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The Eccentric Bicep Curl: How To Pack On Muscle To Your Biceps!

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Eccentric bicep curls are an excellent exercise to add to your arm workout to boost bicep muscle growth! This bicep exercise stresses the arm’s long and short head, increasing muscle size and strength!

 

The upper arm exercise requires you to focus on the eccentric (lowering or negative) phase of the curl, whereby you lower the weight under strict control for up to 10 seconds. Sounds easy enough. But if you select a heavy enough weight for 10 reps, this exercise will boost muscle growth and strength to new levels!

 

If you have arrived at this blog, you likely want to know how to use this training style to force your biceps into newfound growth.

 

So get ready to be arm-ed (!) on how to add inches to your biceps!

What is an eccentric bicep curl?

The eccentric bicep curl requires you to perform the regular bicep curl. However, during the eccentric part of the movement (often referred to as the lowering portion), you ensure the barbell\dumbbell is lowered slowly and under strict control. It is common for people to take up to 10 seconds during this eccentric phase.

How to do the eccentric bicep curl?

Let’s now look at how to perform the eccentric bicep curl

 

  • Load a barbell with enough weight that will allow you to perform ten strict reps.

 

  • Place the barbell on the floor before you and get ready to use a shoulder-width grip to pick the bar up.

 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and pick up the barbell. It would help if you used the underhand grip (palms facing up)

 

  • Push your shoulders down and back and ensure your elbows are pinned to your sides, then perform the concentric part of the movement (curl it up)

 

  • At the top of the movement, squeeze hard for 3 seconds

 

  • Lower the weight slowly to a count of 5 to 10 seconds.

 

  • Once the bar gets to the starting position, that is one rep. Repeat for nine more reps.

 

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Which muscles do the eccentric bicep curl target?

The eccentric bicep curl targets the biceps brachii, consisting of long and short heads. In addition, the forearm, front deltoids and triceps are called into play during the movement, albeit for minimal support.

What are the benefits of eccentric bicep curl?

The eccentric bicep curl is very similar to the standard bicep curl, except that it requires you to focus on lowering the bar\dumbbell under strict control and for 5 to 10 seconds.

 

Here are 6 of the critical benefits of this bicep movement:

 

  • Improved muscle control: By controlling the eccentric portion of the exercise, you create an increased mind-muscle link.

 

  • Increased muscle size: Eccentric contractions have been shown to increase muscle size and strength more effectively than concentric contractions (the lifting phase of the exercise).

 

  • Enhanced muscle strength: Eccentric exercises can help increase muscle strength by challenging your muscles to work against a more significant load. The negative portion of any movement is where you have the most considerable strength capability, so training yields more gains.

 

  • Improved muscle endurance: Eccentric exercises can help improve muscle endurance by training your muscles to handle a greater volume of work.

 

  • Reduced risk of injury: By training your muscles to handle heavier loads, eccentric exercises can help reduce the risk of injury during everyday activities.

 

  • Better muscle function: Improved muscle control and strength can improve overall muscle function and help you perform daily tasks more efficiently.

 

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What are the challenges of eccentric bicep curls?

There are a few challenges that can arise when performing eccentric bicep curls:

 

Exercise form: You must ensure your curling form is strict and that your arms are pinned to the sides, and the only parts that move are the lower arms. Using heavier weights can force the body to adapt and compromise the effectiveness of the exercise AND risk injury.

 

Weight selection: Eccentric curls require you to control the weight on the way down, which places extra stress on the muscles and tendons. Therefore, it is vital that you only select a weight that is heavy enough for 10 strict reps. Once you can perform 10 reps, you can increase the weight.

 

DOMS and muscle soreness: Any exercise that requires you to control the negative portion of the movement will lead to increased stress on the muscle worked. Expect DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and general soreness to increase when performing this exercise. If you need extra days to recover, then don’t be afraid to add them.

 

Grip control: Ensure you use a palm-up grip on the bar and that it’s firm. Slowly lowering the bar will stress the forearms, tendons and biceps, so you want to ensure you hold the bar securely.

 

Controlling the tempo: Eccentric bicep curls involve a slow, controlled weight descent. Maintaining weight control and moving at the proper tempo throughout the entire range of motion can be challenging.

 

Type of eccentric bicep curls

There are many exercises for the biceps that can leverage the eccentric part of the movement, and below are 6 of the most common ones:

 

Standing dumbbell eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed with a pair of dumbbells and involves slowly lowering the weights to the sides of your body while keeping your upper arms stationary. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

Seated eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed while sitting on a bench or chair and involves slowly lowering a dumbbell or barbell to the sides of your body while keeping your upper arms stationary. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

Incline bench eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed while lying on an incline bench and involves slowly lowering a dumbbell or barbell to the sides of your body while keeping your upper arms stationary. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

Preacher curls eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed on a preacher curl bench and involves slowly lowering a dumbbell or barbell to the sides of your body while keeping your upper arms stationary. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

Hammer curl eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed with a pair of dumbbells and involves slowly lowering the weights to the sides of your body while keeping your upper arms stationary and maintaining a neutral grip on the dumbbells. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

Concentration curls eccentric bicep curl: This exercise is performed with a single dumbbell and involves slowly lowering the weight to the side of your body while keeping your upper arm stationary and bent at a 90-degree angle. The eccentric portion must take up to 10 seconds.

 

4 tips to follow for eccentric bicep curls

Every exercise has its nuances, and eccentric movements are no exception. We have listed the 6 top tips below that we recommend you follow:

 

  1. Begin with a lighter weight because eccentric bicep curls can be more complicated than regular ones. As your muscles get used to the exercise, you can increase your weight.

  2. Form and control are everything when performing the exercise. Make sure you control the weight on the positive and negative parts of the movement and try and focus on the mind-muscle connection.

  3. You can vary your grip width depending on which eccentric bicep curl you do. Changing this up will hit different muscle fibers in the arm.

  4. Range of motion: Always strive to perform a full range of motion and include the squeeze of the muscles at the top of the movement.

 

What is the difference between concentric and eccentric bicep curls?

The concentric and eccentric phases of the movement can be summarized simply as the up and down movement.

 

Eccentric is where the muscle resists the weight, and concentric is where the muscle is lifting the weight.

 

How to add eccentric bicep curls to your workout routine

You can add any of the previously mentioned eccentric exercises to your bicep routine. Still, we recommend that you consider the following:

 

  • Only perform 4 sets of 10 reps of eccentric bicep curls in your routine. Why? This advanced-intensity training mode puts a lot of stress on the arms.

 

  • Be sure to monitor how your arms feel and if you need them to recover for longer, then add a day or two

 

  • If you experience any form of pain in the arm, then stop performing the exercise.

 

  • Always aim to get 10 strict reps and then add weight in the next workout

 

  • Perform warm-down stretches after you have done the training. This aids recovery significantly.

 

FAQs

Is a bicep curl eccentric or concentric?

During a bicep curl, the eccentric phase occurs when you lower the weight back down to the starting position. The concentric phase occurs when you lift the weight towards your shoulder.

 

In general, the eccentric phase of an exercise involves the muscles lengthening as they work to lower weight or resist gravity. In contrast, the concentric phase involves the muscles shortening as they work to lift a weight or generate force.

 

Which is stronger eccentric or concentric?

During a bicep curl, the eccentric phase occurs when you lower the weight back down to the starting position. The concentric phase occurs when you lift the weight towards your shoulder.

 

In general, the eccentric phase of an exercise involves the muscles lengthening as they work to lower weight or resist gravity. In contrast, the concentric phase involves the muscles shortening as they work to lift a weight or generate force. It has been estimated that the eccentric phase can be 1.75 times stronger than the concentric.

 

Can you build muscle with concentric only?

Yes, you can, but there will be more optimal options. For a muscle to be stressed, it needs a positive and negative load (concentric contraction and eccentric contraction). So by performing part of the movement, you miss out on its full benefit.

For a bicep curl, how long should concentric and eccentric motions last?

The eccentric part of the bicep curl should take up to 10 seconds, and the concentric part should be more than 3 seconds.

Does eccentric training cause more muscle damage?

Yes. As you are stronger during the eccentric part, the muscle fibers will be able to take more load and stress and break down more.

Summary: Eccentric Bicep Curls

You are ready to adopt this exercise into your routine and get those arms bursting from the seams!

 

As always, be careful with the movement, respect the weight and be consistent. If you follow these rules – you will pack considerable muscle mass, size and strength to your biceps!

 

Please let us know how you get on, and stay in touch! We are better when we learn and grow together!

 

 

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