Bicep curl

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2007 9:02 PM GMT
    Hi (1st post)

    What do you think is the best technique for bicep curls (using dumbells)?

    I've seen a hundred different ways - standing, sitting, supporting the upper arm, forearm rotated etc etc.
    Is it good to fully extend the arm? I can lift more weight doing 3/4 or 1/2 of the full reach.

    I suppose it's important to prevent the shoulder/body moving and isolate the bicep.

    I'd appreciate any info/opinions.
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    Jul 14, 2007 8:15 AM GMT
    I don't have alot of experience, but the Strong and Lean program says for the standing bicep curl, "hold your elbows in front of your ribs; this will help keep the biceps muscle engaged throughout the movement, and will prevent you from inadvertently swinging your body to lift the weight, an activity that makes trainers cringe."
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    Jul 14, 2007 9:32 AM GMT
    There are many legitimate and effective ways to do bicep curls with dumbbells. But they all have a few points in common.

    1) as PhilBuster says, it's important to stabilize the shoulders and back so you're not swinging the weight around...

    2) slower, controlled movements are inherently safer than fast reps, and are generally more effective.

    3) any change of geometry will affect what muscle fiber bundles are being used - so make your form as consistent as possible.

    Your comment about extending the arm raises an interesting point. Lifting a heavier weight is not necessarily to your benefit. Unless you plan on being a powerlifter, there is no particular benefit to trying to lift very heavy weights. The important thing is to lift correctly at a high (65+) percentage of your maximum lift. How heavy that actually IS doesn't matter. So sacrificing range of motion in order to use a heavier weight is not a great idea. You will just put a greater strain on joints and tendons that will eventually cause you problems.
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    Jul 19, 2007 2:10 AM GMT
    Both good replies, and you're right - there are literally hundreds of variations on the simple bicep curl.

    in the 12 wk workout plan on this site, i found that the exercise called "21's" was really effective.

    One set of 21's is structured so that you curl from hand at your side to parallel 7 times, then from parallel to shoulder 7 times, then full range from hand at side to shoulder 7 times. It's tough but very effective.
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    Jul 31, 2007 9:56 AM GMT
    I agree with BigJoey, don't sacrifice form for more weight.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jul 31, 2007 3:25 PM GMT
    Joeys on target- as a variation u can ry dumbell preacher curls. Mike
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    Aug 01, 2007 4:07 PM GMT
    And I also discovered lots of benefit from doing both pronated and supinated (palms down/palms up). Pronated will probably require less weight - at least it did in my case.
  • liftordie

    Posts: 823

    Aug 01, 2007 5:11 PM GMT
    my favorite bicep exercise is alternating dumbbell curls. the secret is the twist action at the top. you do not bring the dumbbell straight up but instead across ur chest bringing the inside head of the dumbbell towards the opposite nipple of the arm you are working. it sounds complicated but it is one helluva pump!! i use 30 35 and 40s three sets. 12 10 10. take it slow and easy!!
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    Aug 02, 2007 5:48 AM GMT
    Oooooh... I like that one.
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    Aug 03, 2007 6:29 PM GMT
    The "twisting" action is actually called supination of the forearms. This is one of the primary motions of the bicep. Most people think biceps just does elbow flexion, while it actually also performs forearm supination and shoulder flexion.

    You can see this by having your elbows bend and resting your forearms with the palms down, then just turn palms up. You will see that you bicep is contracting during this motion.

    BIcpes do not go into full contraction if there is no forearm supination involved...

    Likewsie, when people do reverse arm curls with the palms facing down, they are actually working less on the bicpes but more on a deeper arm muscle called brachialis and also the forearm wrist extensors...

    And this also applies to lat pull downs. When you do this exercise with the palms facing in towards your face, you are using more bicep than lats... Narrow grip of lat pull downs also work more the bicep than lats.
  • ftwcycle

    Posts: 111

    Aug 18, 2007 5:47 PM GMT
    Hey Liftordie and NYCMusc4Musc..thanks for that great explanation. After reading your advice (and getting the definitions of supination, flexion and brachialis), I tried my last set of bicep curls in this style. My arms feel so big I can hardly type!
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    Aug 18, 2007 6:23 PM GMT
    Yum! Let me feel them! :)
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    Sep 12, 2007 8:22 PM GMT
    I've been focusing on fully extending the arm on biceps, while making sure my back or any other muscle doesnt get involved...it makes a difference.