How To Do A Bicep Curl

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

how to do bicep curls

A bicep curl is probably the most familiar weight training exercise around. When someone walks into a workout room and they aren’t sure what to do, they usually default to the ever-popular bicep curl. Why? It’s simple, effective, and can be done by almost anyone.

No matter what bicep curl variation you choose, the bicep curls is an excellent move for sculpting your arms and making you stronger and fitter in your upper body. Check our 10 Minutes to Beautiful Biceps workout.

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    How To Do A Bicep Curl

    1. Stand with feet hip distance apart. Start by holding the dumbbells down next to the sides of your legs with arms fully extended, a slight bend in the elbow and palms facing forward.
    2. Bend your elbows and curl your dumbbells up to your shoulders, make sure you curl all the way to the top.
    3. Lower the weights back down making sure to straighten your arms until they are next to your legs where you started.

    It is essential to use proper form when practicing any exercise including the bicep curl. Without perfect form, you end up using momentum or shortening your range of momentum, both of which will discount any gains you are trying to make.

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”gyWgusPL” upload-date=”2019-05-13T20:07:42.000Z” name=”10 Minutes To Beautiful Biceps At-Home Workout” description=”Sculpt beautiful biceps with this 10-minute arm workout.”]

    Bicep Curl Variations

    Here’s something you might NOT know about learning how to do a bicep curl: there are many different ways you can change up the speed and tempo to create more time under tension for your biceps giving them more strength for the time you are working.

    Once you’ve established the correct form of a standard bicep curl, try this: curl the weights up in one count, then lower them down for the count of 4.

    Notice as you lower more slowly you resist gravity for longer and feel more strength needed. Another time you try bicep curls, curl the dumbbell up for 4 slow counts and lower down for 4 slow counts. Same thing applies, right?

    Now here’s a really good trick: Curl up to your shoulders for 1 counts. Lower only to halfway and then hold for 4 counts before lowering back down to the start for another four counts.

    All of these different ideas make the bicep curl more challenging and more interesting.

    What Muscles Do Bicep Curls Work?

    A bicep curl is a basic dumbbell exercise that strengthens the biceps muscles of your upper arms.

    Benefits of Bicep Curls

    There are many reasons you should incorporate bicep curl into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Strengthens Biceps

    A bicep curl is a pretty straight-forward exercise. It even says so in its name. Curling the dumbbell and releasing with control is a way to strengthen your bicep muscle. It’s a great isolation exercise for strengthening and shaping your arms.

    Strengthens Triceps

    Bicep curls target the biceps but the triceps get some residual work as well. As you lengthen your arm down to the original position the triceps are the helpers.

    Improves Core Strength and Stability

    A bicep curl is definitely an isolated arm move. However, given heavy enough weights your core is still pulled in and challenged during this move. Whether you are standing or kneeling, you can pull your low abs in and use them to keep you standing tall and strong throughout the move.

    How Many Calories Does a Bicep Curl Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at higher intensity. Bottom line: the harder you work, the more calories you burn.

    Bicep curl builds muscle in your arm and while it won’t create a big calorie burn, it will develop more muscle on your body to help you burn more calories.

    Other Exercises Similar to Bicep Curls

    If you like the bicep curl and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

    How To Do Shoulder Overhead Press

    How To Do Chest Press

    How To Do Tricep Overhead Extensions

    Incorporating Bicep Curls Into Your Workouts

    A bicep curl is a great exercise to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate it into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use Bicep Curl In An Upper Body Challenge

    Concentrating an entire workout to your upper body is an effective way to make change. Working all your upper body muscles can make for one intense training session. Use this workout as your arm day challenge. You’ll sculpt and shape your upper body. Keep working at it consistently and you’ll see change in the shape of your upper body!

    Arm Day Workout: Try each exercise below for the number of repetitions listed with just a few seconds in between to rest.

    Repeat one more time

    Use Bicep Curls In Your Full Body Strength Workout

    Full body workouts take one session and tackle all the muscles. Not only do you make the most of your time, but you get your heart rate up as well. Take one workout and get it all done! This next workout gets it all done and includes bicep curl as well as a bunch of other basic strength moves you’ll love. Grab a set of dumbbells and follow along.

    Full Body Strength Workout: Warm up for about 2-3 minutes then, do between 10-15 of each of the following moves:

    Use Bicep Curls In An AMRAP Workout

    AMRAP = “As Many Rounds As Possible.” Take 3 exercises, set a timer for 3 minutes and see how many rounds of those 3 exercises you can finish in your 3 minutes!

    10 Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout: The groups below have 3 exercises listed. Go through the list of 3 as many times as possible for 3 minutes. Take a 30-second break then move to the next group until you’ve done them all.

    Group 1

    Group 2

    Group 3

    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate Bicep Curl:

    Targets: biceps


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