Mastering the technique of a bicep curl is a kind of domino effect that can help you in the rest of your workout regime . If you have strong arms, it can improve your grip, which means you get a boost in plowing through the last of your pull-up exercises. There are variations, small adjustments, and twists in the position of your wrist that can wring out a lot more benefits from curling your biceps with dumbbells, focusing on particular muscles in your arms to enhance its size and strength.
Maybe you’re not sure where to start or how to go about these variations or arm curl methods, which is why you’re here . This article focuses on giving you all the information and guidance you need for that, ranging from what a bicep curl even is, its benefits, how to do them, and more, so read on to find out all about it!
What is a Dumbbell Curl?
A dumbbell curl is a weight-training exercise that emphasizes the biceps, building on the muscles on your upper arms and a little on your lower arms. A dumbbell curl is performed by a grip on the underside of the dumbbells in each hand. Then, the dumbbells are lifted from your waist to your shoulder level, working the muscles on your arms. Starting with a lightweight dumbbell is your best bet if you’re a beginner. Another great thing about it is that, compared to barbells, a dumbbell allows a wider range of motion.
Benefits of Bicep Curls
There are a lot of benefits to reap from achieving mastery of arm curls, such as:
- Stronger Muscles
Bicep curls are focused mostly on the biceps brachii, the short head, and the long head, but a lot of the hard effort is also done by the rest of your arms. The brachioradialis stretches from your wrist to your elbow and the bone of your upper arm. It’s the part of your arm that boosts your lift in the curl. The brachialis is another part in your forearm that makes your motion and hold steady. This shows that an arm curl reinforces a lot of muscles in your arms.
- Improved Grip Strength
Great command over your grip will help you in a lot of other workout exercises as well. Although the hands and wrists are not the targets of dumbbell curls, it does get worked a lot in keeping it in a closed grip, so as you keep lifting and holding it tight, your grips get exercised to become stronger and better.
- Bigger Biceps
As you build up the muscles on your upper arms, your biceps have to become stronger to withstand the resistance and weight. Your forearms grow bigger, and the increased size ends up making your biceps look more muscular too. It also makes your elbow joint look smaller in comparison, which further emphasizes the shape and development of your biceps.
Types of Arm Curls and How to Do Them
- A Simple Bicep Curl
Why It Works: If you’re a beginner, this is as easy as it gets. It would do you well to start with something easy to feel for how much you can take and where you are in your journey to getting stronger arms.
How to Do It: Firstly, hold a dumbbell in each of your hands with a neutral grip. The placement of your feet as you do the curls should be apart according to shoulder or hip width so that your feet are steady with a firm hold to the surface of the floor. Do ensure that your hands are facing outward and that your elbows are near to your torso in proximity. Maintain a straight posture while keeping your shoulders aligned with your hips and bending your elbows slightly at your sides. Your neck and your head should remain in a normal position with your chin close to your chest. Check that your upper arms are not moving. When you raise your forearms and curl the dumbbells up towards your collarbones while squeezing your biceps, let out a breath and hold the position briefly still. As you straighten your arms again, lowering it back to its original position, take a breath in. Repeat this process.
It is recommended that a bicep curl is performed when the work done is just about to be finished after several compound exercises.
- Hammer Curls
Why It Works: This type of curl concentrates on the outer head of your bicep. It also reinforces the muscles of your forearms and your biceps in general.
How To Do It: It is called the hammer curl because when you put your arms down to your side, the arms and the dumbbell together create the look of a hammer. In this exercise, the palm of your hands should be directed towards each other throughout the exercise as you are gripping the dumbbell. It isn’t as much of a strain on the wrist joints in this way. Each dumbbell in hand is held at arm’s length. With the upper arms remaining still, curl the weight while tightening the biceps and breathing. Keep curling until the weight is up to your shoulder level, hold it briefly, and then inhale as you slowly bring it back down to where it was at the start. Repeat the process.
- Band Curls
Why It Works: The resistance band bicep article is a fun and different method of working your muscles. Here, instead of using dumbbells, you will use a band. The resistance of the band targets your biceps, toning your arms. With band curls, there is a change in the routine of dumbbells, and it is easier on the wrists if you have any past injuries or difficulties compared to weights, but make no mistake, it is still very challenging and will you sore the next day. Band curls can give a great workout while changing things up in terms of pace. Bands are also portable.
How to Do It: Keep your feet on the resistance band and grip the handles with your hands facing outwards. Slowly, begin the curls, contracting your biceps and arms as you pull the band up to your shoulders. Your elbows should be next to your waist as you do this. Then just as slowly, release the pull on the band, reverting it to the original position. Repeat the process.
- Concentration Curls
Why It Works: This is useful and highly effective for isolating the bicep muscles, toning them well. It’s also good for fortifying your lifting form.
How To Do It: Sit on a bench with your legs spreader wider than your hips. Place your feet and make them firm against the ground. Bring your torso near towards your knees at about 45 degrees.
The curling arm’s elbow should rest on the inside of the thigh, and the other hand should hold the knee on the same side. The arm that is curling should be mildly inclined at the elbow. Perform the curls, first on one side and then the other.
- Spider Curls
Why It Works: If you’re looking for something a lot more intense, spider curls are a good one for that. It gets your muscles working against gravity, and the benefits are also fruitful since this is great for building huge biceps. Spider curls are so called so because a person may resemble a spider when maintaining position to perform this exercise.
How to Do It: Begin by having your arms stretched towards the floor. Then, hold the dumbbells or barbell with your stretched arms while resting your triceps on a pad to keep your body from eliminating momentum.
Biceps Curls Variations
- Seated dumbbell curl
Seated dumbbell curls are exercises for biceps and forearms with beginner-level complexity. In this variation, the curls are performed using dumbbells while remaining seated on a weight bench. The movements are simple and easy enough for beginners to pick up and highly effective in building mass in your arms. The intensity of the movements makes up for their simplicity.
- Incline dumbbell curl
Incline dumbbell curls require the use of an incline bench to maintain the inclining position. Angles of the incline can be adjusted to focus on different muscle segments. The advantage of this variation of bicep curl exercise is that it aids in developing muscle peaks and increasing the size and strength of the upper arms. The movements in incline dumbbell curl are so specific that it isolates the bicep muscles to develop without working any other muscles. It leaves no room to cheat or place tension on other upper body parts like shoulders or back, as with seated dumbbell curls. The incline dumbbell curl is an optimal all-in-one exercise that focuses on the entirety of your biceps, long and short heads, using the same movements instead of doing different exercises to target each bicep head.
- Dumbbell Zottman Curl
This variation of dumbbell curl is done in a standing position with the feet apart at a distance equal to the hip width. As the name implies, it employs the dumbbell equipment lifted and lowered with a wrist twist in each movement, repeatedly. The dumbbell Zottman curl targets the biceps and forearm muscles primarily.
For the dumbbell Zottman curl, your initial position comprises holding the dumbbells in your hands while facing your palms forward. Take a stance equivalent to the width of your hips, maintaining your back in a straight position. Lift the dumbbells as you squeeze the muscles in your biceps. Once the dumbbells stop at the top, squeeze your biceps again and with more pressure this time. Then, rotate your wrists to make your palms face in the downwards direction. Gradually, bring the dumbbells down to the initial position. Repeat these movements as necessary.
Dumbbell Biceps Curl Form Tips
Many bicep curl exercises leave space for errors in form or cheating by utilizing other muscles of the upper body that may render the exercising efforts futile. As the dumbbell bicep curls employ isolation mechanics to build muscle, making use of the shoulder, back, or forearm muscles for easier or larger movements will not be helpful in the long run to develop bicep size and strength. Take a look at some of the tips provided below to ensure that you can optimize your bicep workout and maintain proper form.
· Lock your abdominal, leg, and glute muscles to prevent the distribution of tension in body parts other than the biceps.
· Keep your elbows as still as possible if you want to build substantial muscle peaks. Allow small movements of shoulders and elbows when squeezing your biceps but avoid excess in this regard.
· Use the full range of motion for maximum results. For the full range of motion, you should lift the dumbbells until the insides of your forearms touch your biceps and lower them until your entire elbow is stretched. Failure to employ full range motion reduces the stimulation to your bicep muscles and will produce no results. It may also lead to injuries.
· Do not drop the dumbbells loosely when lowering them in a curl. Try to control the motion and speed of dropping as much as possible as the resistance activates the bicep muscles by stretching them.
· Hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip, neither too tight nor too loose. Ensure that your wrists are not being pulled forward when holding the dumbbells, as it can cause your forearms to tire and reduce stimulation to the bicep muscles.
· Ensure that you repeat the same movements equal times to prevent unequal load on each arm. It will improve your gains from the workout.
· Pump and squeeze the muscles in your biceps when reaching the top to stimulate the muscle segments. According to scientific research, it is an important step in promoting muscle growth.
How to Work Out Safely and Avoid Injury
Some soreness and fatigue are normal following a workout, but be wary of experiencing any pain during the exercise. If you have a history of injury in the targeted muscles or any conditions, discuss it with your physician first before taking further steps. The exercises may have to be adjusted accordingly to achieve results and maintain well-being.
Listen closely to your body for any signals of extreme discomfort or pain. Do not take on weights that are more than your body can handle. Take breaks whenever needed and do not push too hard for additional reps. Any injury or damage will only hinder your exercise journey.
Gradually building up body strength is key to progress, along with a healthy dose of breaks. Rest for a day or two before working out the same muscle groups, food and warm-ups.