Sculpted arms can be stunning, especially in a sleeveless shirt. If you long for sexy, sculpted biceps, then check out this exercise that is sure to turn your biceps from ho-hum to va-va-voom!
The bicep muscle
The bicep muscle of biceps brachii is a “two-headed” muscle that runs along the length of the upper arm between the elbow and the shoulder. The two heads attach to the scapula and merge into a single belly of muscle that attaches to the upper area of the forearm.
Despite being attached to the shoulder, the main function of the biceps involves the elbow joint. It is primarily meant to create flexion of the elbow joint and also to raise up the forearm with the palm facing upward. To some degree, it also helps with forward flexion in the joint of the shoulder and in lifting the arm outward at the side.
The most common methods for strengthening the biceps are through resistance and weight training. Exercises most widely used are chin-ups and different types of bicep curls.
The concentration curl is done in a seated position that begins with the elbow resting next to the inner thigh. To begin, you sit on a chair and keep your feet set more than hip-width distance apart. Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand while leaning forward to settle your upper right arm against your right inner thigh. Be sure to leave room for the forearm to curl up and down.
Extend the arm to start, and then curl with the dumbbell up until you reach full flexion of the elbow. Shoot for a goal of between two and three sets of 15 repetitions for each arm. Don’t forget to rest for up to 90 seconds between sets.
Putting concentration curls to the test
To test the effectiveness of these upper arm exercises, the American Council on Exercise commissioned the researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and its Clinical Exercise Physiology program to conduct a study on the matter. The study involved a group of 16 participants between the ages of 18 and 24, which included both men and women.
Participants were asked to perform different exercises that target the bicep muscles. The exercises performed were cable curls, EZ curl (utilizing both a narrow and wide grip), incline curls (which are done while being seated on an incline bench), chin-ups, preacher curls (these curls are performed over a ‘preacher’ bench), barbell curls, and concentration curls.
To obtain data for the study, participants were fitted with electrodes on their bicep muscles to accurately measure the total muscle activity. Findings showed conclusively that concentration curls had the highest measurements for eliciting muscle activation compared to all the other exercises.
“When you look at it, the concentration curl was significantly better than anything else. And I think the reason is that you’re really isolating the biceps muscle more so than in any of the other exercises,” explained John Porcari, Ph.D., executive director of the La Crosse Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
Dr. Porcari added, “some of the other exercises called into play the anterior deltoid or the front of your shoulder more, and for a lot of those, it’s almost natural to just swing your whole arm or shoulder forward to stabilize before you lift.”
So, if you want great-looking biceps, why not give concentration curls a try? Just make sure you start with a weight that is comfortable for you – you can always work your way up.
-The Alternative Daily