If you saw my post from last September on a 2014 study that sought to find the best biceps exercise, you will have noted that Concentration Curls topped the list (from electromyography tests.)
So what I want to do today is give you guys a video tutorial of how best to do this movement.
The 1 thing I need to stress with this exercise is – constant tension.
I shot a video of me demonstrating the movement. Watch it first then check out the notes below.
(apologies for the short video, but it really only needs to demonstrate body position, range of motion, and cadence)
* Sit down on a chair or a bench, legs spread apart.
* We will work one arm at a time, so grab the dumbbell with one hand. I’ll assume you are using your right arm for the rest of this tutorial.
* Rest the back of your right arm (just above your elbow) against the inside of your right thigh.
* Fully supinate the right hand i.e. palm facing up towards the ceiling.
* As you being to lift the dumbbell, ensure that only the forearm is moving. This puts maximal stress on the bicep itself.
* Don’t bring the dumbbell up as high as possible, just past parallel to the floor works best as tension falls off the bicep when the dumbbell is brought too high. Therefore we lose constant tension and recruit less muscle fibers.
* Lower under full muscular control – do not drop the weight. Your negative/lowering should take slightly longer than your positive.
* Lower to just short of full extension. I don’t go fully extended at the bottom as I want to keep that constant tension on the bicep.
* As always, bring the set to a point of positive muscular failure, either in an 8-12 rep range, or a 6-8 rep range as per THT training.
IMPORTANT: Do make sure that you arm is resting against your leg. This stabilizes the working arm and allows for better isolation. The researchers of the above study stated…
“This may be because during a concentration curl, the humerus is pressed against the leg and does not allow the upper arm to sway, which isolates the biceps.”
NOTE: DO NOT do these standing up. Some people recommend a standing concentration curl as an alternative. But this defeats the whole purpose – it’s the stabilization of the leg that brings much of the added benefit.
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If you have any comments or questions, ask me below. I’m always happy to help.
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Many helpful, Mark. Thanks.
@Mark – my trainer at the gym had told me to do these standing up but it never felt comfortable. I did these sitting as you said this morning for my workout and what a difference! My biceps are actually still sore from it 😀
Isn’t it best to do it very slow!
10secs up and 10 secs down.. The bicep really gets worked then …
I have just finished training my Triceps and Biceps which included the concentration curl. Luckily I am performing them as your demonstration. Just about to take my protein shake. Not bad for a 70 year old.
Great video Mark, though did you consider using something like Vine as those loop over and over?
@Tony. No, definitely not. Doing sets that slow will mean you have to use a super-light weight to accommodate it. It also means less muscle fiber recruitment, and you won’t recruit the type 2b muscle fibers, which are predominantly responsible for size increases.
@Chris. Awesome! Good man. I love to see guys your age training hard 😀
@Rich. I can’t even imagine trying to keep on top of another social network lol. If anyone else wants to take my vids and loop them, be my guest 🙂
great read man.
mark,i know this is not the article to ask this,but i read you article “saturated fat,not guilty as charged”,but would you say there should be any limit till where one should restrict his saturated fat intake?
and also do we count calories from “incomplete protein”,because if it is incomplete,we might not get its calories,is it?
Mark, where would you work these in on THT 5.3? I’m on week 7 of the 5-day 8-12 routine. Arms are my Wednesday, so for Biceps, I do Cable Preacher, Incline DB Curl and Straight Bar Curl. Thanks,
Mark, you’re truly the greatest fitness model there is.
So much bullshit claim made by other wannabe fitness guru’s.
You’re the only one that backs it up with hard evidence.
Usually I don’t share things on Facebook, but your work is TOO important for the world not to share.
Should I use this range of motion for any type of bicep curl? I’ve been trying to curl all the way up, but if that’s unnecessary, I’ll cut it out.
@Abi. Since there’s nothing unhealthy about saturated fat, you treat it the same as protein or a carb. Do you ask yourself is there a healthy limit to protein or carbs? Just eat the natural fats that occur in your diet.
@M You could replace the straight bar curls with these at the end of your workout.
@Giorgio. Thank you sooooo much, buddy! Comments like that keep me going. THANKS!
@Jared. Feel around for the peak contraction point in each bicep curl. There’s a point where the resistance falls off the bicep because of gravity. You can feel this “sweet spot” yourself. Hope this helps.
Excellent-thanks, Mark – will incorporate tonight. Really liking THT so far and appreciate you offering it.
Mark, thanks. Good advice.
that solves a lot for me.
that helps a lot