Exercise 101: Biceps Curl Using Free Weights
by Michael Wood, BS, CSCS
Name of Exercise:
Free weight biceps curl
This exercise can be performed using a barbell or dumbbells.
This exercise should be done in a slow, controlled manner, keeping a somewhat relaxed grip in order to increase the focus on the upper arm muscles. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together during the full movement.
Repetitions, Sets, and Weight
The number of repetitions (reps) and sets you should do depends on your strength goals. In general, muscle strength works to increase basic function of the muscle and is the typical workout choice. Muscle endurance is important to people who participate in endurance activities such as running or biking, and muscle power is beneficial for athletes who need to use sudden quick movements (eg, sprinting, basketball, football). Beginners should begin with a basic routine and gradually move toward a strength, endurance, or power routine. Use a weight that is heavy enough to perform the desired number of reps and sets for your skill level using good form. Once you are able to perform more reps and sets than is outlined in your category, try to increase the weight you lift by 5%-10%. Your strength goals may change as you progress.
Beginner: 1 set of 8-10 reps
Muscle Strength: 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps
Muscle Endurance: 1-3 sets of 15-20 reps
Muscle Power: 1-3 sets of 3-5 reps
Use a weight that is heavy enough to perform the desired number of reps and sets for your skill level using good form. Once you are able to perform more reps and sets than is outlined in your category, try to increase the weight you lift by 5%-10%. Your strength goals may change as you progress.
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning . 2nd ed. Human Kinetics; 2000.
News and publications. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org . Accessed January 17, 2008.
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