How to Do Alternating Dumbbell Curls Properly

Alternating dumbbell curls are the methodical exercise that breaks down the workload into tiny pieces to focus better.

When it comes to dumbbell curls, the major question is always whether inclining or standing bicep curls are better.

Whilst we all have our various reasons for favoring the other, the fact is dumbbell curls make it a little easier to focus on form.

Dumbbell curls can also be further broken down into alternating or dual-arm curls, which often instigates another debate. However, yet again, it all comes down to what we want.

HOW TO PERFORM ALTERNATING DUMBBELL CURLS

  • Set up for the exercise by grasping a set of dumbbells and standing straight up with the dumbbells by your side.
  • Your palms should face up, and the dumbbells should not touch your body.
  • Before starting the set, take up the slack by lifting the weight slightly, so the tension is on your bicep muscles.
  • Starting with your weakest arm (usually the left), curl the dumbbell up as far as possible.
  • Squeeze the bicep at the top of the exercise, and then slowly lower the weight down without it touching your body or taking the tension off your bicep.
  • Repeat for the other arm.
  • That’s one rep. Now repeat for the desired number of reps to complete the set.

WHAT MUSCLES DO ALTERNATE DUMBBELL CURLS WORK?

BICEPS

The alternate dumbbell curl is, first and foremost, an isolation exercise, with the bicep being its primary target.

It is, therefore, to a certain degree unidirectional in its effect. The upper arm is the biggest beneficiary, while the lower arm reaps some of its effects as well.

Alternate dumbbell curls make the biceps stronger and more defined. A classic sign of strength and peak fitness to the masses.

This has thus made it a very popular exercise.

ALTERNATIVES

FLEXOR INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL

Although this exercise is inclined it works the same areas as an alternate dumbbell curl.

Therefore, if you want an upper and lower arm workout at once, the flexor incline dumbbell curl might be just the thing.

However, unlike alternate curls, it focuses on your forearms as well as your biceps.

To do the exercise:

  • Sit with your back flat against the bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Flex those abs.
  • Curl both dumbbells until your biceps fully contract. When your dumbbells are *just* about in front of your shoulders, pause for a sec.
  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Take care to keep your elbows still.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

INCLINE CURL ON AN EXERCISE BALL

This involves doing dumbbell curls on a ball. As strange as it sounds it is very effective.

Here’s what to do:

  • Position your body so that your lower back is against the ball and you’re at a slight incline. Holding the dumbbells, drop your elbows so they’re right against the sides of the ball.
  • This should help you stabilize. Curl both dumbbells until they’re in front of your shoulders. It is that part of the exercise that requires extra strength as you are also required to keep your neck straight
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps or as many as you can safely manage.
  • This is a high-impact exercise and as such, you should only do it once you’re sure you can handle its rigors.

BENEFITS

1.      PROVIDES EFFICIENCY

The biggest pull factor of the alternate bicep curl is that it ensures the target muscle is isolated. As such, proper form alternating dumbbell curls ensure you get the best targeted results.

2.      GIVES BALANCE AND SHAPE

It also ensures that there is a balance in shape and size. This is because every arm gets its own time with a similar level of strain specifically in each muscle.

3.      INCREASE GENERAL BODILY STRENGTH

Alternate dumbbell curls strengthen and define the muscles that you use anytime you pick something up, which is common throughout daily life.

This is also due to the fact that as a result of the exercise, you learn to utilize the arm muscles correctly. Consequently, it makes taxing physical exercises reserved for day-to-day activities that much easier.

4.      IT IMPROVES GRIP STRENGTH

Alternate dumbbell curls improve your grip strength. This is because they engage a number of muscles in and around the forearm. Forearm contains the muscles that determine our grip strength.

This also lays the foundation for you to move on to higher impact exercises such as deadlifts.

ALTERNATING DUMBBELL CURLS MISTAKES TO AVOID

1.      DON’T MAKE MOVEMENTS TOO FAST

The speed of your movements is key to how effective the exercise you’re doing is going to be. A lot of times the strain we feel tricks us into using momentum to our benefit.

Whilst something like this might feel harmless, it in fact negatively impacts the effectiveness of your workout.

This is because it means you engage the wrong muscles but also it reduces the workload the target muscles are intended to do.

2.  ELBOW ANGLES

The position of your elbows should not change during the curl. They should remain close to the side of your body and only the lower arm should move.

Pivoted elbows ensure that you have a point of stability. This will remain intact as long as you’re lifting within your weight class.

If your elbows start wobbling and shifting away from your sides, it is highly likely that what you’re lifting is too much for you.

3. DON’T SWING, STAY LOOSE

There is a very fine line between switching from staying loose to swinging. However, the best results are achieved when you rid yourself of the tension on both of your biceps throughout the set.

It is also prudent that you do not rest the weights on your body, instead, let them hang down. That said, there are moments when you are required to stay tense

CONCLUSION

The alternate dumbbell curl is an exercise created for precision. More than that, it is one of the more helpful exercises in day-to-day activities.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a proven, effective exercise to start or add to your routine, it doesn’t get any more straightforward than the alternate dumbbell curl.

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