Dumbbell curls are a super effective way to build up your biceps, but if you’re only pumping out those reps standing with your feet planted on the ground in front of the gym mirror, you’re probably missing out on gains.
That’s because your form, as good as it might be, will probably slip at some point throughout your sets. Unless you’re really focusing on your mind-muscle connection on every single rep, you’ll probably wind up shifting some of the load to other muscle groups or build up some momentum to make the curl less difficult.
That’s why Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. takes those form concerns out of the equation and uses a bench to keep his reps steady. This twist on the spider curl gives you a solid challenge to hit multiple muscles in the arm in a position that forces you to use good form.
“You’re hitting biceps and brachialis equally throughout the sequence,” Samuel says. “Your biceps shoulders the load on the biceps curl portion of each sequence, then it gets “assistance,” while still putting in plenty of work, on that hammer portion. As the pattern keeps continuing, you build to a strong and satisfying pump.”
To take on the hammer spider curl count up, you’ll need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells. If you need a good pair of weights to try this outside the gym, check out this option from Bowflex.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Sit facing forward on an incline bench, with your chest resting on the support. Squeeze your glutes and keep tension in your back.
- Grab the dumbbell in one hand, keeping the other extended out to the side to help balance.
- Squeeze your bicep to perform one normal curl, lifting the weight up to you chest and holding it in a supinated (underhand) grip.
- After the standard rep, rotate the dumbbell to a neutral grip to perform a hammer spider curl.
- Repeat the series with 2 reps each, then proceed with ascending reps up until you get to 4 reps. That’s 1 set.
Hit 3 sets of 4 rounds per arm as a standalone pump before a big day, or add this to a three or four-move arm workout to really challenge those guns.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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