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Here Comes the Boom! 4 Common Bicep Curl Mistakes

Who doesn’t want arms that are on point? Whether you are a guy looking to have guns that hug the sleeves or just want to make sure your arms have a nice conditioned look for the ladies, there are a lot of errors that tend to happen with the bicep curl. Sure, you have geared up by planning your workout, slammed a few servings of P.S.P. and have on your favorite workout music, but you could be making some critical mistakes that are holding back your progress. All of these mistakes stem from errors in form that stop you from getting the most you possibly can out of your curls, and knowing is half the battle. So with that being said, here are 4 mistakes you may be making with your bicep curls.

Mistake 1: Raising the Weight As High As Possible

Somewhere along the line, you may have heard to “raise the dumbbell/barbell as high as possible”. Yes, you need to move in a full range of motion for maximal effect, so this has some truth to it, but the key is that it really should be “As high as possible…while keeping your elbows at your sides.”

Bicep curls (aside from a few specific variations) are meant to be done with the elbows pinned in by your sides. There shouldn’t be movement other than your forearms going up and down. Many times, in an effort to go higher, many lifters end up recruiting their delts and body, reducing the work the biceps should be putting in.

Mistake 2: Rocking Your Body

You ever notice how much easier it is to do curls when you’re standing up compared to sitting down? This is simply because you may be subconsciously using your knees and hips to generate momentum, even to a small degree.

This momentum, even when small can help you overcome a sticking point in the curl exercise and that means that you’re taking some of the work away from the biceps. This is detrimental in both your efficiency of bicep training and in more severe cases, rocking can subject your lower back to injury.

Keep this a single-joint movement by practicing good form and not rocking to maximize bicep recruitment. If you can get 6-8 reps with good form and maybe cheat a little bit with the last rep or 2, that is ok, just keep the body movement to a minimum for maximum efficiency and minimizing injury risk.

Mistake 3: Not Fully Extending Your Arms

If you want to impress people at the gym, often you’ll find yourself trying to move more weight. This looks deceivingly impressive, however most of the time this results in cheating on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the curl by not fully extending your arm at the bottom of the movement and this offense is worsened by leaning forward a touch at the bottom.

This double whammy of improper form is partial-repping and has its place, but the majority of your training should be using a full range of motion to strengthen your muscle more completely and maximally develop them. Keep yourself honest by watching your technique in the mirror and fully extend your arms.

Mistake 4: Not Doing Barbell Curls First In Your Biceps Workout

The time when you start your workout is the prime time for hitting the most beneficial, and difficult movements that stimulate muscle growth. Big movements such as barbell bicep curls and heavier dumbbell curls that emphasize both mechanical tension and muscle teardown will elicit the biggest stimulus. Save ‘accessory’ type work like machine curls, double cable curls and other more isolated movements for later on in the workout as finishers.

Bicep Blast Off

So there you have it…4 mistakes that are commonly made when it comes to biceps training. Small changes can make a huge difference in your biceps training, and you’ll be surprised how much more progress you’ll make by fixing these small errors. Step up your intensity by being a form stickler, increase your pump and blood flow for nutrient delivery with P.S.P. and remember, it’s not about the car you drive, but the size of the arm hanging out of the window!