Perform the bicep-building curl more effectively for toned arms and muscle-mass gains.
EZ-bars have an undulating middle section. This enables the biceps to be effectively isolated while using a joint-friendly grip. You need to keep your wrists in the strongest position possible, and turning them in towards your body ‘locks’ the joint and keeps it stable. If you’re an experienced lifter, you can cock your wrists away from your body to lessen the role of the forearms and place greater emphasis on the biceps. Always warm up first and don’t lift too heavy, as it places significant strain on the wrists.
Bring in the biceps
To get bigger biceps, you need to ensure that they are doing as much of the lifting as possible, so eliminate any momentum, to make your muscles do more work. Start with both of your arms fully extended, with your triceps tensed, then initiate each rep by squeezing your biceps. Don’t start by swinging your elbows forwards. Keep the tension on your biceps and continue to squeeze the bar
as it rises. Once at the top of the move, squeeze your biceps hard, then lower the bar slowly, straightening your arms fully at the bottom before you start the next rep.
For a standing curl, your elbows should remain tight at your sides for the duration of each rep. If your elbows move up or forwards, this takes the tension away from your biceps, and you want these muscles to do as much of the work as possible for maximum growth. If you’re seated at a preacher bench, then your elbows and the backs of your upper arms need to be flush against the padding throughout. If you can’t lift the bar without your elbows moving, standing or seated, the weight is too heavy. Reduce it.
When standing, retract your shoulder blades and raise your chest to keep your torso as upright as possible. Doing so prevents your upper back and shoulders hunching forward, which creates poor posture, increasing the pressure on your joints and decreasing the range of motion through which you can move the bar. When seated, you also want to keep your shoulders back to prevent leaning forward over the bench, in order to maintain the safest lifting posture possible.
Always ensure your head is held high throughout the set, and keep your head and neck aligned by focusing on raising your chin. It can be tempting – especially when a set gets hard – to let your chin drop towards your chest, but it places pressure on your neck and upper spine, which can lead to the shoulders rolling forward too. Stand in front of a mirror so you can keep an eye on your form, and then focus on keeping your chin up, and your head and neck aligned.
Words: Joe Warner | Photography: