T Nation

Bicep Curling


So, I have been doing the W4SB program for over a month now with the main goals of gaining muscular size and strength. On the repetition upper body days I have been doing the standing dumbbell French press exercise -with one dumbbell in each hand- for primarily the triceps and the standing alternating dumbbell bicep curl as my elbow flexor exercise.

The thing is is that it seems that I can only French press with 15 lbs. in each hand for about 10 reps at the most (without going to failure) while I can do standing alternating bicep curls with 20lbs. in each hand. for about 10 reps on each arm (without going to failure). I know that the triceps are supposed to be stronger than the biceps. So I am wondering if I actually have muscular imbalances in my upper arms?


No you don't. Again, do not overthink.


You are weak, but you do not have an imbalance. If you really need reassurance, french presses (overhead tricep extensions?) put you at a big mechanical disadvantage compared to normal tricep extensions. I can only do 75 for sets of 13-ish with overhead tricep extensions, and I can strict curl 95 for moderate reps, and curl 95 for high reps with normal form. My triceps are also a lot stronger than my biceps. I also easily use 100 for sets of 12+ in normal tricep extensions, and can even do 105 for a good amount of reps for tricep rollback extensions (since my elbows take less of a beating).

Really, do not over think this. Train both, and if you really want to make sure your triceps get an advantage then train them before biceps.


Even if you're feeling fine at the moment, avoid doing freeweight tricep moves like that every week or your elbows will start geting pissed off over time. Alternate with band pressdowns and the like


I've read many times:
"Don't even talk to me about curls until you can do 3 sets of 10 chins"
Advice for us both to live by, I think.


Real men should be able to knock out a set of 20 with decent form. If you can't even get 10 reps of chins you are kind of pathetic (unless you are super heavy, or injured).


I'm kind of pathetic then.
I achieved the elusive 9th chin yesterday. Now I feel bad.


Woah WOAH WOAH DSSG haha I can only do about 10 maybe 12 chin ups are you saying Im not a real man.... :frowning: I try I really try :'-)


You are fine, Reed. :wink:

I meant light weight people like me who are under 200 pounds. It was directed to someone who is likely very light. (sub 160 pounds)

To be honest I wasn't thinking about powerlifters when I said the 20 rep thing. Anyone with awful shoulder mobility is likely taken off of it.


Not that I don't think chins are good exercise, but what exactly does one have to do with the other? I can do 3 sets of 10 chinups with ease as well as 20+ in a row and while I obviously get an arm pump, bicep curls hit it quite a bit better. Why shortchange yourself from the start? Plus WS4SB calls for an arm flexion exercise.


shrug somebody else's words, I can't remember whose, not mine.
On the other hand you can kind of see the logic- big, compound movements first and all that.


Yep and I fully agree with that, big-compound movements first. I still don't why it would mean at the cost of isolation work though but oh well.


Yyy... I meant 'before' as in 'before in the program' rather than 'before in the workout'. Or at least that's what Stuart McRobert's book tells me.


Why would freeweight tricep moves necessarily put that much stress on the elbows? I would think that as long as you do any of tricep extension variations with good technique, not do any them at a ballistic speed, and have proper recovery then you should be alright.


Mechanical disadvantage for the joints. Nothing to really worry about when you're weak, but when you get stronger, going heavy on skullcrushers in particular is a good way to develop elbow issues.


I hurt my elbow doing skull crushers once the weight started getting higher. stick to close grip bench and barbell military press for triceps . Remember you can think or analyze you way to getting strong. it takes consistency, diet, sleep, and intense training. Do you have any progress photo's to share?


Whooo Ill stop crying now :slight_smile:


Well then, why is it okay to go heavy on triceps pushdown on a cable machine compared to going heavy on skullcrushers or variations to that? Or why is it okay for your knees to go heavy on deep squats or leg extensions?


Your fucking killing me.


I thought you understood things. Just find the explanation yourself then. sarcasm It's about angles.

Also... Let me know when you can squat 200; until then, I'll officially stop responding to your questions. Trust me, you'd be better off with zero information and just the instruction to lift heavy things and eat a lot.