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THE 4 VARIATIONS OF THE BAR CURL TO BUILD YOUR BICEPS

To increase the muscle volume in your arms, perform these movements at the start of your weight training, when you have the most strength to put on heavy! If you have wrist pain with a straight bar, prefer the angled bar also called EZ bar so as not to traumatize your joints.

 Supine bar curl

How To Do The Supine Bar Curl?

  • Stand with feet parallel shoulder-width apart and slightly outward. Hold a bar at arm's length in front of the thighs, with the supine hands (palm up) spread about shoulder width apart. Take a deep breath.
  • hold your breath, and raise the bar by bending your elbows.
  • When lifting the load, keep your elbows fixed and tight against your body. Make sure your hands stay in line with the forearms.
  • Flex the forearms at a moderate pace. Exhale towards the end of the flexion. Pause briefly at the top of the movement (when the hands are level with the upper chest).
  • Lower the bar, controlling it to return to the starting position, but do not go all the way to full extension of the arms. Perform all the repetitions.
  • Keep your torso vertical throughout the exercise.

5 Training Tips 

1.Keep the body vertical, especially the bust. Rounding the shoulders or pulling them back during the exercise decreases the tension in the biceps. There is also a risk of attacking the spine if the forces involved become important.

2.To stress the biceps and the anterior biceps brachii as much as possible, keep the elbows pressed against the sides at all times. If you let them go forward during the lifting of the load, the upper part of the biceps will relax, which will reduce the tension and make the exercise easier.

3.If the bar is too heavy, you will have to push it with your pelvis when starting the climb: muscle tension will be reduced and the risk of lumbar injury will be greater. Use a load that allows you to exercise with strict technique for the best results. If the load is excessive, the range of motion will be limited and you will not be able to fully extend your arms: this can be useful if you are looking to increase the curve of the biceps, but not if you are aiming good muscle development inseparable from full amplitude work.

4.Putting your hands wide apart, you are straining the short portion of the biceps.

5.With your hands very close together, you will be working the long portion of the biceps.

Which Muscles Are Used?

With the standing curl with the bar, the biceps brachii and the anterior brachii are assisted by the long supinator and the pronator teres. The biceps are the largest of these muscles and make up the largest mass in the front of the arm. The biceps is made up of two bundles (long portion and short portion).

The anterior brachialis is located below the biceps, near the elbow. It is strongly involved in the flexion of the elbow, regardless of the type of grip adopted. Located on the upper-outer side of the forearm, on the side of the thumb, the long supinator creates the curve of the forearm, from the elbow to the thumb. The pronator ring only intervenes when the resistance is high enough. Partially covered by the long supinator, it is housed obliquely across the elbow.

Overhand bar curl

 
 
The curl with the bar, either inverted or pronated, is one of the best strength training exercises for people who want to develop the anterior brachialis. This muscle helps to expand the lower part of the arm, making it more plump, while the biceps make up almost all of the muscle mass in the upper part. It is also an important exercise for strengthening the biceps brachii and other elbow flexors, such as the pronator teres.

How To Do The Overhand Bar Curl?

1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Hold a bar with your hands overhand (palms down, facing thighs), shoulder-width apart.

2.Let the arms hang down to the floor, but without locking the elbows. Keep the bust vertical and the shoulders pulled back.

3.Take a deep breath, hold your breath, and squeeze your elbow flexors to raise the bar to shoulder height.

4.Keep the arms stationary on either side of the bust to prevent the elbows from coming forward as you lift the load.

5.Once the bar is at the highest point, hold the position for two seconds, then control the descent.

6 Training Tips

1. The bust should remain straight during all the movement. Do not push the hips forward to move the load, especially if it is heavy.

2.As the biceps (a powerful forearm supinator that cannot function effectively here) does not play a major role in this exercise, it will take less weight than in most bicep exercises, performed with a neutral grip or in supination.

3.In order for movement to be limited to forearm flexion, the elbows should be kept still, close to the flanks. If, on the contrary, we let them go before, we recruit the anterior deltoids and reduce the effect on the anterior brachialis. Do not increase the load unless you can maintain correct technique.

4.The use of a bar allows you to better keep the hands in pronation during the entire movement. With dumbbells, we will tend to supine when raising them, which reduces the work of the anterior brachialis.

5.Since the biceps is a muscle that works in two joints, stretching the upper part and keeping it taut allows for more efficient contraction at the elbow. Allowing the elbows to move forward loosens the upper tendons more, making the exercise easier. On the other hand, the contraction will be more intense if the elbows do not move or even if they are moved back slightly.

6.The muscles of the forearm play a key role in stabilizing the elbow and wrist joint. As this exercise develops these muscles well (especially the wrist extensors), the hands should always remain in line with the forearms. Never flex your wrists.

Which Muscles Are Used?

In curl with the bar reversed, the muscle mainly involved is the anterior brachialis, with the assistance of the biceps brachii and the long supinator. The wrist extensors (volar major, ulnar anterior, and volar minus) may provide little assistance, but they mainly act as stabilizers. Since the hand is in pronation, the pronator teres strongly assists in the flexion of the elbow.

Curl at the desk


 
It is one of the best exercises for building biceps. With the Larry Scott desk curl, the arms are placed in front of the torso (the reverse of the incline curl), which reduces the stretch of the biceps and increases the tension in the short portion. The elbows being fixed, this exercise does not allow ultra heavy loads. You can do this movement as a pre-fatigue to start a session or at the end of a workout with slightly longer sets that will really burn your muscles.

How To Curl At The Desk?

1. Seated, an angled bar held firmly with both hands, arms resting on the Larry Scott desk.

2.Inhale and perform a forearm flexion.

3.Exhale and release slowly.

4.Make sure to keep the tension in the biceps: do not rock the body to raise the load. Just use the elbows as pivots.

8 Training Tips

1. The arms must remain pressed against the desk from the beginning to the end of the movement. If you lift your elbows, the movement is easier which reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

2.Angles: there are generally two positions for the support. If you use the reclined position, you reduce the range of motion a little. The latter is therefore less difficult to achieve.

3.Hold the EZ bar with supinated hands a little less than shoulder width apart. The shoulders, elbows and wrists must be in the same plane. Make sure that the “bar at arm's length” position is comfortable.

4.The further you move your hands apart, the more you will increase the recruitment of the short portion of the biceps brachii. Conversely, the more you bring your hands together, the more the long portion of the biceps will be used.

5.You can also do this strength training exercise with a straight bar. In this case, the palms of the hands are facing upwards, resulting in a stronger contraction of the biceps.

6.When bending, do not let the elbows deviate: this decreases the tension in the biceps (especially the short portion) and puts more stress on the wrists and elbows.

7.Keep the feet in a stable position, shoulder-width apart. Avoid “wiggling” to try to lift the load.

8.Bend your arms until your biceps are fully contracted, which doesn't mean you have to raise the bar to your chin. As the forearms approach vertical, the tension decreases in the biceps.

Which Muscles Are Used?

The Larry Scott desk curl works the biceps brachii, the anterior brachii, the long supinator and the pronator teres.

The spider curl or spider curl

The spider curl or spider curl

The spider curl is a great exercise for shaping the biceps. You can perform it with an angled bar, a straight bar or with a hammer grip bar as in the photo. Changing the grip is very important so as not to always use the same muscle fibers, which would limit muscle gain.

How To Do The Spider Curl?

  • Place the upper part of your pecs on the upper part of the bench, with your feet resting on the floor.
  • Be sure to keep your head in line with the spine (don't lift your head to look at yourself in the mirror).
  • Tighten your shoulder blades to keep your shoulders in a low position and especially held back.
  • Grab the bar and perform an energy flex while keeping the elbows as fixed as possible.
  • Exhale during flexion and inhale during extension.

Other Exercises For The Biceps

To build your biceps, you can also do dumbbell curls that work the bicep muscles with an equal load. Dumbbell training is very useful if you have one arm that is stronger or bigger than the other. Another possibility for working your biceps: pulley curls which allow you to work with continuous tension. Usually the load used is less, but that won't prevent you from getting huge congestion of the arms with slightly longer sets or reps performed at a slow pace.

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