Do you keep finding yourself doing the same old bicep exercises over and over?
If so, it’s time to throw a few change-ups into your arm day. Below, we demonstrate three unique bicep exercises that you didn’t know about or you simply forgot about.
By varying your attack on the biceps, you’ll ensure that you hit both heads, develop your forearms, and never get bored with the same old set of curls.
Amin Shahry’s Preacher Curl Variation with Cables
For some people, preacher curls simply don’t “work”. The angle might be off, there isn’t enough squeeze, or the elbows don’t sit right and make the exercise awkward.
Bodybuilder Amin Shahry out of Austin, TX demonstrates a good alternative to bench-based preacher curls: using cables and your own bodyweight!
In this exercise, Amin squats down (but his butt does not touch the ground), uses a straight bar connected to the cable, and lets his own body weight counterbalance the pull of the cable. Once he’s situated, he can perform extremely long movement preacher-esque curls that give a constant amount of tension.
See the video below:
The exercise starts about 1:00 into the video.
So if preacher curls bother you or don’t feel right, throw this one in. In this video, Amin was supersetting this exercise with standard alternating dumbbell curls.
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This is another exercise that allows for a long time under tension and gives a mean bicep contraction. Unlike the above exercise, which has you fighting a weight-loaded cable, this is a pure fight against gravity and a barbell loaded weight.
To perform spider curls, you get an inclined bench that you sit on backwards and hang your arms over. Your chest should be about level to the end of the bench.
Have a spotter give you a bar, and from a dead hang position, perform a curl keeping your elbows as stationary as possible. If anything, your elbows should be a slight bit more forward than backward.
This exercise is great because you get no momentum from your body (it’s “stuck” on the incline bench) and it takes your shoulders out of the equation, so it’s also great if you’re nursing a minor shoulder injury/aggravation.
You can use either an EZ-curl bar or a straight bar. As the video shows, you can also use dumbbells.
Body drag curls
Drag curls are an exercise that we never see most beginners do, but once you find the variation that hits the spot, you’ll want to keep them in the rotation.
A drag curl is a straight barbell based curl where you literally drag the bar up along your body as you pull it up towards your chest. You flex and squeeze your biceps along the way, and it yields a very nice upper body pump.
In the video below, German bodybuilder Mischa shows some very interesting variations: he gets a far better “feel” when holding his hands at a much wider grip than you’ll see in other videos.
He also goes all the way up to his throat, keeping contact with the body the entire time.
This clearly takes quite a bit of flexibility, so your mileage may vary here, but if you’re looking for a new variation on an old exercise, Mischa’s form is a great way to get some extra flex. Your forearms and tendons will need to be prepared for that wide of a grip, so start very light.
Another variation, provided by Amin Shahry from the first video, is to stop at the drag curl chest, then rock the bar forward so that it is in front of your face, putting your arm at a near 90 degree angle in front of you. This gives you a little bit extra squeeze as well – we’ll need to get him to make a video showing how it’s done.
The point is, many people skip drag curls because they haven’t yet found their spot with it. There are a few ways to make it better, so give them a shot and see if you can bring them back into your routine.
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