Basic anatomy tells us that our biceps are not only elbow flexors, but they’re also forearm supinators. Based on this, we’ve found the best way to ensure maximal biceps recruitment when doing dumbbell or cable biceps curls, is to hit both elbow flexion and forearm supination by holding the handle in a unique way.
Here are two new gripping strategy we use, which I can promise that immediately after trying them, you’ll feel a much better biceps pump!
Biceps Curls – Performance U Style!
Holding a Dumbbell:
Instead of gripping the dumbbell from the middle (in the traditional manner), grip it all the way to one side (shown below).
As you can see (in the image above), grip toward the thumb side with your hand as far to this side as possible.
Doing this will force you to resist forearm pronation by using more of your biceps supinators while you perform curling exercises as long as you perform the curl as we display in this video:
Holding a Cable:
This same strategy can be applied to cable curls.
Find a PVC style cable handle and fold the strap in on itself (pull it to one side) to create a new grip,
with both sides of strap on the same side (as shown below).
Now, grab the handle so the strap is coming out the same side as your pinky finger.
We’ve also found this will again cause more biceps recruitment because you have now added an element of resisted supination to the biceps curl, provided you perform the biceps curl action in the same manner displayed in the video above.
Biceps (Isolation) Training Isn’t Just for Looks!
Many sports coaches don’t think specific arm training protocols are very “functional” or have much carryover to sports performance of life activities. We completely disagree!
Just try to run fast or jump high with a strained or torn biceps? You can’t, because the biceps play a functional role in both those activities.Plus, many top speed coaches will tell you to keep your elbows at roughly a 90-degree bend while you sprint. The biceps are primarily reason for making that happen!
At Performance U, we believe that specific biceps training is a must for ALL grappling and combat athletes. Everything from pulling a submission to attempting a take down to throwing a hook punch heavily involves the biceps, and therefore demands the muscle to be strong.
How about football player cradling the ball and pushing through traffic. We don’t see why a football player, who needs to protect the football when bigger and stronger players are trying to rip it away, would avoid doing some isolation exercises that are specific to the situations he’ll encounter on the field?
Of course athletes need total-body strength, and of course they need good trunk stiffness. But they also need to be really good at holding something in front of their bodies.
Plus, what’s more functional than holding an object in front of your body like a mom holding her baby?
That my friends, is a biceps curl.
To us, these examples prove the biceps are indeed involved in important aspects of athletic and normal function!