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How to Build Your Biceps With Concentration Curls…

Get that enviable biceps peak with the ultimate strength and muscle building move: concentration curls. Although this exercise makes only a slight tweak to the classic biceps curl, it’s enough to make the move a must-have in your arm workout arsenal.

Why are concentration curls effective?

Unlike standard curls, dumbbell concentration curls allow you to focus on contracting the biceps muscle without using body momentum, helping to maximize tension placed on the muscle. “The stationary position of the elbow allows you to have greater control over the movement,” explains Cody Braun, Beachbody fitness expert. Because your arm is braced against your thigh, you’re able to target the biceps muscle even more than you would in other types of curls. This results is greater activation of the biceps, which is what helps build more strength.

Here’s how to do concentration curls properly, and why you should add them to your fitness routine.

How to Do Concentration Curls With Perfect Form

How to Do Concentration Curls

  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat, your knees spread wide, and a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Bend forward and brace the back of your right elbow against the inside of your right knee. Your right arm should hanging straight down, with your right palm facing your left leg.
  • Keeping your upper body still and your elbow against your knee, curl the weight toward your shoulder with your palm facing upward.
  • Pause and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  • Do all of your reps, switch sides, and repeat, performing an equal number of reps with each arm.

Concentration Curl Variations

Below are two other ways you can do concentration curls. The first is a standing biceps concentration curl, which is great if you don’t have access to a bench or stability ball. The second example is a seated hammer concentration curl. The grip of the hammer curl places more emphasis on your brachialis, as compared to a regular biceps concentration curl.

Standing Concentration Curl

Appears in: P90X – Back and Biceps

  • Assume a wide, staggered stance with your left leg forward and your left arm supported on your left thigh (as if you were about to attempt to start a lawnmower).
  • Holding a dumbbell at arm’s length with your right hand (palm facing forward), make a fist with your left hand and brace the back of your right elbow against the back of your left wrist.
  • Keeping your back flat and core braced, curl the weight toward your shoulder.
  • Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  • Do all of your reps, switch sides, and repeat, performing an equal number of reps with each arm.

Hammer Concentration Curl

Appears in: Body Beast >> Bulk Arms

  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat, your knees spread wide, and a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Bend forward and brace the back of your right elbow against the inside of your right knee. Your right arm should be vertical, with your right palm facing toward you.
  • Keeping your upper body still, your elbow against your knee, and your palm facing inward, curl the weight toward your shoulder.
  • Pause and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  • Do all of your reps, switch sides, and repeat, performing an equal number of reps with each arm.

How to Make Concentration Curls Easier or Harder

By making a few adjustments, this move can be accessible to someone who’s a beginner at lifting weights, or extra challenging to someone who’s looking to take their training to the next level.

Make it easier

Make it harder

  • Use a heavier weight.
  • Slow your lifting tempo: This will increase time under tension, making your muscles work even longer and harder during each rep.

Are Concentration Curls Good for Mass?

Doing concentration curls alone isn’t a guaranteed way to gain mass, but it can definitely help you build bigger biceps when included in a workout plan. Focus on load (how much weight you lift) and volume (how many reps and sets you do) if you want to build mass. Braun recommends selecting a moderate-to-heavy weight and doing about 10 reps per set. Prioritize bilateral moves (ones that work both sides of your body at the same time) like barbell biceps curls, and then finish off with concentration curls to top off your growth.

What Muscles Do Concentration Curls Work?

This move really concentrates on the biceps muscles (hence the name, concentrationcurl). The technical name for this muscle is the biceps brachii, and it’s the muscle that pops out when you do the strong man pose. It’s comprised of two heads – the short head and the long head – that work to flex the arm at the elbow (the motion of a curl). The biceps is also responsible for the supination (i.e. outward rotation) of the forearm.


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