Nine exercises with dumbbells and bar to work your biceps

The biceps are one of the muscles that have the greatest impact from the aesthetic point of view in the musculature (especially in men), and that is why it is one of the muscles that we can most see working in a gym. However, I am sure that many of you will have heard the phrase “Mondays is World Biceps Day”.

With the help of dumbbells and a bar, we present today nine exercises to bombard the biceps and perform a very good job from different angles and working, in some cases, exercises that touch other muscle groups such as rowing with bar grip supine.

Appearance to take into account when performing biceps exercises

Despite being exercises that as a rule require a very simple mechanics, biceps exercises are not exempt from being able to cause small injuries. Therefore, there are some points that we must take into account:

  • Maintain the tension of the biceps: maintaining the tension of our biceps continuously will facilitate that we avoid overtaking our shoulders and, consequently, activate this part of the musculature in an exercise that does not require the work of the shoulders. This does not mean that it is necessarily bad, but it makes us work less effectively.
  • Pay attention to our dolls: when we carry a higher weight than we can handle, a point that can suffer a lot and therefore be injured are our wrists. Why? Because when performing the movement of flexion, either with prone or supine grip , we tend to hyperextended our wrists, which can end up leading to an affectation of the carpal tunnel syndrome (for this movement was recommended in its day to stop performing ” forearm curl “).
  • Take care of your back: as in almost all exercises, our back becomes a very vulnerable point if we do not have a correct execution technique. In this case, if we carry an excessive weight, what we are going to provoke is an attempt to compensate through a swing that brings with it an excessive bowing of the lower back, which can end up causing a wonderful hernia.

Bicep curl with bar

The barbell biceps curl is one of the most classic exercises that we can see in a gym focused on working this muscle. Its mechanics is quite simple, and yet it is common to see certain errors in its execution: starting from the standing position, with a grip of the bar to the width of our shoulders, the movement to perform is to flexion our elbows with the intention to take the bar as close to our chest as possible while keeping the elbows as close as possible to our ribs.

However, despite this simplicity, it is very common to see people performing authentic movements of contortion to raise the bar, almost always caused by an excessive weight in it. The main problem with performing these back and forth movements is that two are the parts of our body that will suffer:

  • The shoulders: while balancing is performed, we unconsciously tend to make a slight shrug of the shoulders , which implies an unnecessary activation of this muscle and, if we use too much weight, it could mean an increased risk of injury to the glenohumeral joint.
  • Low back: that is, the lower back. When performing the aforementioned balancing to lift the bar, there is a tendency to perform a small lumbar hyperextension (in some cases if the weight is too large this small hyperextension becomes excessive) and, when doing it repetitively, the risk of injury multiplies .

Biceps curl with dumbbells with prone grip

The main difference of this curl of biceps with respect to the classic curl is that the palms of our hands, in the grip of the dumbbells, are going to be facing outwards, in such a way that when flexing the elbows raise the bar, they should be left looking towards the ground.

Mainly we are going to work the biceps, because the exercise does not stop being a curl, but we are also going to require a good work by the muscles of the forearm and the hand, especially to make a good strength in the grip of the dumbbells and keep it from falling to the ground.

Hammer-type bicep curl

This is, together with “El 21”, one of the two exercises that in my view will burn our biceps if we perform them at the end of the session (which is the time preferred by many people to place these two exercises ). While the movement to be made is going to be the same as if it were a normal curl, this time we will proceed to do it with two dumbbells and a neutral grip, that is, with the palms of the hands looking at each other.

Rowing with supine grip

Although this exercise mainly works the back to be within the category of the oars, to do it with a grip of the supine bar we will get to involve a little more to our biceps , so it is an option to take into account if we want to give variety to our training or if, for example, we want to perform exercises that involve several muscles at the same time.

In addition, it is an exercise that we can use to make a compound movement: first we would make the movement corresponding to the rowing with a bar and then we could perform a biceps curl.

Concentrated bicep curl

Another of the most classic exercises to work the biceps and that was habitual in the routines of Arnold Schwarzenegger (we must not forget that the peak of his biceps was one of his hallmarks in his best time).

This exercise is done sitting on a bench, with a dumbbell and a prone grip of it. To do this, we must place the elbow of the arm with which we will work on the inner side of our thigh , just immediately after our knee (to avoid being bone against bone). The elbow flexion movement should bring the dumbbell as close to the chest as possible.

In this exercise usually two mistakes are made mainly: the first is to try to compensate for the lack of strength (or excess weight) by bringing the chest to the dumbbell instead of the dumbbell to the chest, and the second of them is the excessive bowing of the back .

Spider style bicep curl

This exercise is not often seen in many gyms, or at least I have seen it performed very rarely (people tend to opt for more classic exercises). The spider-style bicep curl consists of placing us face down on a bench with the back inclined at about 45 degrees , so that our arms hang in front. The way to pick up the bar can be either prone or supine, although at the beginning I recommend prone grip more.

From this position, lying face down and with a prone grip of the bar, we will proceed to perform the bending of elbows trying to bring the bar as close as possible to the back of the bench . We should pay special attention to this exercise in trying not to compensate for the possible lack of strength of our biceps with a movement of the shoulders, since we would again increase the risk of injury.

The 21st

This exercise is so called because each series is composed of 21 repetitions , but it has the particularity of being divided at the same time in three mini-series of seven repetitions each:

  • In the first mini series of seven repetitions, we will start from the standing position with the feet to the width of our shoulders and the arms equal, taking the bar with a prone grip. Next, we will perform only the first half of the movement , that is, until our elbows form an angle of 90 degrees. We will do seven repetitions, staying in the last one with the elbows at 90 degrees (that is, without going back down).
  • For the second mini-series, we will start from the position where we have been left with the elbows at 90 degrees and we will perform another seven repetitions with this range of movement, that is, the second part of the route , being the final standing position with the arms completely extended.
  • And here comes the latest mini series, which is usually the one that ends up “pumping” the muscle: seven repetitions with the full length of the classic bicep curl .

For this exercise you must select the weight well, because if you do it at the end of training, an excessive weight will undoubtedly make you fail in the technique.

Zottman bicep curl with dumbbells

This is an exercise that we will perform with dumbbells sitting on a bench or standing, and that will imply both the prone grip and the supine grip in the same movement.

We will begin in the sitting position on the bench with the dumbbells on either side of our body with a prone grip. During the concentric phase of exercise , the grip of the dumbbells will continue to be prone. Once we are at the point of maximum contraction, and before returning to the starting point, we will change our prone grip for the supine grip with a twist of our wrists (beware again with choosing an excessive weight). The eccentric phase of the movement, therefore, we will perform with supine grip.

Bicep curl with bar on bench Scott

The main advantage of this exercise will undoubtedly be that, thanks to Scott Bank, our elbows will be fixed throughout the movement .

To place ourselves in the initial position, we will sit on the bench holding the bar with a prone grip , that is, with the palms facing us. It is important that we adopt a comfortable position and that we regulate the bank well, so that we do not have (and can not) lean over it to compensate for the possible lack of strength of our biceps with our body weight. In addition, we should try to avoid overtaking our shoulders during exercise.

The movement, for its part, is simple : we should try to bring the bar as close as possible to our chest in a controlled manner, avoiding sudden jerks (we can damage our lower back) and avoiding dropping the arms in the eccentric phase. In addition, another point to take care is, as far as possible, avoid blocking the elbows when we go down, as this will maintain the tension in our biceps, we will increase the work done and avoid possible injuries.

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