The bicep curl is a bicep workout that likely features in pretty much every single gym junkie’s workout program. It’s an incredibly easy exercise to perform and is one that gym-goers of all strengths and abilities can do.
But there is one incredibly simple change you can add into your bicep curls and hammer curls that could absolutely accelerate your gains and have your bicep peaks popping out of your t-shirts in no time.
This bicep curl hack comes courtesy of German bodybuilder Jo Lindner. Given the number of times we’ve used Lindner’s workout advice (and considering the sheer size of the bloke) we’re pretty confident the man knows what he’s talking about.
Taking to Instagram, Jo explains that both bicep curls and hammer curls are excellent exercises to perform to work both the main bicep peak and the brachialis muscle on the side, respectively. “We always have to have both,” he says.
Check out Jo Lindner’s bicep curl tutorial in the video below.
But he adds that if you simply twist the dumbbell at the top of the movement, you’ll gain “a really good contraction,” i.e. you’ll put extra tension on the biceps muscles, causing them to receive greater amounts of tension and therefore potentially giving you greater muscle size.
He adds that you could perform bicep curls using either a straight bar or an EZ bar, each of which put your wrists into a slightly different position, resulting in greater tension on different parts of the muscle group. The EZ bar, for example, sees your wrists slightly angled, and this can help to put extra tension on the side of the biceps muscle. But, if you’re using dumbbells, what are you to do?
He goes on to explain that you should start by holding a dumbbell in each hand using a supinated grip (underhand/palms facing up) and have your arms out to your side at around 45-degrees. Then, bring your elbows close to your body and lean back slightly. In this position, Jo says “you’ve still got a lot of tension.”
Then, curl the dumbbells up (whilst still leaning back) and then lean your upper body back “so you’re over the weight,” and then perform regular bicep curls. Once you have completed a few sets of these – 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps should do the trick – rotate your wrist so that your palms are facing inwards, ready to perform some hammer curls.
However, instead of performing regular hammer curls, where your palms face inward throughout the duration of the movement, you “twist it in as much you can.” By this, he means when the dumbbell is nearing the top of the movement and is approaching your chin, you rotate your wrists, so that your thumbs move outwards in opposite directions. This places a huge amount of tension on the biceps and ideally, you’ll want to hold in this peak contraction for a second or two, before returning the dumbbells to their starting position.
Try adding this simple change next time you perform some bicep curls, and feel the burn!