T Nation

Dumbbell Curls with One Arm

Saw a YouTube video where dumbbell curls were done first with one arm then the other while holding a dumbbell in the non - working arm. Trying to understand why someone would use that technique rather than just have a free hand?

I do pinwheel curls that way. Hold 2 DB’s, do all my reps with one arm then do all reps with other. Maybe it’s a mental thing, it just feels more “balanced” to me, like that extra weight in my off hand helps balance me.

Plus, it just feels weird to have my other arm/hand just hanging out. Like, what am I supposed to do with it? Put it on my hip? Have it hang awkwardly on my side? Put it behind my head in a seductive playboy model pose? Nah, just easier to hold a dumbbell.

because you lose tension in the non-working bicep when doing alternating curls. Doing all your reps with one arm then the other, you keep constant tension on the bicep being worked. I still do alternating curls but try to keep a bit of tension on the non-working arm.

Trying to keep tension on the non-working bicep sometimes feels like I am trying to tap my head with one hand and rub my belly with the other. Tougher than it sounds because your trying to focus on the arm being worked.

I prefer to drop the other DB and just use one.

I want the non-working arm to rest and recover (because it’s about to get blasted with another big set), so I like it to relax and enjoy some blood flow.

I never even thought about what the other hand was doing. Shit. I think it ends up behind my head in a seductive playboy model pose, now that I think about it.

[quote]paulypaul wrote:
Saw a YouTube video where dumbbell curls were done first with one arm then the other while holding a dumbbell in the non - working arm. Trying to understand why someone would use that technique rather than just have a free hand? [/quote]
Part could be out of habit, part could be for balance or stability, and part could be to increase irradiation - basically by making both arms have to work, you could increase force production in the “main/working” arm. That’s presuming you weren’t just barely holding the second weight but were still squeezing it/grabbing hard.

[quote]staystrong wrote:
Plus, it just feels weird to have my other arm/hand just hanging out. Like, what am I supposed to do with it? Put it on my hip? Have it hang awkwardly on my side? Put it behind my head in a seductive playboy model pose? Nah, just easier to hold a dumbbell.[/quote]
Whenever I do one-arm curls, I prefer to use touch training by keeping the fingertips of the non-working arm on the working bi throughout the set. Also works great with most triceps work, one-arm laterals, one-arm cable rear delt flyes, seated calf raises, and standing leg curls (if you can reach).

Definitely seems to increase the mind-muscle connection and helps you feel the tension/squeeze on each rep. Or you could still do the Playboy model pose. Technically though, it’d be the Playgirl model pose.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Whenever I do one-arm curls, I prefer to use touch training by keeping the fingertips of the non-working arm on the working bi throughout the set. Also works great with most triceps work, one-arm laterals, one-arm cable rear delt flyes, seated calf raises, and standing leg curls (if you can reach).

Definitely seems to increase the mind-muscle connection and helps you feel the tension/squeeze on each rep. Or you could still do the Playboy model pose. Technically though, it’d be the Playgirl model pose.[/quote]

^This.

That’s where my other hand is, it’s NOT the playgirl pose after all. Whew.

Seriously, though - I also use the technique Chris describes and find it to be very effective. To his list, I would also add that it works quite well for cross-body cable and DB chest movements like the “D Roy” raise, for single-side trap work, and my favorite is for regular front DB raises for front delts.