Braced Incline Curls; a New Biceps Blaster
The Incline Dumbell Curl is an excellent exercise for building the biceps. It places a great stretch on the muscles at the bottom of the movement and results in a strong contraction at the top. I've found a way to make it even better!
Bracing your upper arms when you train your biceps is a great way to increase the strictness of the exercise, ensuring you are placing more tension on the target muscles while keeping you from cheating on the movement. When applied to the incline curl, bracing can not only increase the strictness of the exercise, it can add a dimension to the exercise that cannot be found any other way -- you can actually turn the exercise into an incline preacher curl!
To do this exercise in the gym, you will need a power rack or Smith machine. Set a flat bench in the rack and set an Olympic bar to about 6 inches above the level of the bench. Place the bar back against the uprights of the rack to keep it from moving as you'll be leaning back into the bar during the movement.
Pick up two dumbells and sit on the bench with your back to the bar. Sit about 6 inches in front of the bar. Lean back
into the bar and brace your upper arms just above the elbow against the bar. Don't rest them on the bar - brace them
against the bar. This is very important as if you rest them on the bar, you will lose much of the tension of the exercise. You may need to adjust where on your arm you place the bar - it can also be placed higher up on the arm if the lower position is uncomfortable.
Starting with your arms straight and stretched, begin the curl movement with both dumbells. Keep your upper arms
against the bar at all times as you curl the dumbells. The bar will act as your pivot point for the curl, forcing maximal tension on the biceps throughout the movement. If you are doing this in the rack, be careful you don't bang the dumbells into the side safety rails. This exercise can also be done one arm at a time.
Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, then lower the dumbells back down under full control. When you come to the bottom of the movement, let your arms fully extend while still maintaining tension in the biceps. This will stretch them
out fully as well as giving you the most tension on the next rep (trust me!). After several reps of this exercise, you should feel a very strong pump in your biceps.
This exercise is excellent for increasing the tension on the biceps through all aspects of an incline curl. Give it a try the next time you do your biceps!
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