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Dumbbell Twist Curls Drop Set

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

This monster bicep exercise demands that you "rep out"—perform as many repetitions as you can, until you can do no more; then drop down to a lower weight and rep out again. By taking your biceps to total fatigue you force the development of new, stronger muscle fibers. This is not an exercise to do daily, but it will add punch to your regular bicep training regimen.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Choose four pairs of dumbbells in decreasing weights. The heaviest should be a pair of weights that you feel you can lift six to eight times before reaching muscle failure (the point at which you cannot lift the weights in a smooth, controlled way for another repetition). Stand upright with the heaviest dumbbells held in each hand at your sides and your palms facing inward in the hammer position (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, lift the dumbbells up together in a hammer curl (see Photo 2).
  2. When you reach the top of the hammer curl, twist the dumbbells so that your palms are facing in toward you and slowly lower the dumbbells down in a regular curl (see Photo 3 and 4).
  3. At the bottom of the regular curl, twist the dumbbells back to starting hammer curl position and begin your next curl. Repeat until you reach failure—you cannot smoothly lift the weights another time—and then drop down to a lighter set of weights and continue doing curls until you again reach failure with the lighter weights.
  4. Perform four sets total (such that you have dropped a total of three weight levels and end with a fourth, lightest, set of weights), each time reaching failure before switching weights.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.