How to Do a Perfect Curl


Dumbbell curls are a strength training staple — but are you sure you’re even doing the exercise correctly?

For this basic gym necessity, you shouldn’t settle for anything other than perfect form. Let Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., guide you through the exercise’s subtleties, saving you from the bad habits that are keeping you from unlocking your fitness potential.

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Paolo Testa

Stand Straight

Eb says: Be aware of your posture. It’s one of the prime things people neglect on a curl. You want to squeeze your shoulder blades, squeeze your glutes, and and contract your abs. Keeping your scapulae retracted and depressed is critical in the long term; it’ll can help you avoid any impingement issues.

Keep Those Shoulders Out Of It

Eb says: Focus on keeping your upper arm perpendicular to the ground at all times. You’ll see a lot of guys getting their shoulders involved in a curl, rocking their elbows forward. That allows the shoulder to get involved in the movement. By working to keep your upper arms perpendicular to the ground, you force all the movement to occur at the elbow joint. One of the chief functions of the biceps is to flex at the elbow.”

Stay In Rotation

Eb says: Make sure to rotate that weight early. The oft-forgotten function of the biceps: rotating your forearm so your pinky is toward the sky. To truly and effectively train the biceps, you’ll want to curl the weight upwards AND rotate the dumbbell upwards. Start that rotation early, before your forearm is parallel to the ground. By doing that, you insure that you’re keeping the curl focused on your biceps and not the brachialis. And keep attacking that rotation for the life of the curl: You should finish each curl by twisting as aggressively as you can at the very top.



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