Bicep curls are the staple biceps exercise done in almost every arm workout. The problem is, there is a very common mistake that is made when doing this bicep exercise that is likely holding back the gains that you are seeing by doing it. The ironic thing is, the same thing that is the mistake is a beneficial thing for your biceps strength and size…as long as you know where to draw the line.
In the above video, Jeff from Athlean-X YouTube channel shows you how to perform the biceps curl properly to help you build bigger arms and biceps much more efficiently. When you make mistakes on your curls like I demonstrate here, it makes it difficult for the biceps to take on the brunt of the exercise and grow to their true capacity.
The issue is that the front delt moves from an important stabilizer during the curl to a prime mover very quickly if you don’t watch out and pay attention during your curls. For example, during the first few degrees of a curl you actually want the shoulder or front delt to kick in and work. This is because you want it to contribute to the stability of the humerus to give your biceps a mechanical leverage to operate at its strongest.
That said, beyond the initial part of the biceps curl exercise, you want to try and minimize the contribution of the front deltoid muscle. If you do not, you are making a big biceps curl mistake. The front delt if allowed to, will take over the lift and leave the biceps to do very little of the work it is supposed to. When this happens, the size of the biceps is held back and the ultimate results you see in your bicep muscle is diminished.
If you find that you are letting your front delt do the majority of the lift, it will be easily noticed by the elbow jutting forward during the biceps curl. Instead, lower the weight that you are using and make sure you keep your elbow pinned to your side the entire time. This will allow your biceps to take on almost the entire load. Before you think that this is somehow compromising your gains by lifting “lighter” keep in mind that you likely weren’t lifting near that weight before because you were swinging it.
Your other option if you feel that you are not able to make the adjustments even after watching this video and becoming aware of the flaw is to perform the two bicep exercise alternative shown. The no money curl is a biceps curl variation that puts your arms more in the frontal plane rather than the sagittal plane. This will minimize the front delts and help you to put more work on the biceps. Likewise, the drag curl will take the shoulders out of the movement and put it squarely where it should be, on the biceps.
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