Incline Dumbbell Curls are Superior

by Joe Lawrence | May 12th, 2014 | Strength Training, Upper Body

dumbells on bench (400x400)To start off this article…I love working arms. Specifically, biceps. By no means do I have huge arms; however, they are just fun to me for some odd reason. Mostly, I like them because you can isolate your arm muscles very easily and after a set you have a great sense of accomplishment.

Now, after that ramble I want to discuss something a friend of mine recently asked me about curling.

“What is the benefit to doing dumbbell curls on an incline bench?”

He was asking this because the arm motion feels the same: weight in down position; weight in up position. Afterwards, he felt a different sensation and felt like a better workout.

Incline curls with dumbbells are great for many reasons. The first variable is the dumbbell. Using dumbbells immediately isolates each arm. The teamwork of using both hands/arms with a curling bar is eliminated. This means each arm has to pull its own weight and do the task by itself. Each arm now uses its own support muscles (the smaller muscle fibers) to stabilize the larger muscles. This in turn pumps more blood to each arm.

Next, being on the bench supports your body and does not allow you to sway and help with the lift. If you have ever stood with your back against the wall while curling, you know what I mean. When you bring the weights up, the swinging motion naturally causes your body to move and in turn aids in the up motion. Lying on the bench keeps your arm isolated.

Lastly, lying there on the bench and allowing your arms to hang freely changes the motion slightly. When your arms are beside your body as when you are doing standing curls, the arms have to travel around the body to get the weight into the up position. This employs some of the other muscle groups like shoulders and even the back. However, while they are hanging freely there is no travel impediment. They are isolated even further.

My answer to his question of what is so great about incline dumbbell curls is…everything and I highly recommend adding this exercise to any arm workout.

Now if you want an even greater challenge to further prepare your body for the beach, add a ball. Exercise or stability balls can give you one more variable to get a better overall workout. Place your back on the ball with your legs and feet forming a body bridge and roll backwards until you mimic the angle of an incline bench. This achieves similar arm benefits while adding the challenge of balancing. This will force your core to kick in and do its part. Adjust the difficulty even further by altering the distance between your feet. The further apart they are the easier it is to balance.


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