You’ve made it here!
To the palace of bicep gains!
And I will share my 20 years of experience in quickly getting your arms the biggest they can get!
You’ve been looking to grow those biceps, and somehow, the Bicep-Multiverse has answered your muscle-gaining requests and revealed to you that the single-arm dumbbell bicep curl is your golden exercise!
No? Well, I thought it was a fun intro!
Right – Thanks in advance for dropping by, and I may as well tell you that once you read this entire blog post, you will be itching to get to the gym to train your biceps!
Well, will you argue about bicep muscle gains when you can easily add another whole inch to your guns by adding this exercise and tweaking your arm workouts?
Will you challenge the logic of 20 years of experience where I have made my trainee’s arms go from 15 inches to 19 inches within 24 months?
By the time you finish reading this blog, you will know what the dumbbell bicep curl is, why you should be doing it, all the benefits & gotcha’s and HOW you can add this to your current arm blasting workouts!
So let’s crack on and get those guns growing!
Let’s break down this bicep grower; I want you to know what it is.
The single-arm dumbbell bicep curl is an upper-body exercise that targets the bicep muscle group.
The curl primarily targets your biceps (brachii) and hits both key muscles; short head bicep and long head bicep. As a bonus, it also hits the forearm muscles and is a good overall arm exercise.
I want you to know why you will be doing what I am telling you to do – else we have failed at the first muscle-building hurdle.
Here are five of the key benefits of this curl:
Recommended Read: >>> The Ultimate Guide for Arm Training (everything you need to know) <<<
I couldn’t write this article without putting up an image of the biceps and what their made up of.
Knowing your bicep brachii, short-head bicep muscle, and long head is critical in understanding the biceps.
Recommended Read: >>> 10 Best Short Head Biceps Exercises For Massive Upper Arms <<<
I can’t stress the following enough – ALWAYS GET THE FORM RIGHT AND ALWAYS PERFORM THE FULL RANGE OF MOTION.
I think I am shouting above, but if there is one thing you ALWAYS do, that is this! Perform every exercise you do through its full range, or you will waste precious muscle growth opportunities!
First, make sure you have warmed up by doing 10 minutes on the treadmill and some light dumbbell curls (which you will learn below)
Once the warm-up sets are over, get a pair of dumbbells that will enable you to perform ten strict curls.
Place these dumbbells in front of you (either on the floor or dumbbell rack)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and grab the dumbbells in each hand.
Hold the dumbbells to your sides, so your palms face your upper thighs.
Keep your elbow fixed to your sides, ensure your shoulder is down and back, rotate your wrist so your palm faces forward, and curl the dumbbell up.
The top of the movement will be when the dumbbell touches your front shoulder; at this position, flex the bicep hard for 2 seconds and then lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
Well done! You have just completed one rep! Let’s go for nine more!
Recommended Read: >>> The Eccentric Bicep Curl: How To Pack On Muscle To Your Biceps! <<<
Now, this is where I want you to shine!
I want to share the most important tips with you so you can use them from Day 1 and not have to learn them by trial and error!
1. Start with the Right Weight: Pick a dumbbell that you can comfortably lift for ten reps while maintaining proper form. If the weight is too heavy, it can lead to improper form and potential injury.
2. Proper Form: I can’t stress this enough. Remember that half reps = half growth opportunities!
3. Avoid swinging: Control the reps through the entire range of motion. Don’t swing the dumbbells up, as that will only increase the risk of injury.
4. Engage Your Core: Engage your core muscles as you lift the weight to stabilize your body and maintain proper form.
5. Breathe Properly: Exhale as you lift the weight towards your chest and inhale as you lower it back down.
6. Gradually Increase Weight: Progressive overload is probably the biggest reason for continuously growing your muscles! In this case, I want you to increase the weight every time you get to ten reps.
Recommended Read: >>> 7 Best Bicep Stretches to Warm Up Your Upper Arms <<<
I want you to witness your gains!
The results you get by adding this exercise can, will and should amaze you IF you follow all the advice in this post.
But expect the following:
Increased Bicep Strength: You can expect to gain up to 15% strength by performing these curls. Keep a log from Day 1 and witness your progress.
Bigger biceps: Following a balanced bicep and arm training protocol for 12 weeks, you can expect to gain up to 1 inch in size on your upper arm.
Improved Grip Strength: Holding and curling a dumbbell requires you to grip the handle firmly. This recruits your grip muscles and forearm, so expect both to increase.
Recommended Read: >>> The Best 5-Minute Dumbbell Bicep Workout for Maximum Gains <<<
Recommended Read: >>> Mastering Tricep Workouts with Dumbbells: A Comprehensive Guide to Strengthen Your Arms <<<
I will assume that you currently work out and train your biceps.
If so, you can easily add four sets of single-arm dumbbell curls to your bicep training. You can add them at the beginning or end, follow the progressive overload training principle, and see how you progress.
To make sure you get the most from this exercise, I want to share the following with you
Add this exercise to your bicep workouts for 12 weeks
Adopt the progressive overload principle and so add weight every time you get ten strict reps
Keep a log of every workout; this will show your progress and also reveal any basis for tweaks
Perform every rep with 2 seconds curling up, 2 seconds flexing hard at the top, and then 4 seconds on the movement’s negative
If you need cables or resistance bands to substitute, do so sparingly.
Recommended Read: >>> Retro Fitness Vs Blink: A Detailed Comparison <<<
Here are some of the most popular ways in which you can vary this curl to your needs:
Vary the Weight: You can change how the bicep is targeted by varying the weight to get to the ten reps. Always keep the muscle guessing and give it reasons to grow.
Change the Grip: You can use a neutral (hammer) grip if that helps, and even a reverse (overhand) grip.
Adjust the Reps and Sets: Your priority should always be ten reps and add weight for mass and strength. But you can incorporate super sets and higher rep ranges to shock the biceps. This could mean performing 25 reps for reduced weight or 20 reps with a slower tempo.
Recommended Read: >>> Is It Possible to Increase Wrist Size <<<
I’ve told you what you should be doing, but now I want to be clearer about what you should NOT do:
Swinging the weights up Strict form means executing the full range of motion with strict, slow form. Don’t cheat the weight up; you will only be cheating your gains!
Overarching Your Back: Another mistake is arching your back during the exercise, which can place unnecessary stress on your lower back. Instead, maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement, engaging your core muscles for stability.
Lifting Too Much Weight: A weight that’s too heavy will force the body to cheat. Cheating = risk of injury. So always stick to a weight that you can get ten reps and work back from there.
Allowing Your Elbow to Flare Out: Keeping your elbow close to your body throughout the exercise is important for targeting your biceps effectively.
Flex Your Biceps: To get the most out of the exercise, it’s important to contract your biceps fully at the top for a count of 2 seconds. This helps to activate and strengthen your muscles effectively.
Recommended Read: >>> The Lateral Bicep Curl: The Complete How-To Guide <<<
Recommended Read: >>> Do Pushups Work Biceps? The Jaw-Dropping Answer You’ve Been Waiting For <<<
Recommended Read: >>> My 9 Best Long Head Bicep Exercises for Giant Peaks <<<
This exercise targets your biceps and your forearms. To do this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other), and curl the weight up to your shoulder while keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for several reps.
Recommended Read: >>> Rack Pulls Alternative: A Deep Dive into Powerful Deadlift Variations <<<
A cable machine allows for constant tension on the biceps throughout the entire range of motion. Attach a straight bar to the low pulley and stand facing the machine to do this exercise. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and curl the weight towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for several reps.
This is a bodyweight exercise that is great for building both bicep and back strength. To do this exercise, grab onto a chin-up bar with an underhand grip and hang with your arms fully extended. Pull your body up towards the bar until your chin is over the bar, then slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat for several reps.
Recommended Read: >>> Bicep Workouts at Home: 12 Powerful Bicep Exercises for Irresistible Arms <<<
The single-arm dumbbell curl is where you curl a dumbbell, either seated or standing, one arm at a time for several reps. The exercise works your biceps and forearms and packs on significant muscle size and strength.
The main benefits of dumbbell bicep curls are; the ability to focus on one arm at a time, place the majority of muscular stress on the two heads of the bicep brachii and allow you to move from different dumbbells so you can drop-set the exercise for increased intensity.
To get the most gains from bicep curls, focus on the range of motion, pick a weight which allows you to get ten reps and perform the rep in 2-2-4 motion. This means 2 seconds up, 2 seconds flex and 4 seconds back to the starting position.
You should add dumbbell curls to the start or end of your biceps workout and ensure you follow the progressive overload principle so you can force the muscles to adapt and grow.
You should train the biceps once per week with up to 12 sets total. Anything more can lead to overtraining.
The best bicep peak exercises are spider curls, preacher bench curls and dumbell curls.
To increase arm size, always aim to increase the weight or reps in every workout. This is called the progressive overload principle and maximizes your chances of growing the muscle consistently.
Other exercises to build the biceps include: cheat barbell curls, single-arm cable curls, cable barbell curls, preacher curls and close-grip pull-ups.
You can use the cable machine and resistance bands to add variations to the exercise. In addition, you can also play with the time-under-tension and slow the entire rep down to be performed over a longer time.
Your biceps will grow outside of the gym. So ensure you have the right diet and nutrition that will help fuel the muscles for workouts and recovery. Sleep is critical to muscular recovery and rebuilding, so always get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Seated means you can perform the dumbbell curl on an angled bench (45 to 90 degrees), and standing means performing the curl standing up.
The hammer curl can be performed vertically in line with the body OR across the body. Each variation hits the bicep heads with slightly different muscular stress.
Preacher curls are an awesome bicep peak and thickness builder, and adding them for three sets of 10 reps is highly recommended.
Add angled dumbbell curls at the beginning or the end of the workout, depending on your current arm workout. It can be used as a builder or finisher with a weight that should enable you to do ten reps.
All ready? You should be ready and pumped to add this exercise to your bicep training to pack on the size and strength!
I want you to follow the advice above, add the curl to your existing (or new) workout plan and log everything! I want you to progress every workout and witness just how good this exercise is!