You can do all the biceps curls in the world in your quest for big biceps, and you may see your biceps grow. But if you’re not doing your curls with perfect form and really focusing on squeezing your biceps, then you won’t really grow your guns, and you’ll miss out on the baseball-sized look that can really set your biceps apart.
That’s something that Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, preaches consistently, and it’s a key driving force in one of his favourite tweaks to the old-school dumbbell curl.
“If you really want to give your biceps that three-dimensional look, then you need to spend extra time attacking that peak contraction moment of the curl,” says Samuel. “Not just that, but you also need to approach that peak contraction in the correct way.”
That means not cheating, and not letting your shoulder muscles take over on the curl. It also means really squeezing your biceps, without letting other muscles take away from that biceps squeeze. It also means spending extra time on that phase of the curl, which is why you’ll get twice as much time squeezing in this curl variation.
“We really focus in on that squeeze phase of the motion,” says Samuel. “You’ll do it once with assistance from your forearm muscles, then squeeze again with your biceps driving the motion alone. That second squeeze is a key impetus for growth.”
To do the Biceps Exploder Curl, you only need a pair of dumbbells. If you’re interested in doing it at home, check out this pair from Cap Barbell.
- stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, core tight, and shoulder blades squeezed. Curl both dumbbells upwards, doing everything you can to keep your upper arms perpendicular to the ground. Don’t let your elbows shift forward as you curl. Squeeze our biceps at the top
- Lower both dumbbells until your forearms are parallel to the ground. Pause here and hold for one second, making sure your palms are facing directly upwards.
- Without moving your torso or your upper arms, curl the dumbbells back upward; pause for a second at the top. Lower both dumbbells back to the start. That’s 1 rep.
The entire exercise is all about control, and all about earning that biceps squeeze at peak contraction. “A lot of growth and visual development can happen at this peak moment,” Samuel says, “but you can’t waste that moment. You have to be perfect with it, and you really have to squeeze.”
Add the Biceps Exploder Curl to your workouts, aiming for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health