Bump Up Your Biceps
Six new ways to build flex appeal
Your body has approximately 640 muscles, depending on who’s counting. But just as your junior school teacher gave special attention to the class “pets”, you have an oversized affection for your biceps. They’re relatively small as muscles go, and if your arm workouts don’t rely much on biceps curls, they probably aren’t growing much bigger.
But muscleheads like me have never stopped doing curls. I may not put many in the workouts at my site, streamfit.com (we emphasise short, efficient routines for fat loss), but I’ve been known to throw some in at the end of my own training sessions. I truly believe that your biceps can’t reach their full potential if you don’t work them directly from time to time. Whether you agree or not, I’ll bet you do some biceps work anyway, just to be on the safe side.
When you do, there’s no reason to settle for garden-variety curls, not when your body has dozens of muscles willing to jump in and share the love. That’s why I’ve provided six ways to upgrade one of the best arm exercises on the planet. They’ll work your favorite bundles of contractile tissue while burning fat, training your core, improving your athletic power, and making you look like someone who probably was the teacher’s favourite, even if you would never admit that to your classmates.
Push-up-position hammer curl
How to do it
Grab a pair of dumbbells and assume a push-up position with your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arm, curl the weight in your right hand toward your right shoulder. Lower it, and repeat with your left arm. Continue alternating right and left curls for 30 to 60 seconds. Add weight in subsequent workouts, but don’t try to speed up the movement.
How it works
If you’ve done rows from a push-up position, this exercise will seem familiar. But by doing a curl instead of a row, you move the load farther from your centre of gravity and base of support. Your core muscles, in turn, need to work harder to stabilise your spine, making this one of the best ab exercises you’ve probably never done.