Welcome to Modify This Move, a series that will provide you with all the information you need to modify a common exercise to suit your needs, your body, and your mood. Each tale explains a fundamental fitness action in detail before offering a variety of variations based on your current level of fitness or energy, any current or past ailments, or the muscles you wish to focus on the most. So leave your ego at the door and make sure every workout is appropriate for where you are right now.
You can confidently expect that an exercise that is called a “biceps curl” will target and strengthen the muscles that are named after them. But the name doesn’t fully convey the meaning.
In actuality, according to Keri Harvey , a NASM-certified personal trainer in New York City, the biceps curl also exercises a few joints in your upper body. She continues, “As you try to build your biceps, you also move your elbow back and forth, working on your joint health in that area, and you work to keep your shoulder stable. The biceps curl also requires you to use your core, as Harvey explains doing so keeps you stable and stops you from using momentum to swing the dumbbell up and down. And for that reason, she claims, this multipurpose exercise is a valuable supplement to your upper-body routines.
The traditional biceps curl isn’t the only exercise that gives you these benefits, though. If you want a low-intensity workout, whether you’re new to strength training or an experienced weightlifter, you may choose a biceps curl variation that’s easy on the body while yet being just as effective as the traditional technique. If you have shoulder or elbow pain, you can substitute a biceps curl variation for the standard workout to prevent aggravation of such pains. Whatever your motivation, there’s no shame in listening to your body and altering your routine to include a biceps curl variant that leaves you both physically and mentally powerful, relaxed, and pain-free. Additionally, because the biceps are divided between the long head and the short head, varying your curl workout will allow you to focus on one part more specifically.
Are you prepared to practice the basic upper-body move? Once you’ve mastered the standard biceps curl, refer to the instructions below to see how to change things up. Harvey presented five distinct biceps curl variations that are suitable for people of all fitness levels.
HOW TO CURL YOUR BICEPS A. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. With arms at your sides and palms facing forward, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
B. Using your biceps muscles, bring the dumbbells up toward your shoulders until your elbows are fully extended while keeping your core tight, your elbows tucked to your sides, and your shoulders down and back. Do not use momentum or sway to elevate the dumbbells.
C. After pausing, carefully lower the dumbbells back to their sides.
No matter how much you adore the classic biceps curl, there may be days when you simply prefer a different routine, and that’s fine. Don’t be afraid to try a biceps curl modification that will help you achieve your specific objectives and goals, whether the standard exercise is too difficult or you want to target particular muscle areas.
You may find biceps curl variations that increase or decrease the difficulty of the workout here, including biceps curl variations for elbow and shoulder back discomfort and a biceps curl variation to strengthen your grip. Whatever you decide, keep listening to your body as you push through your reps. If something doesn’t feel right, try a different activity.
CONCENTRATION CURL AS A BICEPS CURL VARIATION FOR UPGRADE Try the concentration curl when you’ve mastered the standard biceps curl and are ready to step things up. According to Harvey, you should practice this biceps curl variation with your elbow pressed up against your thigh while seated or half-kneeling. Your biceps will then face a formidable battle. You must simply use your biceps to lift the weight since there is no way in hell you can rock or swing it, she explains.
A. Place your feet on a bench with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing front, with your arm fully extended between your thighs and your right elbow resting on top of your thigh. the left hip with the left hand.
B. While keeping your shoulders back and your core tight, lift the dumbbell up toward your right shoulder by contracting your biceps muscle until your elbow is fully extended. Avoid swinging or lifting the dumbbell with momentum.
C. After pausing, carefully lower the dumbbell back between your legs. Repeat on the left.
BICEPS CURL ALTERATION: BICEPS CURL VARIATION TO SCALE DOWN For those who are new to biceps curls, this adjustment, which calls for curling just one dumbbell at a time, can be especially helpful. One bicep at a time allows you to concentrate, which Harvey says can occasionally help beginners make the mental and physical connections necessary to hold their core firmly in place throughout the exercise. Of course, seasoned athletes who wish to improve their form or tone up their training can certainly incorporate this biceps curl variation into their regimen.
A. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. With arms at your sides and palms facing forward, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
B. While keeping your core tight, your elbows at your sides, and your shoulders down and back, draw the dumbbell up toward your right shoulder by contracting the biceps muscle in your right arm until your elbow is fully extended. Do not use momentum or sway to elevate the dumbbells.
C. Pause, then carefully lower the dumbbell down to the right side.
D. While keeping your core tight, your elbows at your sides, and your shoulders down and back, draw the dumbbell up toward your left shoulder by contracting the biceps muscle in your left arm until your elbow is fully extended. Do not use momentum or sway to elevate the dumbbells.
E. After pausing, controllably lower the dumbbell back to its left side.
ANOTHER BICEPS CURL FOR ELBOW PAIN IS THE PREACHER CURL This biceps curl version, like the concentration curl, includes resting the triceps and elbow against a firm surface, making it the perfect exercise for persons with elbow pain or other joint problems, according to Harvey. She continues, “They’re stabilizing them so they don’t feel as vulnerable. You won’t hyperextend your elbow in any manner because they are supported the entire time, allowing you to concentrate just on the curl.
A. Stand behind a bench with the backrest at a 45-degree angle, feet hip-width apart. Right arm completely extended down the bench, hold a dumbbell in the right hand with palm facing forward, and rest right elbow and tricep on the backrest. Put your left hand on the bench’s left side for support.
C. After pausing, carefully lower the weight back to the bench. Repeat on the left.
WALL BICEPS CURL: A BICEPS CURL CHANGE FOR SHOULDER PAIN Instead of standing freely, this biceps curl version has you pressing your upper back against a wall, which Harvey believes can be quite beneficial for people with shoulder problems. It is “extremely simple to allow your shoulders to lean forward, enabling the weight to be in charge instead of you” when performing a typical biceps curl, the expert warns. If you’re concentrating on “keeping” your upper back touching the wall at all times, you can simply move the weight with the biceps rather than the shoulders because the shoulders “give” stability and support.
A. Place your upper back against the wall while you stand in front of a wall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. With arms at your sides and palms facing forward, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
ZOTTMAN CURL AS A BICEPS CURL VARIATION TO STRENGTHEN FOREARMS AND GRIP She claims that Harvey loves doing this particular biceps curl variation, and for good reason: She says that the exercise is excellent for improving grip strength and forearm strength in particular. It helps with mobility, too. Just be sure to use lesser dumbbells than you would normally use, as lowering the weight with your hands facing down might be particularly difficult for your forearms because this is a direction your muscles are probably not used to functioning in.
C. Rotate your thumbs so that your palms are facing forward at the top of the motion. After that, carefully and gradually lower the dumbbells back to the sides.
Artist and photographer Jenna Brillhart Keri Harvey, a fitness professional and model Makeup and hair: Tee Chavez hosiery: Aerie Workout Bench: SPRI’s Ignite