The Best
Bicep Curl Technique



The bicep curl and its variations are some of the most common exercises around. But how many of us do them properly? Avoid injury with these instructions and videos for the best technique.

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Strengthening your biceps isn't all about "big guns" or bodybuilding (although most guys won't admit it!). But let's face it, we all (men and women) love to show off our biceps - if they're there to be seen.

So in this case, size doesn't matter (phew). It's more about tone and definition. The biceps have a natural bulge, and doing various sorts of curls will bring that shape out.

Combine this with fat burning exercises, and you'll soon have some very sexy toned arms.

Let's not forget that there's an important functional element to strong biceps. Everyday activities from carrying the baby to lifting the shopping bags all require good bicep strength.

If you don't have that basic strength, you're likely to compensate by using other parts of your body (e.g. your back and hips). That's a common route to injury.

The same applies for bicep curl exercises. If the dumbbells are too heavy or if you have poor technique, you won't be working your biceps effectively and you'll be risking injury.

Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Using dumbbells (rather than a barbell) allows you focus on each arm separately, one arm will naturally be weaker than the other.

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, core muscles braced, shoulders back and down.
  • Hold the dumbbells down by your sides, palms facing in (towards your body). Your elbows should stay fixed to your side throughout.
  • Focus on your biceps and lift the dumbbells by bending at your elbow.
  • As you lift, turn your palms to face up.
  • Then slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position, keeping full control of the movement.
  • Click here to sort out your reps and sets.

Tips:

  1. Keep your hips and body still throughout. If you have to rock your body or use momentum then the weight's too heavy.
  2. Remember to breathe - exhale when lifting up, and inhale when recovering back down.
  3. If you're just starting out with dumbbells, progress from: standing by leaning your back against a wall - to standing without support (as described above).
  4. For even more precision and control, try lifting the dumbbells 1 at-a-time.

Exercise Pictures

Bicep Curl Variations

These common variations all work your biceps in slightly different ways. It's good to mix them up every 6 weeks or so, to keep progressing with new challenges.

Concentration Bicep Curl

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, feet firmly flat on the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbell in your right hand, lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight.
  • Rest your right elbow on the inside of your right thigh. Place your left hand on your left knee to stabilize yourself.
  • Slowly lift the dumbbell by bending at your elbow, keep everything else still.
  • Then slowly lower it back down, keeping your elbow slightly bent at the bottom of the rep.
  • Do equal amounts of reps and sets for both arms.

Tips: Keep control of your movement throughout the exercise, on the way up and down. Slow, steady lifts with good technique will produce faster results and keep you injury free.

Hammer Bicep Curl

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, core muscles braced, shoulders back and down.
  • Hold the dumbbells down by your sides, palms facing in (towards your body). Your elbows should stay fixed to your side throughout.
  • Focus on your biceps and lift the dumbbells by bending at your elbow.
  • Then slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position, keeping full control of the movement.
  • You can lift both arms together or separately, but do equal reps and sets for each.

Tips: Keep control of your movement throughout the exercise, on the way up and down. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you recover.

Incline Bicep Curl

These are much harder, so lower your dumbbell weight if necessary:

  • Lie on an incline bench, or lean your back against an exercise ball keeping your feet on the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbells and let your arms hang down, palms facing in (towards your body). Your elbows should stay close by your sides throughout.
  • Focus on your biceps and lift the dumbbells by bending at your elbow.
  • As you lift, turn your palms to face up.
  • Then slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position, keeping full control of the movement.
  • You can lift both arms together or separately, but do equal reps and sets for each.

Tips: Keep a closer eye on your technique. Slow, steady lifts will strengthen your biceps faster and keep you injury free.

Whole Body Bicep Curl Variation

Specific exercises for your biceps are good for if you're returning from an injury, or you need to isolate your biceps for any reason.

But as always, for general exercise fitness it's best to do whole body workouts. This example combines bicep curls with lunges:

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold the dumbbells down by your sides, palms facing forward. Your elbows should stay fixed to your side throughout.
  • Lunge forward with your right foot, until your knees are both at a right angles (right knee forward, left knee down).
  • Then come back up by pushing through your right foot and do the bicep curl on your way up.
  • That's 1 rep. Do all your reps with the right leg, then switch onto your left leg and repeat.

Tips: Keep going steady and smooth with a light dumbbell. Remember to keep breathing whilst staying concentrated on your movements.

Bicep Curl Videos

Enjoy these dumbbell exercises! Want a visual idea of the best technique? Check out these great videos:



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