Workout hacks: How to do a bicep curl
The bicep curl seems pretty straightforward: Pick up weight, curl it repeatedly, sell tickets to the gun show.
The first mistake is, unsurprisingly, too much weight. Equally unsurprisingly, it’s usually men who do this. Your form on the bicep curl must be strict: if you can’t get the weight up without rocking your body, or can’t lower it with control — it’s too heavy. Drop the weight. Heavier is not always better.
The second mistake flows from the first. In the standing bicep curl, you want your elbows tight to your torso— but it’s common to see them flaring out to the side as the weight comes up. This is your body’s way of cheating: it recruits other muscles to help lift the weight. Keep your elbows close, and if you can’t, drop the weight.
Bicep curl grip: FYI
You’ll see people curling with palms up (the standard way, also known as a supinated grip), palms facing together (aka hammer curls), and palms facing down — or rotating between some combination of the three.
Different grips target different muscles in your arm. The standard bicep curl targets the biceps (who’d’ve thought?), while the hammer curl targets the brachialis in your upper arm and the brachioradialis in your forearm. Anatomy!
If you’re curling with a barbell you also have the option to use a normal-width grip, with hands about shoulder-width apart, or wider or narrow grips. Each bicep basically has two different “heads” where it attaches to your bones (“bicep” actually translates to “two heads” — guess how many heads the triceps have!), and different grip width targets different heads.