Flex a muscle. I didn’t even have to specify which one, now did I? Odds are, a hundred to one, that you just flexed your biceps. No matter who you are or what your goals in the gym happen to be, we all want bigger and better bis hanging out of our shirtsleeves. AndAHF is here to make sure you accomplish that aim – read on and you’ll be on your way to improved biceps in no time!
Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Dumbbells have a huge advantage over a barbell when it comes to curls, because each arm must work independently of the other. With a barbell, it’s easy for the stronger arm to “pick up the slack” for the weaker one. Over time, that often leads to one arm being noticeably larger than the other – never an attractive look. When it comes to developing your body – symmetry is king. Dumbbell curls also work both functions of the biceps: arm flexion (bringing the hand toward the shoulder) and hand supination (rotating the thumbs away from the body).
Begin with your arms hanging at your sides, palms facing in. Curl one arm up while gradually rotating your hand so that your palm is facing your shoulder at the top of the rep. Lower slowly, reversing the twisting motion so that your palm finishes facing your body once more. Keep your torso upright and straight, and don’t “lean into” the working arm, because that shortens your range of motion. Repeat with the other arm, and alternate until you reach failure.
Incline Dumbbell Curls
One drawback to curling with free weights is that gravity always pulls straight down. Meanwhile, the motion of a curl is semi-circular. Because of this, both the bottom and top segments of a rep are far easier than the mid-point. Give 60-pound dumbbells to a beginner, and he could probably swing them up a couple of inches before getting stuck. The answer to this dilemma lies in incline curls. By altering the angle of your body, you “trick” gravity and get full tension on the biceps from the start.
The form is nearly identical to that of alternate curls, except your torso leans back. Curl up until your biceps are fully contracted. Due to the angle you are at, your hands should be nowhere near your shoulders at the top of the rep. You can use both arms at once until you reach failure, and then alternate arms in order to get another couple of growth-inducing reps. Let your biceps stretch down so that your arms hang straight toward the floor at the bottom of the rep; this ensures a full range of motion. You can vary the angle of the bench from set to set, or from workout to workout, to provide variety and fresh stimulation.
Studies have shown that we can generate greater force using one arm at a time than we can using both. To capitalize on this quirk of our neuromuscular system, include concentration curls in your biceps training. These curls are often the tool of choice for bodybuilders to finish off their biceps workouts. You don’t need to use a lot of weight either.
By using your inner thigh as a “preacher bench,” you can isolate the biceps and make sure it does 100 percent of the work. Start with your arm fully extended, braced up against your thigh so that there is no extraneous movement. Slowly curl up and flex the biceps with all your might at the top before lowering under control. This is a very effective movement for working the mid-point of a curl, and if there’s a biceps peak in your genes, concentration curls will definitely bring it out.