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One of the body parts that society has associated with a strong physique is the arm, specifically the biceps. The arms are valuable assets despite their relatively small size. Flexing and showing off the biceps has always been a sign of strength and power. And justifiably so! A great bicep exercise is the dumbbell bicep curl.

Below we’ll look deeper into dumbbell bicep curls and we’ll cover the following:

  • Muscles involved in a dumbbell bicep curl
  • Benefits associated with dumbbell bicep curls
  • How to properly do dumbbell bicep curls
  • Common mistakes when performing dumbbell bicep curls
  • Video on how to do a dumbbell bicep curl
  • Bicep exercises to complete your arm workout

What Muscles Do Dumbbell Bicep Curls Work?

Primary muscles involved in dumbbell bicep curls:

  • Biceps: The biceps brachii is the large muscle that lies on the anterior part of the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. It arises on the scapula and runs towards the upper forearm. The biceps muscle has two heads (the short head and the long head) – therefore its name. The biceps’ main function is to flex and supinates the elbow -allowing it to rotate so the palm faces up or forward. When the biceps contract, they pull up the forearm is pulled up.

Secondary muscles engaged:

  • Brachialis: The brachialis muscle sits under the biceps brachii. This long muscle flexes your elbow. It connects your upper arm bone (humerus) to the long forearm bone (ulna).
  • Brachioradialis: This muscle also sits in the anterior compartment of the upper arm. The brachioradialis muscle assists the brachialis with elbow flexion and connects your humerus bone to the short lower arm bone known as the radius.
  • Wrist Extensors: These muscles are located along the forearm. They connect the upper arm bone (humerus) to your hand via your wrist and are involved in extending the wrists and fingers. Some of the wrist extensor muscles are the capri ulnaris, the digiti minimi, the digitorum, the indices, the pollicis brevis, and the retinaculum of the hand.
  • Wrist Flexors: These muscles are also located along the forearm and connect your elbow to your hand. The wrist flexor muscles serve to flex the wrists and fingers. Your carpi radialis and carpi ulnaris flex your wrist up towards your forearm while you digitorum profundus and superficialis flexor muscles connect your forearm bone to the bones in your fingers, allowing them to curl.
  • Deltoids: These muscles make up your shoulders. The wide part of the muscles attaches to your shoulder blade (scapula) and your collarbone (clavicle) before stretching down to your humerus bone. The anterior deltoid flexes and medially rotates the arm, the lateral deltoid abducts the arm, and the posterior deltoid extends and laterally rotates the arms.

Bicep Curls Benefits

After learning what muscles are involved in dumbbell bicep curls, let’s see what benefits are associated with performing this exercise:

  • Isolation: The bicep curl is a single-joint movement, making it great to isolate the biceps.
  • Hypertrophy: Bicep curls sculpt and increase the size of the muscles in the front of the arms.
  • Strength: They help strengthen your arms, which can boost athletic performance and facilitate daily activities. Strong biceps come in handy when you are picking up objects, carrying things around, or moving heavier loads when doing other exercises, such as rows and lat pulldowns.
  • Upper Body Health: Biceps collaborate in forearm supination, elbow flexion, and shoulder stabilization. So stronger biceps help you to maintain a healthy upper body.
  • Aesthetics: Bicep curls help develop beautiful arms, which can translate into a great upper body.
  • Simplicity: The bicep curl is a straightforward and simple movement. You just need a pair of dumbbells.
  • Versatility: This exercise is versatile. You can perform it using dumbbells. However, it can be performed with resistance bandscables, or a barbell.

How to Do Dumbbell Bicep Curls

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. 
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing forward and let them hang down at the sides of your body.
  • Tight up your abdominal muscles, straighten your back, and move your shoulders backward.
  • As you exhale, slowly flex at the elbows, and curl the weights up.
  • Keep your upper arms steady and your elbows close to your body.
  • Pause for a second at the top.
  • As you inhale, lower the dumbbells to the initial position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat the movement for 8 to 12-15 repetitions and for 3 sets.
  • You can work both arms simultaneously, one arm at a time, or alternating arms.

Avoid Bicep Curls Mistakes

Now that we know how to perform dumbbell bicep curls, let’s see what the most common mistakes associated with bicep curls are:

  • Moving the arms back and forth: Do not move your elbows and upper arms throughout the movement. Aim to maintain the arms steady.
  • Rounding your back: Keep your back straight and engage your core. A straight back helps you maintain proper alignment and perform the exercise properly.
  • Moving the weights fast: Don’t perform the movement fast to avoid momentum. Slow down the repetition timing and squeeze every rep to isolate your biceps.
  • Using very heavy weights: Do not use very heavy weights in order to avoid that other muscles, such as the core and back, help carry the load instead of the biceps. Lighter loads allow you to perform controlled reps with good form.

VIDEO: Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Bicep Workout

You can complete your bicep workout by performing the following exercises:

As you can see the dumbbell bicep curl is a wonderful bicep exercise. It offers tremendous benefits associated with hypertrophy, strength, endurance, and aesthetics. Now that you know how to properly perform dumbbell bicep curls, you can avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy their benefits. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, or gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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