Too many times have I seen young aspiring weight trainers heave and try and jerk the weight up when doing the barbell curl.
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How many times have I seen young trainers load up the bar and almost bend in half trying to get the weight up.
Well, I can honestly say that I've been a victim of this kind of training in my early days. I vividly remember hearing how Arnold used to curl 250 pounds and really cheat to get that weight up.
Well, I wanted to be just like Arnold and I tried using that type of technique and kept at it for about 3 months - Until I hurt myself. I put way too much pressure on my connective joints and really sent my shoulders and back for a ride.
Anyways, I've come to realize that you really have to know what you're doing when it comes to cheat curls. However, I've also come to realize that you really don't need to cheat at all when it comes to barbell curls to get the maximum effect.
With the traditional barbell curl, you stand straight up and keep your elbows at your sides with a barbell in your hand. You than proceed to curl the weight up until it reaches your upper chest area and than you lower the weight back to the starting position.
Now, if you want to build biceps, barbell curls can help. There's no question about it but there is a way to perform the barbell curl that can improve your results.
Over the years, I've experimented with 101 ways to do the barbell curl. Want to know something, I've come to realize that if you can do these two things, you will get more out of the barbell curl.
As you can see, this is the traditional way to do the barbell curl.
Now, I think it was the late, great Vince Gironda who came up with this type of curl but he called them body drags.
Basically, you drag the barbell up and across the front of your body when doing a barbell curl. Instead of curling directly up with the barbell, you bring your elbows back and start the curl in that position.
Now, the thing you're doing here is taking the pressure off the front shoulder which happens with traditional barbell curls, and placing that stress on the biceps.
This cuts down on cheating, which you cant do with body drags and adding much more stress to the biceps. Now, after some experimenting, I dont do strict body drags but I do bring my elbows back but not enough for the barbell to be touching my body. Its just enough for the barbell to come back by an inch or so.
To really get the most from this type of movement, heres what you need to do. You need to lean your upper body forward by about an inch. That is, bend slightly forward by about 10%.
By doing this, you transfer all the stress to the biceps and keep it off your front shoulders. Also try and use a slightly wider than shoulder grip. Now, you may have to lighten the load a bit but it's well worth it because you will be transferring all the stress to your biceps while reducing shoulder involvement - Very important.
I'm 100% positive that if you can get into the habit of doing your barbell curls in this fashion, you'll start to feel a difference immediately.
Until next time,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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