Arm Exercises

Stronger in 60 seconds: Curl Primer

Find your form and build your biceps

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Stronger in 60 seconds: Curl Primer

Biceps training is the easiest thing to do in the gym, right? It doesn’t take much thought, supposedly, which is why you see dozens of guys throwing 10-pound plates on the bar and curling as if it’s about to be outlawed.

The Problem

They’re not getting any stronger. The guys standing there doing barbell curls with dimes on the bar today will be doing the same thing a year from now, because they haven’t figured out how to get stronger. The six-step approach we’re offering here will jack up your biceps workouts immediately.

Workout Tips

1. Grip Selection - A wide grip means more tension is placed on the short head of your biceps, while a narrow grip focuses on the long head. Work both by changing your grip with every set.

2. Get Bent - The moment arm— or force production—of a barbell curl is greatest between 80 and 100 degrees of elbow flexion. This is where you produce the greatest amount of torque. For more force production to handle heavier loads, keep your arms slightly bent at the start of each rep.

3. Stay Tucked - Don’t let your elbows rise up or allow your shoulders to assist with the lift. You’ll develop less force in your biceps.

4. Retract - Keep your shoulder blades pinched together and back to restrict the amount of tension placed on the AC joint in your shoulders.

5. Kill the Momentum - Lift and lower the barbell in a controlled manner without swinging it. This will help you recruit the optimal number of muscle fibers for both growth and strength development.

6. Switch it Up - Change your rep counts each week to challenge the different muscle fibers in your arms. Perform between five to seven reps one week, then ramp it up to 20 to 30 the next.

The Workout

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Curl 4 5–30* 60 Seconds
Spider Curl 4 5–30* 60 Seconds
Banded Hundreds As many as it takes 100 30 Seconds

* Vary your rep range from low to high each week.

** Perform as many sets as it takes to achieve 100 reps by standing on an elastic strength band and curling it.

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