The best barbell move for big biceps

Get to grips with the EZ-bar biceps curl to build bigger arms

1 Strong wrists 
EZ-bars have an undulating middle section for a semi-supinated grip. This allows the biceps to be effectively isolated while using a joint-friendly hand position. You want to keep your wrists in the strongest position possible, and turning them in towards your body “locks” the joint and keeps it stable. If, however, you want to reduce the role of the forearm muscles and increase the workload on your biceps you can “cock” your wrists away from your body. But this requires very strong wrists, so only do this if you’re an experienced lifter, or using light plates on the bar.

2 Dominant biceps 
To build bigger biceps you must eliminate any momentum from each rep to make your muscles do all of the work. Start with your arms fully straight, with triceps tensed, then initiate each rep by squeezing your biceps – not by swinging your elbows forwards. Keep the tension on your biceps and continue to squeeze the bar as it rises. At the top of the move pause for a second and squeeze your biceps hard, then lower the bar back down slowly and under complete control, fully straightening your arms at the bottom and flexing your triceps before starting the next rep.

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3 Tight elbows 
For a standing EZ-bar biceps curl your elbows should remain tight to your sides for the duration of each rep. If your elbows forwards or sideways it takes tension off your biceps, and renders the rep practically pointless. If you can’t do a rep without your elbows moving it’s a clear sign the weight you’re lifting is too heavy to be helpful and should be reduced. If you’re using a preacher bench, then your elbows and the backs of your upper arms need to be tight against the padding throughout. Again, if you can’t lift the bar without your elbows moving stop and reduce the weight then start the set again.

4 Retracted shoulders 
When standing, retract your shoulder blades, raise your chest and engage your abs to keep your torso as upright as possible. This prevents your upper back and shoulders hunching or rolling forwards, which increases the pressure on your lower back and key joints as well as decreasing the range of motion through which you can move the bar. When seated, you also want to keep your shoulders back to prevent leaning over the bench and maintain the safest lifting posture possible.

5 Level head 
Ensure your head is held high throughout the set, and keep your head and neck aligned by focusing on raising your chin. It can be very tempting, especially when a set gets hard, to let your chin drop towards your chest, but doing so places pressure on your neck and upper spine, which intensifies when you struggle to raise the bar up for those final few reps. Do you sets facing a mirror so you can watch your form and focus on keeping your chin up and your head and neck aligned.

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