How to Do Barbell 21s Properly

If you are a huge fan of well-rounded biceps and will go to any length to get them, barbell 21s should definitely be your first stop.

This exercise consists of three parts consisting of 7 repeated swings, when combined, this makes 21 reps. Some people refer to it as 3-part curls.

HOW TO DO BARBELL 21S PROPERLY

Equipment: Barbell of the right weight

This exercise can be broken into 3 distinct parts.

Start in a standing position, maintain a relaxed stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees a bit so they can fully support your back.

PART 1

  • Start with the barbell hanging straight down in front of you on your thighs. Your elbows remain at your sides at all costs throughout the exercise. Curl the barbell to the point that your hands are in line with the elbows. Hold this halfway position for a bit and return to the initial position. Repeat this 7 times.

PART 2

  • Without stopping, curl the same weight all the way to the top, then lower the weight to the halfway point and back up again. Perform this for 7 reps.

PART 3

  • Bring your arms down to your sides, and curl the barbell all the way up to your shoulders. This is also known as the full barbell curls. Repeat this 7 times.

WHAT MUSCLES DO BARBELLS 21S WORK?

The primary muscle that this exercise works is the biceps. This is an out-and-out bicep workout. The bicep is comprised of two ‘heads’ that work in tandem to complete movements of that part of the arm.

Also located at the same place is the brachioradialis which you can see whenever you flex your arm.  These are the muscles you engage whenever you push or pull with your arms.

To some extent, this exercise also works your back and abs.

BARBELL 21S BENEFITS

DIVERSE MOTIONS

This workout combines both partial and full range motions. This way all parts of your biceps are worked.

ARM STRENGTH

By targeting all the parts of your biceps and your forearms too, this exercise eventually increases your arm strength.

AESTHETICS

Nothing like good biceps peaking under a shirt or dress! This exercise will make sure of those envy-inducing biceps.

Remember, big and strong biceps go beyond looking good. They will also come in handy when performing other exercises that engage the biceps.

ACTIVATES THE FOREARMS

The good thing with this exercise is that much as it targets the biceps, the movements involved end up working the forearms too. There really is no need to have strong biceps and not strong forearms to match.

ALTERNATIVES TO BARBELL 21S

SITTING DUMBELLS 21S

While the barbell 21s, described here is done while standing, this variation requires you to sit down.

Find a bench and sit with your legs together, keep your back straight. Just like in barbell 21s, your elbows need to be tucked close to your body. Repeat all the motions in the 3 parts of the barbell 21s.

21S DUMBBELL

This workout is different from the barbell 21s in that instead of using a barbell, you will be using dumbells instead. The instructions are pretty much the same, down to ensuring the dumbbells are of the right weight.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING BARBELLS 21S

MOVING ELBOWS

This exercise loses its meaning when you move your elbows. They must neither move forward nor backward in the course of the exercise.

WRONG FORM

Slouching is a capital offense when doing barbell 21s. Not only will it not hinder the gains you make, but it will potentially hurt you.

Keep your body straight as you move through the reps to avoid shoulder and back injuries and to rightfully target your biceps.

PILING TOO MUCH WEIGHT

Barbell 21s get their name from the fact that you repeat this motion 21 times consecutively. While it is doable, it takes a lot of work.

There is simply no good excuse in the world to pile on too much weight or weight you are not comfortable within the first place.

Pick a barbell whose weight you are comfortable with, even if it means not using the barbell that you would normally use when doing other less taxing workouts.

Once you get used to doing the 21 swings without a hitch, you can then progressively use heavier barbells.

SWINGING THE WEIGHT UP

You should not swing the weight all the way up. Once your forearms are parallel with the ground, you begin your descent.

NOT CONTROLLING THE WEIGHT

Take care that you do not drop the weight once you begin your descent. This puts your elbow under great stress, make sure you have full control of the weight when doing the downward movement.

BENDING THE WRIST

Injuries are very commonplace when doing this exercise, especially wrist and sometimes, elbow injuries.

Bending the wrists causes these injuries mostly because then the stress that was meant to be taken by the biceps is directed at the wrist.

The stress this exercise generates is not intended for the wrists, thus this might result in injuries.

Try as much as possible to keep the wrists neutral throughout the workout, don’t bend them upwards or downwards.

CONCLUSION

Barbell 21s might seem a daunting exercise and the thought of repeating the movement 21 times might seem insane at first. However, try it before you pass any judgments.

In the real sense, this is a beginner-level exercise.

Keep the right form, breath well, and pick a practical weight and you are on your way to some of the best biceps ever seen on a human being! Of course, pay attention so you do not get injured.