T Nation

Reverse curls

Does anyone do reverse curls for biceps and are they effective? Is it better to do them with a barbell or dumbell and with the palms facing down? Thanks.

Most people do them (with a barbell or EZ curl bar) because they build the upper/outer forearm as well as the biceps. But, the forearm is also the weak link, so you usually use less weight than regular curls. Close grip, weighted pull ups, “narrow” grip barbell curls, and db curls are all better choices for pure bicep work.

“Reverse curls” can improve the look of the upper arm by enlarging the brachialis and pushing up on the bicep brachii, thus giving a fuller overall appearance. If you absolutely feel the need to do them, use whatever equipment you’re most comfortable with. And yes, you perform them in the pronated position (palms facing down); curls performed in the neutral position (plams facing one another) – which also target the brachialis – are referred to as “hammer curls”. If you’re like me and prefer to perform basic compound movements, pronated- or neutral-grip chinups also serve to target the brachialis (among many other muscles, of course).

I like to do some reverse curls with the EZ Bar. As Bob mentioned, they really hit the brachialis hard and cause that little golf ball between the the biceps and triceps to pop out nicely. If you want to give them a go, Coach Poliquin always recommended pausing at the end of the eccentric to fully activate the brachialis. Also, keep your wrists neutral. You can perform reverse Scott curls also. Again, the load is less intense than supinated curls because with a pronated grip the line of pull is less efficient.