If there is one thing I often get complimented on; it is my arms. Honestly, it’s not the part of my body that I’m even able to say I’m “proud of” its more like – eh?!
I went through a phase, which ended about the same time I started Lushious Lifts, where I totally stopped working arms alone. There came a time where it seemed like my arms were growing, but my shoulders weren’t so much and I definitely don’t want to be looking like I’m all mirror muscle.
(If you aren’t familiar with mirror muscle, it is when people ((usually guys)) tend to work the muscles that they can clearly see when looking in the mirror. Like the chest and biceps. Is it just me or do a lot of men also skip leg day and totally not look proportionate. Ok sorry, that’s totally going off topic) 😉
Obviously there are many chest, back, shoulder and even lower body exercises that can also work your arm muscles, even when you’re on the ground planking you’re working arms, but these types of exercises aren’t going to give you enough stress in the biceps or triceps to tear muscle fibres.
If you aren’t tearing, then you aren’t repairing.
In other words; you’re not doing anything to the muscle.
So why am I blabbing about all of this?
Back to my compliment; there are many people who ask how I get my arms to look the way they look.
My answer; I focus on keeping my grips different when I work arms, this way I’m working the entire biceps, (or triceps) and ultimately, obtaining better results.
Although triceps play an important role in how your arms look, today I’m talking all about the biceps. Because who doesn’t love flexing their biceps? 😉
My favourite bicep exercise is the reverse curl. What’s a reverse curl? It is the exact same exercise as the regular bicep curl, only you’re keeping your palms pronated. (palms facing away from you)
I love how the reverse curl feels, I love how it challenges me and I love the pump I get from doing them. It is also a lot harder than the regular bicep curl.
You will notice when you first try the reverse curl that you might not be able to lift the same amount of weight than you curl with regular grip. Here’s why;
The bicep muscle is actually made up of two muscles; The long head (the outer bicep when arm is supinated) and the short head (the inner muscle when arm in supinated). “Biceps” is more of a nickname for actual muscle term; Bicep Brachii.
Below I’ve attempted to draw all over my husbands bicep muscle in order to help “show” the different muscles. (I know these pictures are horrible, but it gives a good visual) 😉
Along with your biceps there is also a small muscle that is responsible for flexing the elbow. It reaches from about an inch from your wrist, up towards your shoulders , it is called the brachioradialis.
When you’re doing a regular bicep curl (palms supine) you’re targeting your biceps brachii while using your brachioradialis as a synergist. When you perform a reverse grip bicep curl (palms prone) you are targeting your brachioradialis and using your biceps brachii as a synergist.
A synergist is a muscle which assists another muscle during movement.
Basically by only performing regular grip bicep exercises, you will be completely missing the brachioradialis muscle along with working forearms and a few other small muscles around the biceps brachii as well.
REGULAR/UNDERHAND GRIP DUMBBELL BICEP CURL
REVERSE/OVERHAND GRIP DUMBBELL BICEP CURL
As you can see, the exercises are performed the exact same way, the only difference is the grip.
When you’re performing the bicep curl one thing I always, always, always tell people is not to swing your body with the weight. If you’re using your body to lift the weight, you aren’t using your biceps!
I can understand if you’re a strongman or woman and you’re literally lifting for one rep. Those people use bodyweight, I mean, come on, they have to! But if you’re like me, someone who loves to workout and lift weights, focus on using the bicep muscle to curl the weight.
I’m sure if you’re someone who goes to the gym you’ve seen this many times before. Probably a bigger guy (mirror muscle maybe?) that’s swinging the big 80lb dumbbells and slamming them on the floor before letting out a big roarrrrrrr! Seriously though, really?