When it comes to training there are a hundred different movements that could work for each bodypart however one of the best biceps exercises of all time is often overlooked. Whether you are a Powerlifter, Strongman, Bodybuilder or Crossfitter if you ever perform a curl during your training week you would probably get better results using the Incline Curl. What makes the properly performed incline curl unique is that it simultaneously eliminates body motion and places the bicep in a stretched position. The Incline curl was first highly advocated by bodybuilding legend Steve Reeves and before long all the top guys were doing it. Arnold Schwarzenegger started practicing the movement but didn’t understand why it was so recommended at first until he noticed Reeves performed them with his elbows completely stationary. From then on he loved the movement and used it often. Arnold Performing Incline Curls
Like we discussed above not only does bodybuilding history align itself with this style of training the stretched position but so does lab testing as far back as 1993 in Antonio J. and Gonyea WJ cited below.
Med Sci Sports Exerc.25:1333-45; 1993.
Science Behind The Movement : The stretched position is optimal for muscle recruitment because as the muscle shortens there is an increasing amount of over lapping actin filaments which means which interferes the actins ability to optimally contract the myosin cross bridges. Less cross bridge contraction ultimately results in a lessened ability to develop tension. And as we know placing maximum mechanical tension on a muscle is key to optimal growth . This means the top exercises for building muscular mass have a strength curve where as the tension increases the muscle elongates and as the muscle shortens the tension diminishes. This of course includes the Incline curl.
Performing The Incline Curl Correctly: First off the angle of the bench is dictated by your individual shoulder mobility , start at near a 90 degree angle and slowly work your way down each set to find how low you can go comfortably. Next you should focus on keeping your elbows completely stationary and just allow your forearm to move. You can grip the dumbbell in the middle or with your thumb side touching the inside of the plate, this places more weight on the pinky side and forces the bicep to work even harder keeping your palms supinated. Contract your tricep at the bottom of each rep to get a maximum stretch in the bicep and squeeze the bicep momentarily at the top before slowly lowering the weight back down.
Variations to Try
Supinating Curls- At the bottom of the movement have your hands neutral ( facing eachother) and supinate your forearm( turn palms up ) as you curl upwards.
Hammer Curls on an incline
Alternating or Simultaneous Repetitions- You can alternate each arm or perform the repetitions at the same time. Another option I like the more I try it is doing half your reps for one arm, then half for the other and alternating. For example 4 with your right arm, 4 left, 4 right, 4 left , stop.
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