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A Real Newb Question: Bicep Curls

I know some people around here think they are totally useless.

On the days I do them, I’m working compound lifts to simple lifts, so the bicep curl is generally my last lift of the day (I might do some pullups, or whatever after just to feel done).

So lets say, against what seems like most people are saying, I want direct bicep stimulation.

I’ve been doing curls on the preacher bench, and also mixing it up with the dumbbells.

Besides the obvious “what’s the best direct bicep stimulation”, I also notice that by the end of my sets on the preacher bench the outside (if my arms are my my side) of my forearm really gets sore/feels tight. I don’t notice this with anything but the when I do the curls on the preacher.

Is this the result of bad technique on my part, or a severely underdeveloped muscle that I’m just not hitting doing anything else?

It actually hurts more after I’m done lifting, and unclench my grip on the bar, than when I’m actually lifting. The sensation runs down the length of my forearm along the bone.

Thanks.

The muscles in your forearms are weak. It comes from not curling enough and only doing isometric forarm work, like deadlifts. Yes, bicep curls work the forearms.

The solution for now is to do things that dont hurt. And to release your grip on the weight slower, after you finish the set.

There are quite a few other threads about this exact problem. It is NOT an injury or form problem. It’s simply from underuse. 8-10 sets of bicep curls (many varieties) 1-2 times per week is optimal. Also, preacher curls will stress the short head of the bicep. To emphasize the long head you need to put the bicep in a stretched position before it contracts. This is best achived with incline dumbell curls, but the amount of weight used on these will never be that much. You should be doing standing dumbell/barbell work in addition to preacher bench stuff. Or curl off the deep end of the bench if you like the stability.

As always, thanks for your help.

The pain isn’t that bad, just wanted to make sure it was pain from being weak, and not pain from doing something wrong.

Is there a name for that problem so I can use the search function? I browsed through the beginner section and didn’t see anything.

So I’d assume it’d make sense to do the inclined curls first, then standing curls, and then preacher curls last? Would that make me good for direct bicep work? I’m picking that order because that would be greatest range of motion to least range of motion/lightest to heaviest. Or is my logic off.

Thanks again.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
As always, thanks for your help.

The pain isn’t that bad, just wanted to make sure it was pain from being weak, and not pain from doing something wrong.

Is there a name for that problem so I can use the search function? I browsed through the beginner section and didn’t see anything.

So I’d assume it’d make sense to do the inclined curls first, then standing curls, and then preacher curls last? Would that make me good for direct bicep work? I’m picking that order because that would be greatest range of motion to least range of motion/lightest to heaviest. Or is my logic off.

Thanks again.[/quote]

I would do standing curls first. Simply bbecause it is easier to progress on them. There is a degree of risk with incline curl because the bicep tendon is stretched. They should be done controlled with a strong contraction; no swinging. Doing standing curls first will make sure everything is warm. If you’d like, rotate preaching curls and incline curls session to session.

Just do some of all of them, gradually increasing weight/reps, and you’ll be fine. Don’t get too caught up in the specifics. Mess around with exercise order, and see what works best. Sometimes you just gotta figure out how your body responds.

who thinks bicep curls are useless?

Thanks all.

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
who thinks bicep curls are useless?[/quote]

I know I’ve seen it posted around a couple times. The context was that it’s once of those lifts only newbs do so they can check themselves out in the mirror. And when someone comes into the gym totally clueless DB curls and bench seem to be the two things they make sure they do. I could also be conflating my internets experience with my “real world” experience: yesterday I got to listen to two guys go one about how the only lifts you really need are deadlifts and squats. This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Thanks all.

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
who thinks bicep curls are useless?[/quote]

I know I’ve seen it posted around a couple times. The context was that it’s once of those lifts only newbs do so they can check themselves out in the mirror. And when someone comes into the gym totally clueless DB curls and bench seem to be the two things they make sure they do. I could also be conflating my internets experience with my “real world” experience: yesterday I got to listen to two guys go one about how the only lifts you really need are deadlifts and squats. This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.[/quote]

They aren’t useless but they are so over done that people usually just say do X and your biceps will grow.
Kind of how everyone benches but no one squats/deadlifts/power cleans.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Thanks all.

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
who thinks bicep curls are useless?[/quote]

I know I’ve seen it posted around a couple times. The context was that it’s once of those lifts only newbs do so they can check themselves out in the mirror. And when someone comes into the gym totally clueless DB curls and bench seem to be the two things they make sure they do. I could also be conflating my internets experience with my “real world” experience: yesterday I got to listen to two guys go one about how the only lifts you really need are deadlifts and squats. This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.[/quote]

You are right about them getting a bad rap. Younger/newer gym goers seem to be drawn to those exercises, most likely that’s all they know how to do.

I squatted and deadlifted the last two years yet my arms are still 17-17.5". Even did a lot chinups. No difference. I’m adding in heavy, direct arm work because that’s the only way they will get bigger. Plus it “seems” to be a cool thing to say that deadlifts and squats cure about anything … which they do, but not your arm size.

As far as what works? There are common variations, but heavy alternating dumbbell curls worked the best for me.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.[/quote]

As the guys have said, the biceps need direct stimulation for maximum growth, not to mention for general elbow joint health. There’s simply no way around it.

I’m wondering, though, what does your entire training week look like? What days, exercises, sets, and reps are you working with? You might be able to tweak things to be even more beneficial. For example, if you’re training biceps/arms more than once a week, you don’t necessarily need three exercises in each session.

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
There is a degree of risk with incline curl because the bicep tendon is stretched. They should be done controlled with a strong contraction; no swinging.[/quote]

http://www.youtube.com/v/ga-EAqbgD6w?hl=en_US&fs=1

Seemed relevant. Your point is definitely spot on, but Bertil is homicidal and huge, so we’ll just enjoy the motivational show. Kids, don’t try this at home.

Why does he bring them right back over his shoulders like that?

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Thanks all.

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
who thinks bicep curls are useless?[/quote]

I know I’ve seen it posted around a couple times. The context was that it’s once of those lifts only newbs do so they can check themselves out in the mirror. And when someone comes into the gym totally clueless DB curls and bench seem to be the two things they make sure they do. I could also be conflating my internets experience with my “real world” experience: yesterday I got to listen to two guys go one about how the only lifts you really need are deadlifts and squats. This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.[/quote]

So by them being “newb exercises” you’re essentially worried about being criticized? Correct? The bicep curl is just like any other exercise, it targets a muscle for growth. The gym shouldn’t be a place for you to be worried about what other’s think. If you just put in the work, and stop caring what other people think, the results will show. People cant criticize success.

[quote]wildfirepb wrote:

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Thanks all.

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
who thinks bicep curls are useless?[/quote]

I know I’ve seen it posted around a couple times. The context was that it’s once of those lifts only newbs do so they can check themselves out in the mirror. And when someone comes into the gym totally clueless DB curls and bench seem to be the two things they make sure they do. I could also be conflating my internets experience with my “real world” experience: yesterday I got to listen to two guys go one about how the only lifts you really need are deadlifts and squats. This guy’s physical therapist has suggested he do bicep curls, and he thought that was “totally stupid”, and because if he wants big biceps, he’ll just dead-lift more.[/quote]

So by them being “newb exercises” you’re essentially worried about being criticized? Correct? The bicep curl is just like any other exercise, it targets a muscle for growth. The gym shouldn’t be a place for you to be worried about what other’s think. If you just put in the work, and stop caring what other people think, the results will show. People cant criticize success. [/quote]

Nope, wasn’t worried about it. 90% of the stuff at the gym I lift at (college gym) is pure junk. Couldn’t care less. Just put that out there because I wanted answers about bicep curls, and not a bunch of responses about how I shouldn’t be doing them. I’m glad my fears were unfounded.

[quote]-twiggy- wrote:
Why does he bring them right back over his shoulders like that? [/quote]

Could be because the biceps origin is located along the scapula and some shoulder flexion encourages a more intense biceps contraction.

It might be that Fox is incorporating reciprocal inhibition, and by stretching the triceps, he can flex his biceps even more effectively.

Or maybe he does it simply because he can. As with the way most pro bodybuilders train, if it works for them, it doesn’t need to be “by the book.”