The biceps curl is another highly recognizable weight training exercise working the muscles of the upper arm, the biceps, and to a lesser extent, the lower arm muscles.
Variations include standing position, seated, incline seated, and ‘concentration’ position with elbow resting on the (seated) inner thigh. The barbell is also used in a similar set of curl exercises. This description is for the alternating dumbbell arm curl.
As for all exercises, don’t lift too heavy to begin with and stop if pain is felt. Remember to exhale on effort and don’t hold the breath.
Muscles worked: biceps muscles at the front of the upper arm, and also the muscles of the lower arm, the brachialis and brachioradialis.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the sides with palms facing toward the side of the thigh and arms straight down.
Position the feet comfortably about shoulder width apart.
Brace the stomach muscles ready to lift the weight.
Lift one dumbbell toward the shoulder, rotating the arm as it moves up so that the palm with dumbbell is now facing upward (supine) and the elbow is pointing to the ground with the forearm almost vertical. One arm at a time is called a unilateral exercise.
Lower to the side position and perform the same movement with the other arm and continue to alternate until the set is complete.
A variation is to do the exercise bilaterally, that is with both arms at the same time. Refine the unilateral lift first before moving on to this exercise.
Try ten exercises with each arm for three sets. If this is too much to start with, don’t reduce the weight but do five exercises with each arm.
Don’t pull the dumbbell so far back that the forearm moves beyond a vertical position. That is, don’t have the dumbbell headed over your shoulder.
Concentrate on good form rather than rapid execution, at least when starting out. Feel the ‘burn’ when doing these exercises.
Don’t recruit the shoulders and torso when doing the dumbbell curl, which can end up as a twisting and heaving movement. Concentrate on the arms. Choose lighter weights or reduce the repetitions if this occurs.
That’s it. Most people, men and women, detect a noticeable increase in strength — and bulk for some — with this exercise.