What are Arm Curls?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Arm curls are one of the most basic of weightlifting exercises. Requiring nothing more than a simple set of dead weights, arm curls can be performed at the gym, at the office, or in the home. There are several different types of arm curls that can be used to strengthen the biceps and other muscles in the arm.

One of the most common of all arm curl exercises is the one arm hammer curl. The stance for this type of curl involves standing with the back kept straight, the head held up, and the legs locked into a position that is even with the hips and shoulders. Beginning the curl involves starting with the weights held at arms length, with the palms in. As the weights are lifted past the hips, turn the palms upward. Stop just after the weights are even with the top of the hips, and hold for a count of five. Slowly lower the weights back into the original position, turning the palms in. Remember to inhale as the weights are lifted up and exhale while lowering the weights.

The biceps curl is an example of arm curls that involve the muscles of the upper arm and to a lesser extent the muscles of the lower arm. Many weightlifting enthusiasts choose to perform this exercise in a sitting position. Generally, it is recommended that the seating be reclined slightly, although it is perfectly acceptable to do bicep curls in a straight chair.


Performing the biceps curl involves holding a weight in each hand. As with the manner curl, the palms should be turned inward toward the body. After sitting, place the feet so they are lined up with the shoulders. Begin by lifting one weight toward the shoulder, rotating the arm so the palm is now up. Continue until the elbow is pointing toward the floor and the forearm is more or less vertical. Hold for a count of five, then lower the arm back into the original position. Repeat the process with the opposite arm.

Some forms of the arm curl are intended to strengthen the forearm while others are more focused on strengthening the biceps or other muscles in the upper arm. Many weightlifting experts recommend performing several different types of arm curls during a workout in order to properly develop all the muscles in the arm, including the wrist. Persons just beginning to work with free weight equipment should pay special attention to stance and position and go with smaller amounts of weight. As strength and endurance increase, heavier weights can be utilized.


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