Dumbbell Wide Grip Biceps Curl
How to Do the Dumbbell Wide Grip 45 Degree Bicep Curl | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form, Common Mistakes & Variations | Home Strength Training
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MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curls
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
HOW Dumbbell Wide Grip Biceps Curls SHAPE OUR BODY
Working the short head of the biceps will increase the total width of the biceps muscle.
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
Other names for this exercise: Biceps curl with shoulder external rotation
ALL WE'RE DOING:
This is just an easy bicep curl with our hands moved outwards more to our sides.
It's cool how just adjusting something very small about the position of our body- in this case moving our hand out, while keeping our elbows tucked close to our body, can change which muscles are working hard.
This movement targets the short head of the biceps brachii muscle. The short head attaches to the coracoid process at the front of the shoulder blade and lies along the inside of the upper arm. Rotating the upper arm out arm is thought to bias the short head of the biceps by changing the orientation of the muscle fibers. Rotating the upper arm out will also work the external rotators (part of the rotator cuff), the infraspinatus, and the teres minor isometrically and the biceps works to bend the elbows. This exercise involves rotating the forearm from a neutral position into supination as the elbow is flexed - this is another motion that targets the short head of the biceps brachii.
PROPER FORM: Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curl
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8 reps
Quicker up movement (concentric) – increased power will increase the involvement of the brachioradialis. And slow lowering (eccentric).
BODY POSITION FOR THE Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curl
FEET: Shoulder width apart, toes forward
BODY STANCE: Neutral spine position, knees slightly bent, sternum lifted, shoulder blades in and down the back.
HAND/GRIP: Neutral grip - Palms facing inwards – towards each other. Hold the handle of the dumbbell closer to the end of the dumbbell that is on the thumb side of your hand - so the head on the pinky side is further away from your wrist.
ARMS: Down by your sides, rotate the upper arm out (external rotation). Your upper arms and elbows will be resting on the sides of your torso. The forearms will naturally angle outward (the carrying angle). Your hands will be about 6-8 inches from the outside of your hips.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curls
CUE: Concentrate on squeezing the inside portion of your biceps.
Begin by bending your elbows to pull the dumbbells up towards your shoulder.
As you pull the dumbbells up, rotate your forearm so that your palm faces up. The head of the dumbbell on the pinky side of your hand should be leading the way and should come close to the inside of your shoulder (where it meets the torso).
Try to complete the forearm rotation by the time your elbows are flexed 90 degrees (to maximize the resistance on the biceps and supinator muscles).
Once you have reached the end of your elbow flexion (fully bent), squeeze the inside of your biceps and pause.
Slowly lower reverse the movement to lower the weights back down to the starting position to begin the next rep.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
Straighten your elbows, bend your knees and hips to squat down and set weights on the floor.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Dumbbell Wide Grip Biceps Curl
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid Elbows Flaring
AVOID: Letting your elbows move out to the sides
- This will change the downward pull of gravity and will increase the activity of the shoulder.
WHAT TO DO:
- The upper arm should be resting on your sides, not moving.
2. Avoid Rounding Shoulders
AVOID: Rounding the shoulders forward.
- This means that you are trying to use the anterior deltoid and chest muscles to help bend the elbow.
- This can decrease the space between the shoulder blade and the upper arm bone (humerus) and irritate the tissues.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull the shoulder blades in and down the back, and lift the sternum to correct your posture.
3. Avoid Leaning Back
AVOID: Leaning back or shifting your weight.
- This will decrease the work being done by the muscles of the arms and upper back
- This is a common way the brain will try to make the exercise easier - using your body weight to help pull the hands up.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep the shoulders over the hips, over the feet, keep your weight evenly distributed in your feet.
- Bend the knees slightly and activate your core muscles.
4. Avoid Hunching Shoulders
AVOID: Hunching the shoulders up towards the ears.
- This can happen when you try to use your upper trap to help the biceps
- You will note decreased space between the shoulders and earlobes.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull the shoulders down to keep the space between the ear and the shoulder during the entire rep - this opens up the shoulder to avoid tendon irritation and decreases the activity of the upper traps.
5. Avoid Bending Wrists
AVOID: Bending at your wrists.
- Poor alignment (bent forward or backward) or repetitive movement through the wrist can lead to joint and/or soft tissue irritation or injury over time.
WHAT TO DO:
- Your wrists should be in line with your forearm and should be still throughout the exercise.
6. Avoid locking knees
AVOID: Straightening or locking the knees of standing legs.
- If your knees are locked you may feel pressure or discomfort in the low back or knees.
- Locking the knees puts stress on the knee joint and can make it more difficult to maintain a neutral spine.
WHAT TO DO:
- The knees should be soft.
7. Avoid Tensing Neck
AVOID: Using your neck muscles.
- This can lead to neck strain, injury, or damage over time.
- You may feel neck discomfort, and find that you are pressing down with your head, or gripping with your neck muscles.
WHAT TO DO:
- Troubleshooting and suggested fixes
- Gripping neck muscles in an attempt to stabilize the shoulders: relax the neck and activate the core muscles more, activate the scapular stabilizers in retraction and depression.
VARIATIONS OF Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curls
Seated so the focus can be on the lower arm movement. Less attention is needed to stabilize the torso.
Seated on stability ball
Seated on stability ball
Seated on Ball - decreases core activation - so less than standing but more than sitting on a bench or chair.
Kneeling Dumbbell Wide Grip Biceps Curl
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE biceps
How many ways can you adjust the basic bicep curl to make it do something slightly different? A few, a few. This is one of the most weird ones probably. The positioning of this bicep curl is such that it lets us target the the short head of the biceps a bit more- which is that more ball shaped portion of the muscle (which we can only see if we like, workout a lot for awhile) that's towards the inside of our upper arm close to our chest muscles.
Other than that, the movement is the same as far as just bending our elbows and rotating our palms to face up at the top of each rep.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
VARIETY FOR BICEPS
The biceps brachii (bicep means that the muscle has two heads, and brachii - meaning arm). Since the biceps is technically made up of two portions of muscle, changing up positioning and how we lift weight can target one portion more than the other and vice versa.
Both heads work to bend (flex) the elbow and rotate our forearm so the palm of our hand is up or forward (supination). To improve the strength and health of the biceps muscle it is a good idea to include exercises that will work both parts of the muscle. It is also always a good idea to add variety to your workout so that the muscles are worked in many different positions. Movements that put the arm in positions that move the short head to face forward will preferentially work the short head more than the long head.
Plus, who doesn't like to be in a slightly more "resting" type position, which we get to do with the stability ball supporting our torso & being on our knees.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR biceps MUSCLES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. BENDING THE ELBOW (ELBOW FLEXION)
- Lifting glass for drinking
- Washing/brushing hair
- Brushing your teeth
- The list is pretty much endless...
2. TURNING YOU FOREARM UP (SUPINATION)
- Turning a door knob
- Using a screwdriver
- Turning a key
- Turning a spigot
- Receiving change
- Carrying a plate
3. LIFTING THE ARM (SHOULDER FLEXION)
- Reaching up
- Pushing a window up
- Washing windows
- Lifting up to the front - kids, boxes
- Carrying in front: kids, groceries, books
4. STABILIZING THE ELBOW AND SHOULDER
- Reading a book
- Using a screwdriver
- Holding items in front of you - carrying a heavy box, pushing a wheelbarrow
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Bend your elbow. Place the other hand on the upper arm with the bent elbow. Lift a heavy object with the arm - you will feel the biceps contract under your hand.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
This exercise targets the brachialis and the short head of the biceps brachii muscle. The short head attaches to the coracoid process at the front of the shoulder blade, and lies along the inside of the upper arm. The long head of the biceps crosses the shoulder joint to attach to the “socket” portion of the shoulder joint (on the shoulder blade). Positioning the upper arm in flexion puts the long head of the biceps in a position where it is not able to contribute as much to elbow flexion. The EMG studies support this and the thought is that the long head is shortened over the shoulder, so that it is not able to produce as much force. Going back to the force-length curve - the muscle is strongest in the middle of the range - not shortened or lengthened.
Starting in this position also works the elbow flexors the hardest when they are in a stretched position. The force on the biceps is greatest when the forearm is parallel to the floor. Working the muscles in this lengthened position is thought to promote muscle growth.
Rotating the upper arm out arm is thought to bias the short head of the biceps by changing the orientation of the muscle fibers, meaning the line of pull on our muscles is more opposite the short head which means it will be in a place to do more of the work more naturally. Positioning the arm so the fibers that you want to get are directly opposite the pull of gravity.
To get more detailed - it has to do with the origin and insertion of the muscle and the lever arm of the muscle bundle itself - this is called the mechanical advantage of the muscle. So the thought is that a narrow grip biceps curl will rotate the arm so that the long head is facing forward and a wide grip will position the short head forward. A stability ball is used to stabilize the upper body and upper arms. This will decrease the need to worry about stabilizing the upper arm and shoulders, the focus can be on contracting the elbow flexors and supinators.
The long head of the biceps originates towards the top of the shoulder joint, right above where the upper arm bone forms a joint with the shoulder blade. The long head is positioned towards the outer side of the upper arm. The short head attaches to the shoulder blade towards the inside of the shoulder - right below the end of the collar bone. If you find the end of the collar bone closest to the shoulder joint, and drop your fingers down about ¼ inch you can feel the place where the short head of the biceps attaches. The short head of the biceps lies towards the inner side of the upper arm. Both of the two heads travel down the soft (hairless) part of the arm and join about mid-way down, then cross the elbow joint and insert on the forearm.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Dumbbell Wide Grip Bicep Curl
The shoulder and core stabilizers work throughout the movement to hold the spine in a neutral position, hold the shoulder blade down and back (depression and retraction - rhomboids, lats, pectoralis, serratus, trapezius), and to hold the upper arm still. The upper arm is held in external rotation by isometric contraction of the infraspinatus and teres minor (part of the rotator cuff).
The brachialis and biceps (with the short head in a position to work more than the long head) contract concentrically to bend (flex) the elbow and rotate (supinate) the forearm along with some contribution from the supinator muscle. The brachioradialis does not contribute unless power or speed is needed – for quicker movements or heavy loads.
The wrist muscles (flexor carpi radialis FCR, flexor carpi ulnaris FCU and palmaris longus)) work to hold the wrist in a neutral position as the weight of gravity pulls down on the weight held in the hand.
The biceps brachii and brachialis work eccentrically to straighten the elbow and return to the starting position.