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Dumbbell Curls

What Is A Dumbbell Curl

How To Do Dumbbell Curls For Biceps

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Bicep curls are an isolation movement that uses elbow flexion to lift the dumbbells. Dumbbell bicep curls are a simple but effective way to train the biceps and can be done as both a single bicep curl and double bicep curl. This exercise uses elbow flexion to lift the dumbbells from below the waist up to the shoulders.

Compared to the barbell curl, dumbbell curls allow for a greater range of motion while training the biceps unilaterally, which can help to address muscular imbalances. There's also more stability required, so it's unlikely you'll be able to lift as much as you would with the barbell variation, even when using two hands.

Check out some other bicep curl variations: cable bicep curls, hammer curls, concentration curls, preacher curls, spider curls

Commonly Asked Questions On Dumbbell Curls

Are Single Arm Curls Better?

Single and double arm curls are both effective bicep exercises, with neither being particularly better or worse. With the single arm curl, alternating the sides can allow more focus on the arm doing the movement which can help with mind muscle connection. It also allows the muscle to rest between each rep, which may mean you get more reps. Doing the weaker side first also makes it easier to acknowledge muscular imbalances.

With double bicep curls, there is more core engagement, and there is less time needed to be spent on the exercise as both arms are done together.

How Much Should I Single Arm Curl?

There isn’t a set weight any one person should curl as it will depend on your training experience. If you usually do barbell curls, it’s worth noting the amount you can lift with one arm is likely to be less than half, as single arm curls require more stability, and due to imbalances between the two sides.

Choose a weight that is challenging but allows for correct form. Aim to train your biceps within 3-4 reps of muscular failure, so if you’re aiming for 12 reps, you’d physically be unable to complete 15-16 reps.

Should I Curl One Arm At A Time?

There isn’t a right or wrong way to do dumbbell bicep curls. Single arm curls can be better for building mind muscle connection, but you may find adhering to double arm curls easier as they’re quicker. Try both variations and see which you prefer.

Dumbbell Curls Tips

Single arm dumbbell curls and double arm dumbbell curls are a straightforward movement, but form mistakes are common!

Using momentum to swing the weight up shifts the shoulders forward and moves the tension away from the biceps. Think about pinning your elbows close to the side and keeping them there throughout the whole movement. If you’re unable to do this, lighten the load.

Another mistake common mistake is not using the full range of motion. Dumbbell curls provide a greater range of motion than various other bicep exercises, and cutting this short can make this exercise less effective. Make sure to curl the dumbbells all the way to your shoulder during the concentric of the movement and extend the elbows fully during the eccentric portion.

The concentric portion (the lifting of the dumbbells) of the movement is the most challenging, while the eccentric portion (the lowering of the dumbbells) feels easier. To ensure effective reps, it is best to control both portions of the exercise, thinking about contracting your biceps without rushing through the movement.

How To Do A Double Arm Curl (Dumbbell Bicep Curl)

  1. Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand using a supinated grip so that your palms are facing upwards.

  2. Engage your core and relax your shoulders, with your arms hanging down by the side of your body.

  3. Keeping your elbows close to your side, squeeze the biceps and bend at the elbows to curl both dumbbells up to the shoulder.

  4. Lower the dumbbells slowly until your arms are fully extended and you’ve back to the starting position.

How To Do A Single Dumbbell Bicep Curl

  1. Stand straight, feet hip width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand using a supinated grip so that your palms are facing forwards.

  2. Engage your core and relax your shoulders, with your arms hanging down by the side of your body.

  3. Keeping your elbow close to your side, squeeze the bicep and curl one of the dumbbells up to your shoulder.

  4. Lower the dumbbell slowly, until it returns to the starting position with elbow extended.

  5. Now complete the movement with your other arm.

  6. Completing both arms counts as one rep.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.