You've heard the drumbeat so many times that you read right over the words: "Use good form, squeeze the muscle at the point of peak contraction, use a full range of motion." Yeah, you already do all those things ... or do you?
Arguably, at least 90% of the people I see at the gym make one crucial error on biceps curling movements even though they think they're working their arms the best way possible. And what they don't know they're doing can be counterproductive to their goals of trying to build big biceps. Here's why.
During many curling exercises, you start with your elbows by your sides, contracting your biceps to raise the weight. But if you're going all the way up to the point where the bar is beneath your chin or at shoulder height, your front delts have assisted in the move, pulling your elbows forward.
Limit Your Cheating
"People tend to bring their elbows forward for two simple reasons," says Ernesto Osorio, CSCS, a personal trainer with One2One Fitness in Houston. "The first is trying to achieve a greater peak contraction of the biceps. The second reason is that of pride and ego - you can typically use more weight when you're not isolating the target muscle, a nice way of saying you're cheating. And while it's okay to occasionally use cheating techniques to spark growth, doing so on every rep can hamper your progress.