Karl Henry: 10 most important exercises you will ever learn - Week 4: bicep curl
The biceps: one of the most popular muscle groups to train. Men want bulging biceps that pop out from their t-shirts and women want lean, toned arms that look great in the summer in sleeveless tops and dresses. If that's what motivates you, all the better - motivation can come in many shapes and forms, and to be honest it doesn't really matter what gets you psyched to be healthy. If it's helping you to eat better and train harder, that's always a good thing!
The biceps are the muscles at the front of the arm, between your elbow and your shoulder. They perform lots of important functions and it's a muscle group that you want strong, like pretty much all muscle groups, especially as you get older as it helps with lifting and holding.
You can work the biceps with so many exercises, like chin-ups and various dumbbell and barbell exercises but I want to give you the basic bicep curl to start with.
Simple to do, very effective and you can do it with any form of weight, from dumbbells to bottles of water or even shopping bags; the movement is that simple. Here is what you need to do:
Half curls: These are a great and simple variation that will really help to tone and shape your biceps.
Start the exact same way as for the normal curl, except this time I want you to only curl the dumbbell up to elbow level and then back down.
Really focus on squeezing the bicep as you do so. You may need to up the weight for this one to really feel the benefit, aiming to struggle on the last two reps as always.
The twist curl is a good variation too that can help shape the bicep really nicely. Start in the very same starting position as the normal bicep curl, except you turn your palms towards your hips. As you begin to curl the weights towards your shoulders now twist the hand so that the palm is facing you as you get towards the top of the curl. Again ensure that you are struggling towards the end of the last two reps of the set.
Fitness tip of the week:
Don't forget that the key tool to long-term health is measurement.
Measure some component of fitness on a weekly basis, and that measurement should change if your training is effective.
In an ideal world you would measure several aspects, but to start with, why not pick one? Try measuring your 5k run times, your resting heart rate, your body fat or weight.