Many people compare physique development to art. They see themselves as body sculptors, working on their own living statues. Sculptors use a hammer and chisel to create their statues. Bodybuilders have their own tools, and among the most often used is the classic dumbbell.
As a free weight, it can help you work harder because you have to control the weight and fight gravity in order to lift it. Unlike a barbell, a dumbbell lets you focus on one side at a time or isolate a certain part of the body.
If you want to carve out bigger biceps, you should be doing dumbbell work. As a matter of fact, you can stretch sleeves and get stronger even if dumbbells are all you have. This workout can help you turn those upper arms into muscular masterpieces. Perform it once every 5-7 days, working biceps on back day or combining biceps and triceps for a powerful arm blast.
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Not only can this exercise help you warm up your biceps and forearms effectively, but if you do it properly, you'll be able to feel them working without having to go heavy. Basically, you pre-exhaust your biceps with the Zottman curls before you get into your other movements.
Take 2 seconds to lift the weight, twisting your hands inward at the top, and 2 seconds to lower. Perform them with one arm at a time or both—it's up to you. If you have trouble connecting your mind to the muscles, go one at a time. If you're short on training time, work both arms at once.
Alternating Biceps Curl
Doing this classic movement seated makes it a little more challenging because you are less likely to use body momentum to swing them up. You want to go heavy here but within reason. You should still be able to complete the reps without sacrificing your form.
Perform 2-3 reps at a time with one arm before switching to the other. This works each arm a little harder but also gives them a brief time to recover while the other is working.
Hammer curls are what many guys use to add thickness and width to their upper arms. That's because it targets the brachialis as well as the biceps brachii. It also hits the forearms and helps improve your grip.
If you want to isolate your biceps more, use straps to hold the weights. If grip and forearm development also matter to you, go at them with your hands only.
To save time, work both arms together. Just make sure you hold the weights at the top briefly before performing a controlled negative on each rep.
This exercise makes for a great finisher because you don't need to go heavy. The squeeze at the top and the stretch at the bottom are what matter most. While the peak of your biceps is genetically determined, concentration curls can help you maximize the potential you have.
You can do these either while standing or while sitting on a bench with your elbow against your knee. Doing 3-second negatives on each rep will make them more intense, and for an added bonus, hold the contraction at the top of the final rep as long as you can before lowering the dumbbell.
Interested in taking your arm training to the next level? Check out 30-Day Arms with Abel Albonetti in BodyFit by Bodybuilding.com!