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Arm day way of life for most of us. Most new lifters only know a few exercises — and the barbell and the most popular one is this staple and its multitude of variations. One variation that is often left out cold is the drag curl. Why? Because it’s hard.
The drag curl unlike a lot of other biceps curl variations takes body English and the deltoids out of the movement to focus more on the biceps. Plus, during the peak contraction, your elbows are behind your body which sets you up for an intense bicep contraction. The strict range of motion gives your biceps the time under tension they deserve for more flex appeal.
Here we will go into what the drag curl is, how to do it, muscles trained, benefits of training biceps, programming, and some variations and alternatives.
This drag curl has you set up with the barbell right against your body. Rather than curling up toward your shoulders, you’re dragging the barbell up to your body while your elbows go behind you. This strict and shorter range of motion takes the shoulders out to focus more on the biceps.
The momentum from other muscles here is minimal to increase the time under tension on the biceps for a more intense pump. Because of these factors, the weight you’ll use will be less but the benefits for your biceps will be worth it.
Besides vanity, there are other important reasons why to include biceps curl variations like the drag curl into your programming.
The point of the drag curl is to minimize shoulder involvement so the biceps can get all the love. Although a simple move to perform, here are a few considerations to help you get the best out of the drag curl exercise.
The biceps is a muscle group that assists in my pulling exercises, and it is best trained after your main strength exercises for the day. Doing so allows you to lift more weight. Here are a few programming suggestions to pump up your biceps with drag curls.
Doing three biceps exercises back-to-back to back at the end of your training will give your biceps all they can handle. For example
1A. Drag curls: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
1B. Concentration Curls: 3 sets of 8-12 reps each side
1C. Hammer curls: 3 sets of 12-20 reps
Mechanical drop sets have you starting with the most difficult exercise for a particular muscle group and pairing it with a less difficult variation and taking both to technical failure. For example, starting with drag curls and then performing barbell cheat curls. Burn baby burn.
The barbell and EZ-bar drag curl are variations that will allow you to lift the most weight. But if these tools aggravate your joints, don’t despair. Perform these variations instead.