Body Mechanics: The Biceps Curl

Whether you’re a gym fanatic, bodybuilder or occasional gym goer, it’s safe to say that at one point or another you have been caught “Mirin” your Biceps, either male or female. However most men train their arms with intent of growing them as big as possible. Not to say women don’t train arms – they do. Men are just typically a bit more compulsive about it.

The Biceps curl is a relatively easy exercise, an open kinetic chain exercise, because the movement occurs at the elbow joint and the force is applied at the most distal part of the arm. It is also an assistance exercise because it uses smaller muscles than those exercises that involve more than one joint. When designing a workout routine these movements are typically left for last, simply due to their lack of practicality or transition to sport specific movements. It is true some individuals will practice what you would call an all arms day; this may be productive for some, however it is not for most. Everybody is different, and as such one cannot dispute other methods of training without sounding bias.

The Biceps curl recruits three muscles while contracting concentrically, and they are the biceps brachii, brachialis and the brachioradialis. All three are called upon to complete the flexion of the arm. This movement starts with arms extended and continues until the arm is flexed to its maximal range of motion. There are many exercises that will train these muscles specifically, some are greater at isolating one or the other.

The standing dumbbell curl consists of the following cues;

• The exercise requires you to stand up straight chest up shoulders back and neck in a neutral position.
• Feet shoulder width apart.
• The exercise begins with the dumbbells in hand with a supinated position, arms fully extended and close to the torso.
• Flex the arm until the dumbbell is about 2-3 inches from the chest and shoulder area. Ensure that the flexion is in controlled form.
• You may alternate arms or you may lift one at a time.
• To complete the exercise you must extend the arms back to the starting position.
• Slow and controlled motion is advised.

As with any exercise great caution must be demonstrated when lifting. The biceps curl does have a risk of injury that needs to be mentioned. Due to the nature of the lift, great strain is put onto the tendons involved in the concentric contraction of the movement. With that in mind it is always advised to lift with proper form and with hands approximately shoulder with apart.

The most common injuries associated with this muscle group are biceps tendonitis and tendon tears, the latter being the most painful and strenuous to deal with. Surgery may also be needed depending on the severity of the tear. Always lift with proper form and execution, remember the idea is to get better with every set rep and breath!

Happy Lifting!

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