How to Do Curls Properly


Proper technique when performing an arm curl saves you time and effort. Using poor form for a biceps curl is frustrating as you won't see the results you desire and you increase your risk for injuries to your wrists, elbows and shoulders if you do the exercise wrong. An arm curl uses your biceps muscles to flex your arm against a resistance. The type of resistance you use doesn't matter. You can do a curl with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or a resistance band. What matters is proper form.

  • Warm up before performing your arm curls by spending five minutes doing a full-body exercise such as walking, stair climbing or rope jumping.

  • Hold onto your resistance of choice with your arms straight along your front. Place the backs of your hands against the fronts of your thighs and space your hands at a shoulder-distance apart. If seated, let your straight arms hang next to you with your palms facing forward.

  • Keep your back straight and your stomach tight. Pull your navel toward your spine to help with good posture. Keep your chin parallel with the floor. Pull down your shoulders from your ears. Use a relaxed grip on the resistance tool. Hold on tightly enough to not drop the weights but not so tightly that you have white knuckles.

  • Exhale, keep your elbows pulled in to your sides, bend your elbows and raise your hands toward your shoulders. Lift the weight until your forearms are vertical with the floor. Keep your wrists in line with your forearms. Use a count of two seconds to lift the weights.

  • Inhale, straighten your arms and slowly lower the weights to the starting position. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Use a count of three to four seconds to lower the weights.

  • Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Use a weight amount that causes muscle fatigue during the final two repetitions of each set. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

  • Do arm curls two or three days a week with at least one day of rest between workouts.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your elbows will not pull in to your sides unless you compromise your wrist, place your elbows in a position that keeps your wrists in line with your forearms.
  • Always check with your doctor before you begin a strength-training workout.

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