When it comes to arm muscles, it’s important to make the most of your technique before adding more weight. Make your curls more effective, before making them heavier.
That’s why I love this simple tweak that you can do today at the gym to make biceps curls even better.
Hand Placement for Bicep Gains
When you’re doing a standard dumbbell bicep curl, try moving your hand all the way to the outside of the dumbbell. That is: make sure your thumb is right up against the head of the dumbbell.
This will leave you with a space between your pinky finger and the opposite head of the dumbbell.
Your hand and bicep will now have to compensate for the uneven load, which will cause some extra work for your arms, and may have the effect of some really fun soreness the next day.
By increasing the distance between your pinky finger and the head of the dumbbell, you force your biceps to work harder to stabilize the hand and keep the dumbbell level.
The anti-rotational element added into the curl will activate the brachialis (one of the two biceps muscles) more than an average curl.
With your arms bent at 90 degrees (like the middle of a biceps curl) and your thumbs up toward the ceiling, rotate the thumbs out, away from the body. Notice what happens to your biceps when you do this.
You should get a small contraction in the biceps, without doing a normal bicep curl type movement.
Small tweaks like this can help you do more with less, and get more out of your workout.
If you’re interested in taking your biceps to the next level, you need to make sure you’re working the muscle at different angles.
To get a total biceps workout, you must make sure that you get peak contractions (where you’re resisting gravity the most) when the muscle is in a lengthened position, a medium position, and a shortened position.
Did I lose you? Here’s what I mean.
This is when your upper arms are behind your body. Think about a seated incline biceps curl. When you lean back against the bench, and your arms are behind your body.
The peak contraction of the move will be when your arms are roughly at a 60 degree angle, and your hands are closer to your shoulders.
Regular standing biceps curl – make sure your arms are at your side and braced against your side so the elbow doesn’t move during the exercise. Alternatively, stand with your back against the wall.
The peak contraction, when you’re resisting gravity the most will occur when your elbow is at 90 degrees.
Preacher curl – sitting or standing at a preacher curl with your elbows in front of you. (protip: don’t go to full extension on these, leave a little bend in the elbow)
The peak contraction of this move is going to be at roughly 135 degrees, right at the beginning of the exercise.
To hit your biceps most effectively, combine one exercise from each category and do 3 sets of 10-20 reps.
For most of us the order we do them in wont matter, but for best results do them in the order listed, so your biceps will be warm and ready by the time you hit the preacher curl.
Try this one out and let me know what you think! Remember, work smarter, not just harder.