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You Know the Biceps Curl . . .

Biceps curls have a reputation for being all about aesthetics, which has cemented their popularity, says James Stanko, Alpha Coach at Life Time in Vernon Hills, Ill. “But curls are also a functional movement. If you have strong biceps, it’s going to be easier to pick things up and maneuver in life — we’re always pulling doors open, for example. Doing biceps-specific curls is training that movement and control pattern so you have strength for the long haul.”

. . . Now Meet the Biceps Row

Doing rows instead of curls is going to use more muscles in your back and your shoulders, says Stanko. You can use a barbell, dumbbells, or even an indoor rower with an underhand grip.

To Do It Right: Using a barbell or two dumbbells, grip the equipment at arm’s length with your palms facing away from you. Keep your core and back tight as you hinge at the hips to assume a bent-over position. Bend your elbows and draw the weight(s) up toward your hips, then extend your arms back to the start position. Make sure your shoulders are braced back and downward to keep the work in your biceps and not all in your back and shoulders.

. . . and the Plate Curl

This alternative works the biceps while also strengthening the muscles in your forearms.

To Do It Right: Choose a weight plate instead of dumbbells to per­form the standard curl movement.

This was excerpted from “Beyond the Basics” which was published in the October 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Models: Tina Kuharski
Sarah Tuff

Sarah Tuff Dunn is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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