The other night in the gym I was watching everyone finish up their Crossfit Workouts before I started teaching my kettlebell class. On a stupid whim we all decided that in the few minutes between we were going to have “max curl night.” Everyone seems to know what a bicep curl is, whether they’re doing preachers, concentration curls, plate curls, or any other variation.
What nobody really seem to be doing, however, is a heavy curl. It started out as a joke for the guys I was with, even though I had personally been trying to increased the amount of weight I could curl on a barbell for some time.
We loaded the bar (a straight bar, not the EZ bar with the camber) up to 85 pounds and just about everyone was stopped right in their tracks. This was fascinating to watch. I have seen these guys do so many curls that it boggles the mind. But anything over 70 pounds was an absolute no go.
A couple of the stronger guys made it up to 115. I am currently able to curl 145, but I miss about 50% of the time. I don’t try it unless the curl pattern is testing well (check out this review of Grip and Rip for what I mean by “testing) and I’m feeling good.
145 is not world class, but I was surprised at how far above the abilities of most guys in this gym, including some truly incredible athletes. They can do so many things I can’t, but curls is not currently one of them.
I am always looking for ways to get stronger. I am only interested in getting better. If I can put more weight on the bar, then that is what I want to do whenever possible, although more weight is certainly not the only metric of progress.
So if you’re ever looking for a way to make curl day a little more interesting, try an experiment–safely, without injury or pain, of course, see how much you can curl across all of the variations that you practice already.
If you set time aside for specific biceps work, my guess is that it is because you would like to have bigger arms. Stronger nearly always equals bigger, so give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised by how interesting everything gets once it’s heavy.
PS: This guy is curling 160, but he’s getting pretty wild with the momentum. That’s not quite what I meant by interesting, but he can probably do a lot more strict than I can right now.