How To Perform A Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is not necessarily overlooked, however – it is often misunderstood.
Concentration curls are the ultimate bicep isolation movement. The concentration curl delivers an extremely tight contraction – it engages the muscle, isolates the bicep specifically, and creates maximum blood flow.
I often see people try to perform this exercise while bracing their arm by resting their triceps on the inside of their leg while seated. Although this is not a “bad” exercise, it is useful, it is NOT a concentration curl. This would make it sort of a unilateral preacher curl, but without a preacher bench. It still creates muscle damage and engages the bicep, but not in the way that the concentration curl does.
To properly perform this exercise, you should first know when to use it. This is an isolation movement, so it should be positioned at or near the end of your arm workout or “pull” workout (involving biceps). This exercise is meant to be a finisher, not a foundation. The reason for this is that isolation movements tend to pump much higher amounts of blood into the muscle after creating copious amounts muscular damage. It does create some additional damage, but also helps the muscle to recover by pushing blood into the muscle. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to end the workout walking out of the gym with a massive pump?
Now that we know when to use it – let’s talk about how it’s performed. Although you can perform the concentration curl seated, I believe it’s far more effective to perform it free standing (without a bench). Grab a dumbbell that is not very heavy, but still engaging for you (for me, this is usually about 40-45lbs), we’ll be here for 12 reps on each arm. Place your feet in a relatively wide stance, lean over (bending slightly at the knees), and allow one (1) arm to hang down in front of your face toward the ground holding the dumbbell. Now that you’re in position, begin to curl the dumbbell up while forcing your little finger up to the ceiling – this will help your contraction to be much tighter. Sometimes, it is helpful to place your opposite hand on your bicep to feel it contracting as you’re curling, this is helpful to really feel the contraction and focus on contracting the muscle instead of just “getting the weight up.”
Perform this for 3 sets of 12 reps on each arm at the end of your workout involving biceps for a terrific pump, more damage and aided recovery.