Fitness Tips

‘I’m a Barry’s Instructor, and This Is How To Get a Perfect Bicep Curl Every Time’

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Picking up a pair of weights can be a daunting task. It can be tricky to know which ones to grab, how to use them, and what moves to do. Luckily, if you're on the look-out for the best way to strengthen your arms, one move is the reigning champ: the bicep curl.

If you're wondering what your bicep even is, picture the little yellow muscle emoji. The bulging muscle? Meet your bicep. As one of the main muscles in your arm, your biceps help you with just about everything. (Think: assisting with your posture, propelling your body as you run, and—most importantly—help you lug heavy grocery bags into your kitchen). As senior instructors at Barry's, Amber Rees and Lindsey Clayton know a thing or two about bicep curls. Today, they are going to take you through the 3-step checklist you need to follow to make sure your curls are up to code.

  1. Keep your elbows tight to your sides: The first step to perfecting your bicep curls is to make sure you're starting off strong. To set yourself up for success, you'll want to stand up straight, brace the muscles of your core, and make sure your knees aren't locked. Next, make sure your elbows are tight to your sides. A common mistake with a bicep curl is to curl with your elbows pulled behind your torso. Rees says this is a no-no, and can place unnecessary stress on your shoulders—as opposed to letting your biceps do the work.
  2. Don't swing the weights: Remember, it's a bicep curl—not a bicep swing. By swinging the weights up, as opposed to bending and straightening your arms with control, "You are using everything but your biceps to get those curls going," says Rees. If you catch yourself swinging—especially on those last few reps—it's a sign that the weight you're using is probably too heavy. When grabbing weights for an upper-body workout, never sacrifice form for a heavier weight.
  3. Use your full range of motion: Overall, the movement of a bicep curl is pretty simple: you lift the weight up to your shoulder, then lower it down. However, sometimes people like to cheat on their range of motion in order to make the move easier. "It's hard when you release it all the way down—so people only do it halfway," says Rees. When you're lowering your weights down, make sure they come all the way back to your sides. Give yourself a 2-second pause to reset before hitting your next rep.

Now that you're curling with ease, you can take this move to the next level. "The bicep isn't just one muscle," says Rees. Once you have a strong foundation for your regular bicep curl, you can try a wide curl (to work your inner-arm) or a cross-body curl (to work your outer-arm). Whichever curl you choose, you are going to be an upper-body pro in no time, and you'll be carrying all of your groceries in one trip. Think you're ready to nail it? Check out the video above for the full demonstration.

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