arnold-schwarzenegger-biceps-curl-alternateI’m going to tell you something the “functional fitness” crowd doesn’t want you to hear.

If you do biceps curls or triceps extensions, your arms will grow.

I know, I know…not functional what so ever and a waste of time, right?

The “functional fitness” folk will tell you rows, chin ups, bench presses and overhead presses will work your bis and tris so you don’t need to worry about adding in arm specific work. This is almost true…but your size gains will be limited.

Why do you train (if you don’t train for a sport)? To build wide shoulders, a thick back, huge pecs and arms that fill your shirt sleaves, right? Ladies, isn’t it nice to have nice arms in your sleeveless shirts? Well, let me tell you both now, isolation exercises are the icing on the cake if your goal is having nice arms.

You’re not going to build your arms (the way you want) with just compound lifts. How do you think Arnold built those huge guns? Multi-joint lifts AND isolation-type exercises.

So there you have it. Arm isolation training isn’t weightlifting blasphemy…that’s what the best bodybuilders have been doing for years. The next time a “functional” trainer tells you to stop curling, tell them that biceps curls ARE functional training for bodybuilders and trainees who want bigger arms!

In light of this fact, here are a few biceps curls variations you can add into your program.

But you have to promise me one thing. No curling in the squat rack!

curling in the squat rack

1. Standing barbell curl, palms up.

2. Standing barbell curl, palms down.

3. Standing barbell curl, mixed grip.

4. Perfect Curl, palms up.

5. Perfect Curl, palms down.

6. Standing barbell curl, palms up 21s.

7. Standing barbell curl, palms down 21s.

8. Standing EZ bar curl, palms up.

9. Standing EZ bar curl, palms down.

10. Standing EZ bar curl, palms up 21s.

11. Standing EZ bar curl, palms down 21s.

12. Standing barbell cheat curl, palms up.

13. Standing barbell cheat curl, palms down.

14. Standing single arm barbell curl, palm up.

15. Standing single arm barbell curl, palm down.

16. Standing dumbbell hammer curl.

17. Standing dumbbell hammer curl 21s.

18. Standing cross body alternating hammer curl.

19. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up.

20. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down.

21. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up 21s.

22. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down 21s.

23. Standing dumbbell Zottman curl.

24. Standing dumbbell corkscrew curl (palms down, rotate to palms up while curling up, reverse to lower).

25. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up, alternating sides.

26. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

26. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down, alternating sides.

27. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

28. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up.

29. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, alternating sides.

30. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, 21s.

31. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

32. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell corkscrew curl.

33. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl.

34. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, alternating sides.

35. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, 21s.

36. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

37. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms up.

38. Incline bench, face down, barbell curl, palms up.

39. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms down.

40. Incline bench, face down, barbell curl, palms down.

41. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell hammer curl.

42. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell corkscrew curl.

43. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell Zottman curl.

44. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms up, 21s.

45. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms down, 21s.

46. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell hammer curl, 21s.

47. Low cable rope curl.

48. Low cable straight bar curl, palms up.

49. Low cable straight bar curl, palms down.

50. Low cable straight bar curl, palms up, 21s.

51. Low cable straight bar curl, palms down, 21s.

52. Preacher EZ curl, palms up.

53. Preacher dumbbell single arm curl, palm up.

54. Preacher dumbbell single arm curl, palm up, 21s.

55. Preacher dumbbell single arm hammer curl.

56. Dumbbell concentration curl.

57. Trink Curl.

I could keep going with Fat Grip variations, and band resisted variations, but I’ll be here all night (and I think you get the point). Don’t just stick with one type of curl…you’ll limit your growth potential and most likely get board.

2-Tickets_2If you’re looking for an arm specialization program, my colleague Dan Trink, from Trink Fitness just released his new product today called 2 Tickets to the Gun Show. It’s a 4-week program, dedicated to making your guns bigger (who doesn’t want that!?). I went through the program last night and it looks pretty good (it should be as Dan writes for Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Livestrong.com and T-Nation among other high profile outlets). This ebook explains the program and the premise behind it (giving you huge guns!). It’s on sale this week for only $14.99.

Check it out HERE.

For real life results, my other buddy Jon Goodman gave the program a go last month and saw some nice gains!

jon goodman hylete

That’s a wrap.

Get your tickets to the gun show. This program works.

-JK

Astrid Billfalk-Kelly

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I wanted to add strength training to my cardio, but have always felt gyms to be a bit intimidating, and was worried I would hurt myself without some supervision and help. JKC was highly recommended by several work colleagues. Thomas and Jon are both fantastic, making sure that everyone gets a highly personalized work out in a very supportive environment. The attention to detail and professionalism are second to none. The groups are very small, but very supportive and make the workouts even more fun. Since getting pregnant (36 weeks as I write this) I’m so happy that they continue to help me get stronger while always being safe.

I chose JKC because I row/coach teams in the St. John’s Regatta and was looking to add strength training to our program. My wife is also running friends with Julia, so I got to meet Jon a few times and heard lots of good things. I like JKC over other gyms because of the level coaching I receive and the gym atmosphere. The energy in the gym helps me through the tough workouts.

A few years ago, I pinched a nerve in my neck which led me to be stationary as any form of movement would cause extreme pain. During this time, my fiancé (Sean) started at JKC and loved it!! Once I overcame the nerve issue, Sean spent a long time trying to convince me that JKC is exactly what I needed to safely start working out again (I’m slightly stubborn and was super scared of re-pinching the nerve). Long story short, Sean was right… as much as I hate to admit it!

I never had luck at gyms, if it started to hurt I would call it a day. At JKC that is not an option, as Jon & Thomas will push you to finish the workout, whether you want to or not! Working out in a group setting is also a big benefit of working out at JKC, if you’re not feeling motivated you can simply feed off of someone else’s energetic vibes.

I’ve always been a gym rat, but was getting tired of the same ol’ routine. My better half was attending JKC and encouraged me to try it out. My favourite part of JKC is that is isn’t a gym – it’s a community. Jon and Thomas are awesome, and I love that every time I go I know who’s working out with me and we can socialize while working on our health. Everyone is supportive, encouraging and genuinely looks out for one another. It’s an upbeat and positive experience and I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every workout.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

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