How To Do Pronated Curl Properly

A pronated curl is also known as the reverse biceps curl. It is a variation of the biceps curl where when curling a weight, you do so with your palms facing downwards and away from you and not upwards and towards you.

This arm workout will help you develop bigger biceps and also improve your forearm and grip strength. Most lifters have poor grip strength and this limits their weight training progress. Therefore, it is crucial to develop this area in order to enable you lift heavier and longer on core big compound lifts, such as deadliftschin-ups and pull-ups, and rows.

You can perform the pronated curl using either dumbbells, a barbell or an EZ curl bar. The EZ curl bar is quite convenient as it has an angled handle that looks to reduce pressure on your wrists thus, protecting them. Essentially, choose a lighter weight first from what you usually lift with an underhand grip. This will ensure that you get your form right and you can increase it with time.

HOW TO PERFORM THE PRONATED CURL

Here are the steps for performing the movement:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight, core tight, shoulders back and chest lifted.
  • Hold your preferred weight, either a pair of dumbbells, barbel or EZ curl bar, with a pronated (palms down) grip. Rest the weights in front your thighs with hands slightly wider than your hips.
  • Exhale and curl the weights up to your chest by bending your elbows while keeping your upper arms still. Keep your elbows tucked into the body and eyes straight ahead.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Now inhale, slowly and with control, lower your elbows back to the starting position. Ensure your arms are still kept stationary.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

MUSCLES WORKED DURING PRONATED CURL

The movement mainly targets the biceps brachii and brachialis. The brachialis is the primary mover during the elbow flexion. It is usually hidden under the biceps and it provides a structural bridge between the upper arm bone and forearm.

Other targeted muscles are the anterior deltoid, brachioradialis, supinator, trapezius I and trapezius II. Although the movement is difficult to perform, it helps you develop grip strength.

PRONATED CURL BENEFITS

BUILDS ARM MUSCLE.

Regularly doing the exercise helps you build bigger biceps. In addition, the use of a pronated grip promotes greater muscle activation in your arms. This helps you increase your ability to lift heavier weight during other gym lift moves and correct muscle imbalance between extensor and flexor muscles.

IMPROVES YOUR GRIP STRENGTH.

Activation of your forearm muscles, particularly the brachioradialis, enhances your grip strength. Consequently, this improves your performance during deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups.

IT IS VERSATILE.

You can add this simple exercise to your home workout routine. Use lighter weights until you perfect the form.

PRONATED CURL ALTERNATIVES

WALL-ASSISTED REVERSE CURL

As the name suggests, with the wall-assisted reverse curl you will need to lean against a wall in order to perform the exercise. It is convenient if you have trouble maintaining good form. This variation allows more effective lifts and maximizes your benefits.

CABLE REVERSE BICEPS CURL

The cable reverse biceps curl uses a cable station with a bar attachment. Here, after attaching the bar to the lowest pulley, hold the bar using a pronated grip then start your curls.

PRONE INCLINE REVERSE CURL

The prone incline reverse curl may be a bit challenging as it requires you to lie face down on an incline bench and perform your reverse curls in this position.

PREACHER REVERSE BICEPS CURL

The preacher reverse biceps curl simply uses a preacher bench for support. This challenges the contraction of the biceps and brachialis muscles at the top of the movement. Simply, hold a barbell with a pronated grip then place the back of your upper arms against the preacher bench. After extending your lower arms, slowly pull them towards the shoulders before extending them back again.

PRONATED CURL MISTAKES TO AVOID

TOO MUCH WEIGHT

Unlike the standard bicep curl, the pronated curl may not allow you to lift heavy lifts as this increases your injury risk. Remember the goal is to improve your brachialis and not necessarily to blast the biceps. Also, going lighter helps you master the technique.

USING MOMENTUM

Do not swing as you perform this exercise. Keep your core tight, your upper arms still and your spine neutral as you bend your elbows to lift the weights up. Swinging indicates that the weight is too heavy and you will risk potential shoulder or low back injury.

EXTENDING WRISTS

Do not extend your wrists during elbow flexion as this causes unnecessary stress on the wrist joint and extensor muscles. Ensure your wrists are straightened throughout for effective and proper execution of the movement.

ROUNDING YOUR UPPER BACK

Do not round over your upper back but instead, pull your shoulder blades together in order to stabilize as you pull the weights.

PRONATED CURL TIPS

As you perform the exercise, bring your elbows slightly together to increase the contraction of the brachialis at the top.

If you are using the EZ curl bar, ensure that you hold it at the bottom of the slope. Holding at the top means that will be bracing your thumb against the centre of the bar, which reduces the work that your brachialis and forearm muscles have to do. On the other hand, holding at the bottom results in more tension on the targeted muscles.

The movement is more effective when performed at the end of a bicep workout.

CONCLUSION

You can weaponize the pronated curl to build bigger and stronger arms. However, always ensure that you maintain the correct form to reap the maximum benefits and avoid injury during the exercise. Also, alternate the movement to attain optimal results based on your individual needs.