July exercise of the month: The Curl
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
It’s summertime! This month is the month for the bicep curl! Bulging biceps and a six-pack are the iconic picture of a “fit” person. Well folks, it is time to put our effort where our vision is. Let’s break down the bicep curl and see how we can incorporate it into our activity routine.
The bicep curl is an upper-body movement involving the arm. The muscles worked are located between your elbow and shoulder and include the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. The bicep curl has many variations and can be performed while standing or sitting. If you are brand new to the bicep curl, begin in a seated position.
Let’s start with a light weight. Remember that mastering the movement is more important than the amount of weight you are moving. When you can perform the movement well and properly, you can then increase the amount of weight. It will come with time.
If you don’t have any dumbbells or weights at home, try using some canned goods. Another option is to use resistance bands. Resistance bands can be used for thousands of movements, are more cost-effective than weights, easier to store, and come in several levels of resistance.
Performing a Bicep Curl
· Sit in a chair with good posture. Avoid slouching and don’t choose a chair with armrests.
· Lean forward, keeping your back straight, and rest your forearm on your thigh with the weight or canned good in hand. If using a resistance band, secure the opposing end to a strong, stable surface and hold the other end securely.
· Bring your weighted hand toward your shoulder keeping your wrist straight; your forearm and wrist should remain in line.
o Don’t allow the weight to pull your hand down
o Keep your elbow on your thigh
o At the top of the movement, your weighted hand will be about two inches from your shoulder.
· Slowly lower the weight back down until your forearm is resting on your thigh again
o Maintain control on the way down and do not let your arm plop
Controlling your movements on the way up and down will allow your muscles to achieve optimal levels of work and you will get the full benefit of the movement.
For those of you who have been with me for a while now, here is a workout incorporating our earlier exercises and bicep curls.
· 5 minutes of dancing to your favorite tunes
· 10-15 squats – incorporate weight if able and ready
· 20 bridges
· 10-15 bicep curls – use a weight that is challenging, but not impossible
Perform three sets, and finish with a plank. Hold the plank for as long as you can without compromising your form. Any booty-popping or hip-dipping is a sign to stop.
· 10-to-20-minute walk
There are a ton of variations to the bicep curls. If you are interested in learning more, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out barbend.com. Don’t forget to log your activity to keep track of your progress!
Keep having fun with these new lifestyle changes!
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
Kayla Thompson is a diabetes care navigator at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence and is a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has a Master of Science in clinical exercise science.