In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. uses an EZ bar to demonstrate a simple training technique which can help you perform bicep curls more effectively. Due to the design of the EZ bar, when lifting it off the rack it is likely that most people will instinctively use a pronated grip. However, this means that more work is being done by the elbow than you want in a curl. In order to focus on the muscle you’re trying to train, you need to supinate your grip instead.
“What you have to do if you want to get more out of this is to actually flip the bar over before you grab it,” he says. This means that your hand will naturally be in more of a supinated position, meaning that you’ll recruit the biceps more during the curl movement, ensuring a higher quality of contraction.
At the top end of the curl, Cavaliere also recommends that you keep the wrist bent slightly backwards. “It’s essential,” he says. “We know that an accessory motion to supination is wrist extension.”
This same anatomical principle applies in other variations of the curl, like a cable version, and can also be beneficial when performing the straight bar curl. By directing force through the inner heel of your palm, you can encourage supination and prevent the elbows from drifting, instead making sure they are tucked into the sides of your body.
When it comes to the dumbbell, Cavaliere explains that you can achieve the same result by using an off-set grip. “The biceps are the supinator,” he says. “The differentiator between the brachialis and the biceps is their ability to do supination.”
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