Awesome Arms: Wacky Biceps Curl

Have a little fun as you sculpt your arms with the Wacky Biceps Curl.  This unique version of a classic exercise recruits the muscle in an asymmetric pattern, combining two different methods of strength training and targeting two different aspects of the muscle. Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart, knees soft.  Hold a 5-8# free weight in each hand, your right arm straight by your side with the palm facing in and your left arm bent at the elbow to 90 degrees, with the palm facing up.  Keep the left arm stationary, holding the weight isometrically. With the right arm perform a "hammer curl": palm facing in, lift the weight toward your shoulder, then lower it slowly for 12-15 repetitions.  Switch sides and repeat.

Rotating the position of your arms - palm in, then palm up - works two different aspects of the biceps muscle.  At the same time, you are stimulating the muscle with diverse patterns of stress by combining an isometric contraction (where the muscle length is unchanged) and an isotonic (muscle lengthens and shortens) contraction.  It's a four-way stimulus package!!

Trainer Tips:

  • Keep your elbows close to your sides, but avoid "pinching" them into your waist
  • Be sure to keep your wrists aligned with your forearms, i.e. don't bend the wrist in any direction
  • Stabilize your shoulder blades down and together before you start to move
  • Use core strength to keep your torso still as you work your arms.  If your trunk begins to sway back and forth to help lift the weights, you are "cheating" by using momentum.  Stop the exercise or lighten up the weights

Biceps stretch:  You should always stretch the muscle you've worked.  This is also a great stretch to do at your desk because it stretches both the forearm as well as the biceps.  Extend one arm in front of you with the palm up.  With the other hand, pull back on your fingers.  You'll feel a stretch all the way up the underside of your arm to the biceps. Hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Next week, watch for Part 3 of Awesome Arms:  Shoulder Fan