Arm Exercises

How to Master the Behind-the-back Curl

This curl variation keeps constant tension on your biceps, prevents cheating, and helps blow up your guns in a flash.

Behind-the-back Curl
Pavel Ythjall / M+F Magazine

Sparking biceps growth takes a little out-of-the-box thinking for gym veterans. And one variation that’s often overlooked is the behind-the-back biceps curl. The reason this move works so well is the way it positions your muscle: Standing in front of a low cable with the weight dragging behind you places your biceps in a stretched position to an exaggerated degree; the longer the stretch, the more time your muscle spends under tension (which is crucial for growth). We suggest saving this curl for the end of your routine, since you’ll be using light weight. Crank out 15 to 20 reps and perform two to three sets per arm.

How to: Behind-the-back Curl

1) Attach a D-handle to the low pulley of a cable machine, grasp the handle in your right hand, and step forward (away from the machine) until there is tension on the cable and your arm is drawn slightly behind your body.

2) Stagger your feet so that your left leg is in front, and squeeze your shoulder blades together to lock your arm in place.

3) Squeeze your biceps and then curl the handle up toward your shoulder, not allowing your elbow to point forward. Hold the contraction for 1 to 2 seconds, then lower the weight slowly back down.

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