How to do Wide Grip Curls Properly

Wide grip curls are a simple isolation exercise for the arms whereby you hold the barbell wider than shoulder-width.

The wide grip curl is a variation of the classic curl. In this, your grip is only shoulder-width.

They are arm isolation exercises because they involve flexing at the elbow. The wide grip is used when you want to increase definition in the long heads of your biceps in addition to the other benefits of curls.

This is an exercise that is best done with load progression. Start with lighter weights at least twice a week to see results within a couple of weeks.

To do this exercise:

  • Get into the starting position by standing tall and straight with your back neutral and your abs engaged. Hold a barbell against your thighs using a pronated grip.
  • Start by hinging your elbow to bring the barbell towards your chest until it reaches shoulder level. Keep your upper arms immobile.
  • Hold the position for a second and squeeze your biceps.
  • Lower the barbell in a controlled motion until you’re back in the starting position. This is a complete rep.
  • Repeat at least three sets of twelve reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO WIDE GRIP CURLS WORK?

Wide grip curls engage your arm muscles.

1.      BICEPS

Biceps are also referred to as the biceps brachii. They are found on the inner side of the upper arm.

It helps flex your elbow and stabilize it. Biceps also help your arms twist to face up or on the ground.

The biceps have two heads, the long head and the short head. They start at the scapula and attach just above the elbow.

The short head is found on the inner side and the long head is on the outer side.

The biceps also help with flexion, and internal and external rotation of the shoulder.

2.      BRACHIALIS

Like the biceps, the brachialis is also involved in elbow flexion. It is a muscle found deeper than the biceps that occurs from the middle of the upper arm and ends a few inches past the elbow. It is the muscle found along the valley of the elbow.

Its only job is to flex the elbow when your arm is in any position.

3.      BRACHIORADIALIS

This is an elbow flexor muscle. It is found on the upper side of the forearm.

It helps move your arm into supination, pronation and neutral grips when the elbow is at a perpendicular angle.

4.      DELTOIDS

The delts are triangular muscles found on the shoulder.

It is made up of the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid and posterior deltoid.

The anterior deltoid helps with internal rotation of the shoulder, shoulder flexion and pushing chest muscles.

The lateral deltoid is the side deltoid. It helps lift your shoulder up and sideways.

The posterior deltoid is found on the back of the shoulders. It helps rotate the shoulder. It helps with the extension of the shoulder as well.

5.      CHESTS

To a small degree, the wide grip curls help develop the pectoral muscles.

The pecs are two large muscles that sit on the breasts. They are more prominent in men.

The pecs help stabilize your shoulders during the movement.

WIDE GRIP CURLS BENEFITS

1.      CONVENIENCE

Wide grip curls don’t require a lot of space or equipment only barbells.

They are brilliant for working out in a confined space.

2.      REDUCED RISK OF INJURY

The strengthening of the muscles and tendons in your upper arms helps reduce the risk of injury when doing daily activities and other exercises.

Fibre tears are common in athletes and when doing exercises such as deadlifts. However, adding this exercise to your routine helps minimize the risk of injury when doing other activities or sports.

ALTERNATIVES TO WIDE GRIP CURLS

1.      CHIN-UPS

To do this exercise:

  • Grab the chin-up bar with your arms shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift your body weight until your chin is above the bar. Ensure your elbows are fully bent.
  • Hold the position.
  • Lower yourself back until your arms are extended using controlled motion.
  • Repeat as desired.

2.      CABLE CURLS

To do this exercise:

  • Set up a cable machine and attach the pulley at the rung closest to the floor.
  • Hold the bar against your thighs, lengthen your arms and step back slightly. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Ensure your core is engaged and your back is straight. Pull the bar towards your shoulder by bending your elbows. Ensure your elbows are tucked against your ribs.
  • Hold position when the cable is at your shoulders then lower your arm in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Repeat as desired.

3.      ZOTTMAN CURLS

To do this exercise:

  • Hold dumbbells in each hand with a supinated grip.
  • Ensure your back is straight and your elbows are locked into your body.
  • Lift the dumbbells towards your shoulders by squeezing your biceps and bending your elbows.
  • Twist your hands to a pronated grip for the lowering motion.
  • Lower the dumbbells to the thigh level, the starting position, to complete one rep.

WIDE GRIP CURLS MISTAKES TO AVOID

Do not lift weights that are too heavy for you. Start with the appropriate workout level to reduce the risk of injury. You can increase weight when you’ve improved your strength levels.

Heavier weights can increase strain on your elbows or increase the risk of muscle tear. They can also make you unstable and cause you to fall or have improper form.

Ensure your elbows aren’t flared. If you do wide grip curls with elbows pointing outward you won’t activate your biceps. To reduce this error, reduce the weight of the barbell.

Use slow controlled movements while ensuring that you squeeze your biceps. To ensure this use an appropriate weight. If you use weights that are too heavy you could use momentum to perform the wide grip curls.

Make sure that your complete the full range of motion to completely engage your upper arm muscles. Bring the barbells up to your shoulders then lower them to your thighs. Don’t lower the barbell to your waist.

 

 

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