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A.A. Milne, the author of the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh, once said “a bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” This is certainly true for me, for one I love to eat and when you have a wife who is as lovely as a cook as mine, then it is really easy to love to eat. Therefore, one of the major reasons I work out, along with how much fun it is and staying healthy is keeping trim. But, for this bear my stomach isn’t the only thing I want to keep trim, arms along with other parts of my body are things that I want to strengthen, and in my opinion bicep curls are one of the best things you can do to keep your arms strong and trim.
Benefits of the Bicep Curl
- improved strength in the bicep/forearm muscles
- muscle development of the bicep/forearm muscles
- tones your upper arms
- helps to strengthen other upper body activities
How to do a dumbbell Bicep Curl
- keep your body straight with feet hip width apart
- have a dumbbell in each hand by your side and palms facing forward
- keep your elbows close to your body
- slowly curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders
- with the dumbbells parallel to your shoulders squeeze your biceps
- lastly, slowly lower the dumbbells back to your sides
- repeat for desired repetitions
Isolation v.s. Compound Exercises
When it comes to choosing certain exercises I create my fitness routines around compound movements (exercises that use more than one joint and muscle group), like squats and deadlifts. However, I often supplement my fitness routine with isolation movements (exercises that use just one joint and muscle group) like the bicep curl, to make certain that I workout my entire body throughout the week. Now in my opinion compound movements are the most effective exercises that you can do because they workout multiple body parts, but if you have the time (and energy) adding isolation movements to your routine will allow you to target specific body parts and strengthen parts of your body that don’t get as much attention during a compound movement exercise.
For example, squats are a great full body exercise (and compound movement) that primarily works out your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core, but when I workout my legs in addition to doing squats, I do calve raises (an isolation movement) to really focus on working out my calves. The same thing applies with arms, I know I am working out my arms when I do compound movements like shoulder and bench presses, but if I want to really focus on my arms I need to add an isolation movement like bicep curls.
Functionality of Bicep Curls
Another important factor for me in choosing what exercises to perform is how functional that exercise is, in other words, how does a specific exercise like doing deadlifts help me perform other tasks or activities I might encounter throughout the day. For example, performing deadlifts has a functional translation in strengthening my ability to pick something off the ground, which is really useful when putting up groceries or playing with my kids.
The bicep curl is very functional too, because the bicep muscle simply put is the mechanism that closes your arm, and you use this muscle every time you eat a bowl of cereal, brush your hair and perform countless other activities that you are mostly unaware of. Therefore, when you perform bicep curls you are also strengthening that muscle that has a specific job (closing your arm) and helping to ensure that you perform the activities that use the bicep muscle better.
I think that there are many good reasons to add bicep curls to your fitness routine: from toning your arms to helping support other parts of your body. Regardless of how important or effective an exercise is, I am a big believer in doing exercises you just simply love to do. Because in my opinion doing workouts you love will keep you motivated more than anything else.
If you have any questions about bicep curls or suggestions, please feel free to comment here and as always thank you for reading and cheers to your good health!