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Hammer curls are done in the same manner as dumbbell curls except that the palms are directed inward and stay the same throughout the entire movement. That way you are training the forearms along with the biceps.
Alternate Dumbbell Curls:
Isolating the biceps of each arm, alternate dumbbell curls are variations of regular dumbbell curls in which one curls the dumbbell alternately with one arm and then the other. This will give you extra isolation so that you can focus on one arm at a time and keep cheating to a minimum.
Standing upright with a dumbbell hanging in each hand at arm’s length, curl one weight forward and up while holding the elbow steady at the waist, slightly twisting the wrist, bring the thumb down and pinky finger up. This will give the biceps the utmost contraction. Curling the weight as high as possible, control bringing it back down following the same arc. At the same time curling the other weight up so that both dumbbells are moving. Twist the wrist of the other hand as you bring the weight up. Continue alternating curls until you have accomplished the necessary reps with both arms. Be sure to fully extend and contract the arms to get the fullest range of movement possible.b.
One of the best ways to peaking the biceps, concentration curls create maximum height (peak) in the biceps, especially the outside of the biceps. A very strict movement for height not definition, feel free to use as much weight as you can manage. The term ‘concentration’ curls is significant, because you do really need to concentrate on the contraction of the biceps and on being strict in order for the exercise to be effective.
1. From a standing position, bend slightly taking a dumbbell in one hand, resting your free arm on your knee to stabilize yourself.
2. Curling the weight to the deltoid without any motion in the upper arm or elbow, make certain not to allow the elbow to rest against your thigh. While you are lifting, twist the wrist so the pinky finger winds up higher than your thumb. Tense the muscle to its fullest at the top of the curl, slowly lowering the weight. Resist the weight all the way down to the arm’s fullest extension. At the top of the curl the biceps receive the complete stress caused by the weight. Do not curl the weight to your chest. The weight must be curled to the shoulder to work the high outside of the biceps.
Two Hand Cable Curls:
Attaching a bar to a floor level cable and pulley, take hold of the bar with and underhand grip keeping the hands shoulder width apart. Keep your elbows firm at your sides while extending the arms out and down until the biceps are stretched completely. Curling the bar upward do not let the elbows move! Bring the bar just under the chin then contract the biceps on top as hard as you are able and slowly lower the bar until your arms extend downward fully with the biceps stretched. A shaping rather than a mass building exercise, the key here is to do the exercise slowly with accurate, smooth and fully controlled motions.
Cable Curls with Preacher Bench:
In order to do this exercise using a preacher bench sit placing the arms over the bench, holding them steady as you curl the weight up lowering it again slowly. Resist the weight all the way down.
Good for forearm development as well, this exercise is designed primarily for the development of the outside biceps.
1. Stand with feet a few inches apart, grasping the barbell with an overhand grip and holding it down in front of you at arm’s length.
2. Keep your elbows steady, curling the weight out and up until the bar is even with your chin. Lower the weight along the same arc while resisting it all the way down. With the bar gripped this way you are putting the biceps in the position of a mechanical disadvantage, that is you will not be able to curl as much weight. This reverse grip makes the top of the forearms work really hard. Reverse curls for the biceps as opposed to the forearms do not start with any kind of reverse wrist curl. Keeping the wrist steady as you curl the weight up, note that the thumb is held on top of the bar, which helps workout, the outside brachialis. As always, good luck developing huge guns!
“21’s” are a mixture of partial and full range movements. They are a great test of endurance and develop and shape the whole bicep. The exercise is called “21’s” because it combines 3 sets of 7 reps each.
1. From a standing or seated position using a barbell, holding it at arm’s length, arms at your sides.
2. Curl the weight upward stopping halfway as your forearms become parallel to the floor, then lower the weight to the starting position once again. Do this for seven reps and then, without stopping:
3. Curl the weight up all the way this time stopping half the way down, doing seven reps of this partial movement.
4. Last, do seven full range curls, this is the hard part so if exhaustion sets in at this point, finish the set with seven full range dumbbell curls. You may want to do this exercise in front of a mirror in order to see that you are lifting the required range.
Incline Dumbbell Curls:
This will develop muscle mass and bicep peaks simultaneously. When doing the movement to the front it is a basic biceps exercise. However, if you do it to the outside it becomes a specialized exercise for the development of the inner biceps.
1. Sitting back on an incline bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Keep elbows well forward throughout the movement, curling the weights forward up to shoulder level. Lowering the weights under full control, pausing at the bottom to keep from using the momentum to swing up on the next rep. You may get the best results from this exercise by pronating and supinating your wrists while doing the movement. Turn the wrists so the palms face each other at the bottom, then twist the weights as you are lifting so the palms turn upward then outward, at the top of the movement your pinky finger should be higher than your thumb.
Seated Dumbbell Curls:
To shape, build and define the biceps, do a standard curl with dumbbells rather than a barbell. This means you will be using a little less weight. The arms are left free to move along their natural range of motion while achieving a greater degree of contraction. You can cheat a little with this exercise too, just like barbell curls, but keep it to a minimum!
1. Sitting on the end of a flat bench or against the support of an incline bench adjusted to an upright position with a dumbbell in each hand and the hands held straight down at arm’s length turning the palms toward the body.
2. Steady the elbows to act as unmoving pivot points curling the weights forward and up. Twist your palms forward as you lift so the thumbs turn to the outside and the palms face up. Lifting the weights as high as you can give the biceps an extra flex to gain the utmost contraction. Lowering the dumbbells all the way down the same arc, resist the weight all the way down until the arms are extended to their fullest with the biceps stretched as much as possible. Twist the wrists as you raise and lower the dumbbells. This will cause a fuller contraction of the biceps and develop the inner biceps and build separation between the biceps and triceps. You can do this exercise standing as well as sitting. Standing will give you the freedom to use a little heavier weight but the movement will not be as strict.
Standing Barbell Curls:
The purpose of this exercise is to develop the overall size of the biceps and is considered the most basic and most popular of all exercises for the biceps. Standing with the feet only a few inches apart, hold the bar with an underhand grip with hands about a shoulder’s width apart letting the bar hang down in front of you at arm’s length. Curling the bar out and up in a wide arc, bring it up as high as possible with the elbows stationary and close in to the body. Keep the bar’s arc long and wide instead of bringing the straight up; which would make the movement too easy, fully flexing the biceps at the top of the movement.
Lowering the weight, follow the same arc and resist the weight all the way until your arms are fully extended down. A small amount of body movement is acceptable due to this being a mass-building movement, but body movement should be kept to a minimum unless you are deliberately doing ‘cheat’ curls. If you bend forward or lean back, you will cut down on your range of motion.
To develop extra mass and power in your biceps stand holding the bar as you would for bicep curls but using enough weight to make it hard to do more than a few strict reps. At this point, begin to swing the weight upwards making use of the shoulders and back to help the arms. The trick to this movement is to keep the biceps working as hard as possible, cheating only enough to keep the set going, keeping the elbows stationary at the waist. One can combine barbell curls and cheat curls, doing a normal set and when the arms become too tired for strict reps, load on extra weight and do some more cheat curls.
The purpose of preacher curls is the development of the lower biceps and lengthening the bicep muscles. Good for anyone with space between their lower biceps and elbow joint, preacher curls fill and shape this area helping to create thickness throughout the bicep. Preacher curls are even stricter in movement than normal barbell curls.
1. Positioning yourself chest against the bench, extend your arms over it at an angle, thus transferring stress to the lower biceps. Then take hold of the barbell with an underhand grip.
2. Hold your body steady and curl the bar all of the way up, lowering it again to the fullest extension. Resist the weight on the way down. You can utilize an E-Z curl bar for this or use the bench for one-arm dumbbell curls. Don’t lean back as you are lifting the bar and deliberately flex the muscle extra hard when coming to the top of the movement where there is only a little actual stress on the biceps.
The barbell curl done strictly or with cheating is the fundamental exercise for building bicep mass. The barbell curl continues to be a part of the exercise program from the beginning to the end. This is the only way to keep building muscle mass and thickness and maintain it. Dumbbell curls are also recommended from the beginning because the exercise allows one to twist the wrist, giving one a more total contraction and helping to acquire the fullness of shape of the muscle.
One arm curls are recommended as well right from the beginning. In doing these, lean a little to the side steadying oneself with one hand to allow for a free range of movement concentrating totally on each bicep in turn, which one can not do working both arms at the same time.
In advanced training, you will continue to build additional mass, but here you are concerned with creating separation and shaping the entire bicep. If your biceps lack length, work on lengthening them. Should your biceps are not peaked, work on developing height. Should they not be thick enough, make them thick! Incline dumbbell curls are the best exercise for building up the shape and quality of the biceps. You will also get a greater stretch capacity in the muscle. The concentration curl is specifically designed for creating bicep peaks.
The more you progress you can begin to superset your exercises, cutting down the intensity by shortening the time intervals. It’s a good idea to biceps and triceps, giving an enormous pump to the arms and makes one feel huge. You can also handle heavier weights for triceps when your biceps are pumped, which gives a kind of cushion to bounce off with each tricep rep. Besides mass building barbell curls, one also needs to do incline curls. This will help develop the lower part of the muscle. You will also need additional cable and dumbbell work, which will allow you to twist your wrist and shape the muscle more fully.
Some bodybuilders do not lower the weight to full extension with arms locked out because then they can’t lift as much weight. They forget that it is this lower area of the range of motion, which creates real thickness in the lower biceps and gives the muscle the appearance of coming right out of the forearm. When bodybuilders lock their arms out on curls they ruin the movement from the start by not doing a strict curling motion. What they are doing instead is lifting the weight using little shoulders and some back, wasting the first few movements in which the biceps simply are not involved.
Another mistake would be to bring the weight all of the way up, then neglecting to flex and contract the muscle. The bones and joints are under the most strain when the weight is up at the chin. Keep the muscle working by flexing it really hard or it will stay soft due to not keeping it under stress. You will never have full hard and rounded biceps if you get lazy at the top of your curl movements.
Big Biceps Cheat Curls:
Curls are one of the exercises where “cheating” can be most effective. Essentially a rotary movement, with curls the weight’s resistance works vertically. When doing curls, one lifts with a circular motion while gravity continues to pull the weight straight down. Sometimes during the movement one lifts out while at other times one is lifting up. In either case, the resistance is always up and down. One is never lifting continually in direct opposition to the weight as this makes the exercise less effective in certain parts of the movement.
Designers of curl machines make the statement their equipment, which works with rotary rather than linear motion is better for doing curls than barbells or dumbbells, but you don’t need a complex machine to surmount this difficulty. You can do some of your curls using weight that is too heavy for a strict curl. Even though you are using your back and shoulders to force the weight up, you are also forcing the biceps to work at maximum at every point along the curl.
A barbell or dumbbell is harder to lift at the point where your forearms are straight out than at the beginning of the movement when your are pointed more towards the floor. When doing “cheat curls” you can use weight that seems very heavy in the ‘easy’ part of the curl, then cheat a little to get past the ‘hard’ part when the resistance is too great to overcome by using strict technique. Cheat curls, however, should not be more than 25 to 30 percent of your biceps program because you also need a variety of strict movements in order to develop the overall quality of the muscle.
Let’s face it, big biceps are very sexy on both men and women. When you’re out with your friends and you tell people you’ve been working out, they will always ask you to flex your biceps! It’s kind of a measurement of how powerful and muscular you are. If you have big biceps, think of how good you’ll look in the summer wearing a tank top or cut-off sleeves! Now imagine your big biceps with a tan! Definitely an eye-catcher. Continue Reading…