Increase the size and strength of the front of your upper arms, by varying your hand position during your workouts. The Biceps Brachii is a two-headed muscle that is located on the front of your upper arm. The Biceps are strengthened when you perform elbow flexion. Elbow flexion is most commonly known as arm curls or biceps curls. When you flex your elbow, your bring your hand toward your shoulder, which is a single-joint movement. Since the only way your Biceps contract is when you flex your elbow, your exercise selections are limited. Instead, you add variety by changing the hand positions during the curls. This increases the number of muscle fibers called upon for the exercises and therefore, enhances your overall strength.
3 Types of Arm Curls
The most common way to perform an arm curl is with the palms facing up. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing forward. Bend the elbows to raise the weights toward your shoulders. This targets both the long and short heads of the Biceps Brachii. The resistance for arm curls includes different types such as dumbbells, a barbell, a resistance band or a biceps curl machine.
Beginning the arm curl with your arms at your sides and your palms facing behind you, places your hands in a palms down position. These curls are often known as reverse curls and are performed with many of the same equipment as arm curls such as dumbbells, kettlebells, a straight cable bar or using an EZ curl barbell. Reverse curls target the forearms and the Brachioradialis, which originates on your upper arm and ends in your lower arm. A strong Brachioradialis assists in arm curls and helps you lift more weight which increases the size of your upper arms.
The third hand position for arm curl exercises is to face your palms toward each other. Also referred to as hammer curls, this arm curl exercise is best performed with dumbbells so you can maintain the palms facing in position. You can alter the exercise by standing, sitting or reclining slightly on an incline bench. Hammer curls use the Brachioradialis as a strong elbow flexor in this position, but the exercise also contracts the long head of the Biceps Brachii.
The key to successful resistance training is to use the correct amount of weight, reps and sets to create muscle failure. You also want to use a variety of exercises to keep the muscle stimulated. If you always perform the same exercises, the muscles stop responding with gains. Instead, you will maintain your current strength and size. Select a weight that makes the final two repetitions of each set challenging. For example, if you complete a set of 10 arm curls and feel that you could do 20, you need to increase the weight. Your number of sets and reps may change depending on other exercise in your workout routine. For instance, if you perform pull-ups first, your Biceps workout may be lighter than if you first perform squats. Remember to include 24 to 48 hours of rest in between your Biceps workouts for adequate muscle recovery and to prevent injuries.