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Bicep Exercises With Dumbbells

hammer curlsIf you’ve got a couple of old dumbbells lying around, you have enough to get started by way of bigger arms. Just about every guy I have ever met who decides to “get in shape” is picturing gigantic biceps in his mind. He has probably gotten his hands on a couple of bodybuilding magazines that will program reps and sets for him.

There may even be complicated charts in both pie and graph form, by way of explaining just what percentage of his max he should be using for blah blah…the truth is that it’s not complicated. Some simple bicep exercises with dumbbells, done consistently and well, will give you some size.

Today I want to show you two old standbys that gym rats are going to be doing from now until the end of time, speaking conservatively.

Preacher curls

Nothing too complicated here. Hold the dumbbell in one hand. Brace your triceps over the pad and get the top of the pad as snugly into your armpit as possible. Now perform biceps curls as long as you can do them painlessly and without undue torque on your muscles. Don’t let yourselves get pulled out of alignment just to get a set done. The goal is always to make the set matter, not to make it end.

Also, here’s a brief look at the name behind the preacher curl.

Hammer curls

Possibly my favorite dumbbell exercise. Here’s a video of an intense gent doing a set of hammer curls. I would not recommend using this much effort or momentum, but this video will show you the pattern of the biceps curl. It’s…well, you know what a curl is.

The hammer curl gives the brachioradialis a lot of attention. Like many other dumbbell exercises, I have also found these curls to be a great help with my grip work. I’m always interested in strengthening my wrists whenever possible, and this curl variation forces the wrist to lock into place, versus the dynamic training often seen with wrist curls on the EZ bars.

These two exercises can be done with heavy or light weight. If you focus on getting stronger, however, you’re always going to putting on muscle in the process. I don’t think it has to be either or. Strength training should always win out, in this librarian’s opinion.

On the other hand, what are you doing take weight training advice from a librarian, right?


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