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Size matters. “There are huge benefits to having strong biceps,” says PT Ollie Clarke. Not only do they help to prevent injuries, they play a key role in all pulling movements. Load your arm cannons with Clarke’s advice.
Propping up the Bar
The barbell biceps curl is your simplest starting point for elbow flexion. “Stand tall, with your feet and hands at shoulder width,” says Clarke. “Breathe out as you curl all the way to the top. Squeeze your biceps, then inhale as you lower over a count of three.” Take 40 seconds to complete 10-12 reps, rest for a minute and repeat for four sets.
Get in a Twist
One of the biceps’ primary functions is to supinate, or rotate, the forearm. To bring maximum muscle into play, switch to a pair of dumbbells and embrace the twist. “Start with the dumbbells at your sides, then turn your wrist to face the ceiling as you curl up,” says Clarke. Complete 20 reps, rest for one minute and repeat for three sets.
Using lighter weights and isolating your biceps are smart ways to get extra work in without damaging your body. “A bench prevents swinging,” says Clarke. Kneeling in front of it, grab a light bar on the opposite side. Rest your upper arms on the bench and isolate your biceps, slowly curling towards your forehead. Squeeze, lower and repeat to failure.
Most Common Bicep Curl Mistakes
Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure you’re gunning to grow and not just putting on a show
There isn’t a muscle in his body that he won’t bring into play in order to curl that iron. “Using momentum might allow more weight to be lifted, but takes the focus away from the biceps,” says Clarke. Keep your torso upright, braced and still.
Nails the first half of each rep, but once he hits the top, it’s all downhill – dropping the bar at terminal velocity back to hip height. “If you don’t control the eccentric phase, you won’t get the most out of the move.” Maintain tension throughout.
Gets the bar from A to B, but takes a direct path, pushing his elbows back and dragging the barbell up his body. It’s a movement that isn’t without merit, but it’s better to screw your elbows to your torso and picture them as hinges, following a controlled arc.
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