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10 Worst Biceps Curl Mistakes and How to Fix Them

10 Worst Biceps Curl Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Although biceps curls are simple to accomplish, they are frequently performed incorrectly. Because there are so many variations and the underlying issues can be complicated, you may not even realize you're making a mistake.

While the variation or grip you choose is entirely up to you and your intended goals, there is a correct and incorrect ways to do this classic weight-lifting exercise.

This article will help you learn about the 10 most common bicep curl mistakes and how you can fix them.
Before jumping to the mistakes, let’s take a look at what biceps curls are, the fundamentals of an effective bicep curl form, and why it is important to recognize the mistakes.

1. What are Bicep Curls?

Bicep curls are a popular way to grow biceps since they are a great isolation exercise.

They target the biceps brachii (upper arm muscle), as well as the brachialis and brachioradialis (muscles in the lower arm).

Apart from the grip, much of the same postural cues apply whether you're lifting a barbell or a set of dumbbells.

2. How to Perform Standard Bicep Curl

How to Perform Standard Bicep Curl

  • Stand straight with your feet apart at hip-width and your core muscles engaged.
  • Hold either a dumbbell or a barbell in both hands. Keep your hands apart at shoulder width, palms facing upwards, and your arms straight at your sides.
  • Slowly lift the weight up towards your shoulders by keeping your chest upright and flexing your biceps at the top of the movement.
  • Then lower the weight to the starting point until your elbows are fully extended at the bottom.
  • Make sure to maintain a straight spine and avoid engaging your hips throughout the exercise.

3. Why is it Important to Understand Biceps Curl Mistakes?

Curling your biceps has never been easier. Raise a barbell or dumbbell to your chin while keeping your shoulders aligned.

However, any error that results in a faulty curl can cause major harm to your back and elbows. As a result, it's critical to recognize common bicep curl mistakes and to approach even the most basic exercises with caution.

4. Worst Biceps Curl Mistakes and How to Fix Them

4.1. Ignoring the Eccentric Phase

The eccentric (negative) part of a bicep exercise contributes significantly to anabolism (the mechanisms that cause hypertrophy – increased muscle size due to exercise) and should never be overlooked while exercising your biceps.

While it may appear like doing curls faster will make them more efficient, it may actually impede your progress.

As a matter of fact, eccentric movement of the curl (muscle lengthening when you lower down the weight) produces more force than the concentric movement (muscle shortening when you lift the weight).

This means that increasing the speed of lifting while decreasing the pace of the lowering can make your bicep curl more effective.

How to fix it?

  • First, try to slow down your movement on your own.
  • If you fail to do so, drop your weight a little bit to gain better control when lowering.
  • While you may be hesitant to reduce lifting weight, rest assured that performing the motion correctly at a lower weight will make your workout much more effective than performing it incorrectly with a heavier weight.

4.2. Cheating at an Early Stage

Bicep curls are one of the easiest exercises to cheat on. When your arms aren't resting on a bench or desk, all it takes is a small swing to redistribute strain from your arms to your front delts, making a difficult rep easier.

Many people start cheating on curls from repetition one and increase their swings as the set progresses, lifting heavier weights than they might be able to handle.

Cheating might be useful for pushing sets beyond strict, full-rep failure, but it's unlikely that you'll ever fully work out your biceps if you do so.

How to fix it?

  • Try to perform strict repetitions until you reach your limit.
  • Perform two or three extra repetitions with a small arm swing to push sets beyond rigid, full-rep failure.
  • Perform seated dumbbell curls to keep your legs and hips from moving during the exercise.

4.3. Moving Elbows and Shoulders

Some lifters believe that raising their elbows or shrugging their shoulders at the top of a curl will better squeeze their biceps.

That simply isn't the case. Lifting your elbows and shoulders simply works your anterior deltoids, which relieve strain from the biceps and reduces the severity of a contraction.

How to fix it?

  • Try to maintain your focus.
  • Concentrate on keeping your elbows pressed at your sides while maintaining a straight back.
  • If you're having trouble keeping your elbows at your sides, reduce the weight you're using and try again.

4.4. Utilizing Momentum

According to Sam Becourtney, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City,
“Using momentum to complete a bicep curl is one of the most prevalent mistakes.”

Fortunately, this error can be easily spotted by using a mirror. This happens at the peak of the curl, where the midsection of the body swings slightly, the lower back arches, and the legs lower a little.

When people choose a weight that is too difficult, they frequently start to rely on momentum. As you get tired, you often begin swinging the weights around more at the end of your session.

How to fix it?

  • You must compel a muscle to do the full movement for it to expand. Try to reduce the weight slightly and focus on using the appropriate form.
  • Utilize your elbow flexors to lift and lower the weight. Concentrate on activating your core to maintain a neutral spine and avoid arching your back.
  • Use a mirror to check your posture.

4.5. Losing Wrist Control

During the exercise, people frequently lose wrist control, thereby allowing the weight to compress or control the wrist, particularly when lowering.

How to fix it?

  • Try to keep your wrists in a slightly stretched position that you can easily maintain throughout the exercise.
  • Make sure to not extend your wrist during the descending motion since it can increase the risk of injury.

4.6. Bringing No Variations

Despite the fact that the biceps are two-headed muscles that are virtually entirely targeted by curls, you still need to do a variety of curls to correctly exercise the multifarious fibers.

For instance, bending the elbow (elbow flexion) requires multiple muscles, including the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis. But using only one type of curl can exclude certain additional muscles from this exercise.

How to fix it?

  • To hit all of these muscles, change the angle and grip on the weights (e.g. palm up, palm down, neutral, standard, etc.) and try different variations of bicep curls. (hammer, preacher, standing, seated curls, etc.)
  • Choose a variety of weights, such as barbells, dumbbells, and cable machines, as well.

4.7. Using Partial Range of Motion

You may be performing curls with only a partial range of motion if you try to lift more weight than you can handle while using the appropriate technique.

Due to this extra load, you might not be able to fully extend your elbow at the bottom and bring the weight all the way to the top.

How to fix it?

  • Select a weight that allows you to curl with a full range of motion throughout your sets and repetitions. Make sure your elbows aren't hyperextended or locked at the bottom.
  • Your goal should be to accomplish a full range of motion while completing the exercise without excess pain.

4.8. Squeezing the Bar Too Hard

While having a firm hold on the weight when you're lifting is important, death-gripping the dumbbell or barbell indicates that your body is coping with the lack of strength by engaging other muscles, like those in your forearms.

This will relieve stress in the biceps and, if done too frequently, may result in tennis elbow.

How to fix it?

  • Try holding the weight with a gentle but firm grip that properly engages your biceps.

4.9. Over Training

Biceps are prone to overtraining, more so than any other muscle group, which can halt or even reverse muscle growth. Therefore, be careful when doing your workouts and avoid taking on too much too soon.

How to fix it?

  • If you are a beginner, only complete six sets at the start. Then progressively increase the number of sets after four months of training.
  • If you are an advanced bodybuilder, perform nine to 12 sets.

4.10. Cutting Back on Contractions

It's a shame that so many people never completely flex their biceps against resistance despite contractions being an important part of doing a curl. This is usually because they carry too much weight and execute their reps too rapidly and with too much momentum.

How to fix it?

  • Make sure to curl slowly. Raise the weight for about two seconds, maintain the contraction for one second, and then lower the weight for about two seconds.
  • Use a weight that you can handle for ten to twelve strict, full repetitions

5. Takeaways

You're not doing anything if you're not making mistakes. Hence, try everything, do more of everything, and see what works best for you.

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