. Bent Over Barbell Rows

The bent-over barbell rows are a great way to build up some serious muscle in the upper back and biceps. And the science backs it up.

Unlike isolation exercises, the bent-over row works for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to greater muscle building and calorie burning.

Bent Over Barbell Rows

How To Do

  1. Stand hip-width apart.
  2. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip and hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your back straight and your core tight as you bend forward.
  4. Keep your upper arms close to your body as you pull the bar towards your chest. 
  5. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position.
  6. Do 8–12 repetitions for 3–5 sets.


  • Do not use more weight than you can handle. This fatigues your spinal erectors and says goodbye to form.
  • Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury.
  • Try different grip widths, dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, or inverted rows for added variety.

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.

Why Should You Do Compound Bicep Over Isolation Exercises?

The two types of bicep exercises are compound movements and isolation movements. Understanding the differences between these types of exercises is essential to creating an effective bicep workout routine.

1. Isolation Bicep Exercises

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

Examples of isolation exercises for the biceps include:

2. Compound Biceps Exercises

Compound bicep exercises are multijoint 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 results. Compound bicep exercises include pull-ups, and rows.

For example, when you are doing a pull-up, the back is the main targeted muscle. However, many other Synergistic and stabilizer muscles, such as the Biceps brachii, rear deltoid, and traps, act in this motion.

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

3. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. Variety

A mix of compound bicep exercises can add variety to your routine and prevent boredom. This variety keeps your workouts interesting and prevents plateaus, as your muscles constantly adapt to new challenges.

6. 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.

Know More Daily calories Requirement To Build Arms

How To Plan A Compound Biceps Workout Routine

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

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do 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

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


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 be in pain after the workout?

A. It’s not normal to have arm pain after a workout. What you should be feeling is 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 a 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 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. The results will speak for themselves if you do these biceps compound exercises consistently.

Thanks for reading.

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